I love everything about the ocean.
You probably already know that about me. You’ve likely heard me squeal with excitement when I see a fish that I’ve never spotted before when I’m snorkeling, or heard me exhale happily as the ocean breathes up and down which I’m right there in the water, or grin as I watch another wave explode on the cliffs as I watch.
But, as much as I hate to admit it (shhhh….don’t tell anyone!), there’s something I’m not so keen on when it comes to the ocean.
And that’s the awful damage that all that salt water does to your hair.
It dries it out, it makes it break off, it causes split ends and fragile ‘inbetweens’ and… well, put it this way, it’s not pretty.
So whilst I’m very much the natural beauty queen, I really do make an exception when it comes to protecting my hair from the effects of the ocean. Well…I don’t want to start scaring people, do I?
I’m sure you don’t either, so read these five surf/swim/beach haircare tips, do what’s necessary to stay looking gorgeous and then get on with having fun in the sea. Deal?
#1: Protect your hair with coconut oil before you get into the sea
Before you set foot in the ocean, protect your hair by gently massaging pure coconut oil into the bottom three inches (about 7 ½ cm). Then give it a comb through and you’re ready to indulge your passion for all things salty and watery!
I especially love this tip because you don’t need to use nasty chemical haircare products which pollute the ocean and kill fish. Simply 100% natural, easy to find in most places (even here in the Azores) and pretty affordable too.
Of course, you could also use regular store-bought conditioner, but make sure you’re using an ocean-friendly brand, please.
#2: Always rinse your hair with fresh water
Don’t let that salt keep drying out your beautiful sun-kissed locks and turning them to straw after you’ve left the water. Just find yourself some fresh water as soon as you can, give your hair a good rinse and leave to dry naturally.
Yes, that fresh water might feel bracingly cold (I call it refreshing….) but it will work miracles on your hair, I promise. I do this every. single. time. I leave the sea, without fail. I’ve learned the hard way that being lazy just isn’t worth it.
#3: Treat yourself to a weekly deep treatment
Say ‘sorry’ to your hair for all that harsh salt water by giving it a deep conditioning treatment once per week. This will nourish your locks, leave your hair looking super-shiny and prepare your hair for yet more rough treatment. Sorry, hair.
You don’t need to fork out for expensive salon treatments or use chemicals for this either. Try one of the following all-natural, planet-friendly options:
–> Coconut & Honey Moisturising Hair Mask
Take 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix with 1 tbsp honey. Apply to hair, leave for 20 minutes then rinse out.
–> Banana & Almond Oil Moisturising Hair Mask
Take 1 medium banana, mash well then mix with 1 teaspoon almond oil. Apply, leave for 20 minutes then rinse out.
#4: Go easy on the hair washing
You don’t need to wash your hair as often as you think you do. Yes, even if you have super-greasy hair like I do. All that shampooing just dries out your hair even leaves you even more vulnerable to breakages, split ends and every girl’s worst nightmare- hair that falls out.
So give your hair a break and don’t use shampoo every day. Just wash a few times per week with a gentle shampoo and if you have really dry hair, consider using conditioner as a shampoo instead.
If your hair really does need a little ‘lift’ but you’re not going in the sea that day, just give it a rinse with fresh water- you’ll be surprised at how much this will do for your hair.
#5: Go gentle with that comb!
Yes, it can be tempting just to quickly drag a comb or brush through your hair to get rid of those knots and just get onto the next fun thing on your schedule. But rushing the process will do more harm than good– it’ll be harder to get rid of your knots, you’re not doing your hair any favours and you’ll just end up with split ends and nastiness.
I use a wide-toothed comb which works brilliantly on wet hair (provided I’m gentle) and also respects my hair’s natural tendency to wave (great accidental pun there, I know!). You might want to use one too.
Otherwise, look for a good-quality brush that is kind to your hair and leaves you looking and feeling great.
#6: A braid is your best friend
Braids are awesome. Not only will they help keep your hair off your face when you’re having fun in the sea, they also do a brilliant job at minimising the damage that seawater can do to your tresses.
You can say goodbye to tangled tresses that are soaked with salt and hello to sexy controlled hair that stays looking good with much less effort. If you followed tip one and applied coconut oil or conditioner before getting in, a braid will also help to keep it in longer.
Follow these great haircare tips and you won’t have to worry so much about the salt damaging your hair. And you know what that means?? It means you can concentrate more on having fun in the water.
So even if you’re like me (more of a natural beauty gal), make the effort to look after your locks- you’ll be very pleased you did.