Here's How To Keep Your Hair Healthy At The Beach

by Miki Hayes
two woman enjoying the beach and surfing
Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images

A day at the beach can leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. But if you're not careful, it can also leave you with damaged strands. So how do you care for your hair after swimming in the ocean or going for a stroll on the windy shore? To find out the best actions to take after stepping off the beach, I emailed with a few experts.

Franck Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair Care, tells me over email that even though salt water can create amazing texture and volume, it's not great for hair health. "Salt plus wind creates dryness which leads to breakage," he says. Jenny Patinkin, author of Lazy Perfection: The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying, also tells me over email that the sun too can have a drying effect, causing brittle hair.

So to prevent damage and breakage to your locks, both experts stress the importance of treating your hair immediately after a day of sun, wind, and sea exposure. Of course, how you protect your hair while outside will also play a role in its health. But worrying on vacation is never fun. So your hair health won't be a concern during your next beach getaway, here are six expert tips for keeping your strands hydrated and happy after facing the elements:

1. Treat First

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SHOW Beauty Pure Treatment Oil, $60, Net-A-Porter

When you jump in the shower after a day at the beach, don't reach for the shampoo first. Nope, Patinkin and Izquierdo both recommend treating your hair with some hydration first. Whether that means using an oil or simply conditioning before shampooing, giving your hair a shot of nourishment will protect against stripping more moisture away when you shampoo and ultimately, breakage.

2. Use A Natural Shampoo

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Klorane Mango Butter Shampoo, $20, Sephora

Ready to shampoo? To make sure you aren't using a formula that's too harsh, Jana Blankenship, founder of Captain Blankenship, tells me over email that a natural shampoo is the key to gently taming your locks. And to really make sure it'll keep your strands happy, Leila Rimell, SHOW Dry Salon Director, with whom I also emailed, says to opt for a moisturizing formula that will keep your scalp and hair hydrated.

3. Don't Forget A Leave-In

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Garnier Whole Blends Replenishing Leave-In Conditioner, $6, Target

Something all four experts agree is a must for your hair after a day at the beach is a deep conditioning treatment and/or leave-in conditioner. For an ultra-nourishing treatment, Rimell recommends mixing a moisturizing hair-mask and hair treatment-oil, applying all over your strands, and leaving it on for at least five minutes before rinsing to intensely hydrate your scalp and hair.

4. Wait To Comb

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Cricket Ultra Smooth Hair Conditioning Rake Comb, $5, Amazon

Before brushing or combing through your hair, Patinkin stresses the importance of making sure your hair has been properly conditioned. Conditioner, she says, will help your brush or comb "glide through your strands without any tugging or snapping." If you like to detangle while your hair is still wet, opt for a wide-toothed comb to minimize damage and breakage.

5. Try A Detangler

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Captain Blankenship Aloe & Rose Toner, $24, Captain Blankenship

If you find you need a little extra help combing through your strands though, try a product specifically made for detangling or this hack: According to Blankenship, witch hazel helps make hair easier to brush. Try spritzing in a witch-hazel solution, or even a facial toner with witch hazel before tackling your tangles. Just be sure that your toner doesn't have any alcohol, as this will actually dry out your hair instead of leaving it shiny.

6. Air-Dry

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IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel, $27, IGK

After cleaning, conditioning, and detangling, try to let your hair air-dry if you can. As you're probably aware, blow-drying and heat-styling can further damage your locks. Therefore, Rimell says to avoid heat, and Izquierdo recommends applying a hydrating styling-product while your hair air-dries instead.

So even if you spent the day at the beach, it'll feel like your hair spent the day at a salon.

Image: Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images; Courtesy of Brands