Testing Salt Sprays: Which Works Best for Beachy Waves With No Ocean in Sight?

Photo: George Marks/Getty Images

For a style that’s supposed to say “I am laid-back and effortlessly sexy,” I always found the idea of beach waves rather elusive. Maybe it’s because I’d only seen it perfected on women like Gisele Bündchen and Blake Lively, with hair like Botticelli’s Venus: cascading loops of undulating mane. When I go to the beach, instead of looking like Kate Bosworth as surf goddess circa Blue Crush, my hair gets tangled and giant-sized. I resemble a lion.

How is a normal human supposed to achieve the loose, effortless look of mermaidian creatures? Salt spray. Think of it as a hairspray that’s loaded with its namesake and other ingredients, like sea kelp, that will give your hair that windblown, beachy effect without having actually gone seaside. City-bound this summer, I tested eleven different types: I looked for ones that wouldn’t make my hair sticky or crunchy, tangled or frizzy. I wanted a spray that worked just as well on dry hair as it did on wet hair. If it required too much styling or even a blow-dryer, I became frustrated quickly. If the look we’re going for is effortless, I thought the process should also be easy.

Click through the slideshow to see which product was closest to getting an ocean in a bottle. Gisele and Blake: Watch your backs. My hair is coming for you.

Testing Salt Sprays: Beachy Waves With No Ocean