I come from a long line of sun-, sand- and sea-worshipping Mediterranean women who would sooner cure a headache, rash, burn and common cold with salt water than with beauty products or actual medicine. Got a stubborn pimple? Get yourself to the beach ASAP. Coming down with something? You don’t need a doctor–you just need to float in the ocean for a few minutes.
This old-school mentality is still believed by some, but how much truth is there to the idea that ocean water is natural cure-all that addresses many of our beauty concerns? We know it helps create awesome beachy waves and I can promise you it dries out pimples, but at what expense?
As it turns out, that all depends on the ailment. If you’re talking about keeping your body and skin healthy, some say seawater is the ideal antidote. “The use of seawater to treat different health problems started in the beginning of the 1900s,” says Grace Gutierrez, licensed esthetician/founder of True Grace Skin Care in Newport Beach, California. “Thalassotherapy is the therapeutic use of seawater as a form of therapy to restore and remineralize the body. In 1997, Thalassotherapy was officially recognized worldwide as a preventive and curative treatment. The most famous spas for Thalassotherapy are located along the coast of France (Brittany), where they have special marine water pools, jacuzzis and all kinds of spa treatments using this super-charged water with minerals. The marine water definitely helps with acne, eczema, and skin rashes. If you have sensitive skin, I suggest enjoying the ocean waters, but take a shower immediately after.”
But what about hair? Are you sitting down? Because you may want to stick to a good sea salt spray after you read the bad news.
Shari Harbinger, VP of Education for DevaCurl, keeps things short and to the point. “BAAAAAD! Salt is dehydrating,” Harbinger says. “Just like when you eat it and you get really thirsty, so does the hair!”
Senior Master Colorist and Extension Expert Kacey Welch from Jonathan and George Salon in Beverly Hills adds that salt water can serve as a great texturizer, but that doesn’t mean you should submerge your head in the ocean every chance you get. “It can be drying, damaging, and mat and tangle your hair after a day at the beach,” Welch says. “This is especially the case with extension-wearers using both adhesive and wefts. My clients love the beachy waves they get from a day in the water, but when they go to comb or brush it out, it’s a knotted mess that’s dry and brittle.”
But beach-lovers need not despair. Welch offers 5 tips for how women can keep their hair looking great from June until September without sacrificing regular dips in the ocean.
1. Wash with a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment and be sure to follow with a good-leave in conditioner, which will keep moisture your hair throughout the day.
2. Hats and sunscreen are always fashionable and there are even sunscreens out there for your hair and scalp. Use a Q-Tip with sunscreen to make sure you get your part, too.
3. Be sure to pack your beach bag with a few bobby pins to hold some styles in place, as well as hair elastics and a comb or wet hair brush or tangle tamer.
4. Always plan to visit your stylist post-summer for conditioning treatments that will fix any damage from too much sun, sand, and chlorine and you’ll have healthy locks ready for fall!
5. Choose a a fun-in-the-sun hairstyle that will protect your hair while you are on the beach, like include a top knot, a low bun, braids or a sleek ponytail.
For more beauty tips, check out 6 at-home skincare devices that should be on your radar and why you need to add matcha to your beauty routine.