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Is Saltwater Good Or Bad For Your Hair? 2024 Research


One of the most fun summertime pastimes has to be visiting the beach, which offers numerous physical and mental health advantages.

But the practice may have two unintended consequences when it comes to hair.

We’ll address the important query—Is salt water good for your hair—in this article.

Is hair healthy to be in saltwater?

Seawater has the potential to help and hurt your hair. It can make your hair frizzy and dry out, but it can also eliminate extra oil and exfoliate the scalp. Use a thorough conditioner after swimming and restrict your exposure to saltwater to only once or twice a week to avoid harm.

What ingredients make up seawater?

The majority of seawater is made up of water, with lesser amounts of other components and 2.5–3.5% salt.

Contrary to popular belief, seawater contains far more salt than you may imagine. It originates from a variety of mineral deposits that the water cycle dissolves in saltwater. Ninety-two more elements are partially present in addition to sodium and chloride ions. These ions come from a variety of processes, such as the ocean’s internal chemistry, biological materials dissolving in it, sediments from the sea floor, and drainage from the land.

The quantity of salt in seawater, or salinity, varies according to the place.

How is hair harmed by saltwater?

Because seawater contains a high concentration of minerals and vitamins, it can be used for wound healing, skin detoxification, and reducing edema. It’s crucial to recognize that it might have negative consequences on your hair.

Let’s first accept that moderate exposure is harmless. If you use seawater wisely, it can even be advantageous. However, summertime heat waves and persistent salinity can lead to hair loss or other kinds of damage to the hair.

Wicking away moisture

Is salt water good for your skin? Because of its high water content, your hair is supple, elastic, and moisturizing just like your skin. In that sense, excessive moisture loss can cause hair to become dehydrated.

Seawater’s strong salinity can suck moisture from your hair and scalp. Because saltwater has a purifying impact, it may also help reduce the natural oils in your scalp.

After visiting the beach, you might observe that blow-drying your hair will take longer, or that curling or keeping a style will be difficult. Hair gets dry, brittle, and more delicate after losing moisture and its natural oils.

Frizzing and twisted strands

Furthermore, saline water may disrupt several bonding interactions and produce new cross-links within hair strands. Therefore, in addition to providing your hair with gorgeous beach waves, salt water can weaken it and remove its luster and smoothness. 


In addition to dandruff, saltwater damage can cause hair breakage and splitting at the ends in its most severe form. When hair is processed or dyed, these impacts are significantly more severe. Saltwater damage not only gives colored hair a coarse texture but also changes the color of the hair. Thus, keep in mind to give your dyed hair extra attention.

In the absence of appropriate care, your hair may become lifeless, tangled, and coarse to the touch throughout the summer months.

Why does salt water harm things so much?

Water-swollen hair shafts

Since hair may absorb water, excessive swimming may increase the amount of water that enters the hair. The condition of the hair shaft may suffer from continuous wetting if the cuticle is already damaged or excessively porous.

Your hair shafts expand with water while submerged in the sea because the cuticle’s protective function has already been compromised. The recurrent expansion and contraction cause the hair to progressively deteriorate. Additionally, the friction between the water and hair cuticles when swimming may harm them.

The process of osmosis

Osmosis is the act of transferring water between two locations to balance the concentrations of solutes by passing it through a semipermeable membrane, a form of barrier that allows certain particles to pass through while blocking others.

The concentration of salt in the water inside your hair and the surrounding saltwater varies when your hair is submerged in seawater. Water therefore undergoes a reaction when it travels from your hair, which has a lower salt concentration, to seawater, which has a higher salt concentration.

This process causes the inside of your hair strand to become dry and brittle by removing moisture. Additionally, hair that is deficient in moisture is more likely to frizz or fly away.

Salt crystals and hydrogen bonds are growing.

The keratin protein gets dehydrated when swimming on the beach. A dry environment like this allows salt water molecules to penetrate the hair fiber, dissolving the preexisting hydrogen bonds in the hair and creating new ones.

As a result, blow-drying your hair will take longer, and any styling you do after going to the beach will be considerably harder.  

Seawater’s salt may deposit hard crystals on your hair after swimming, further causing mechanical abrasion to the cuticle. These crystals cause your hair to have a less pleasant texture and a coarser surface. When nearby hairs are more likely to tangle, tangling also gets worse.

Let’s discuss a few advantages of swimming in the sea. Hair Hydration Mask + Hair Hydration Mask + A super-nourishing mask to help revive dull, damaged hair (Shop Hair Hydration Mask +).

Advantages of seawater for hair

Shampoo with antifungal properties

Is sea water good for your hair? Seawater works well as a natural shampoo. You can avoid having greasy hair by occasionally washing your hair with salty water to assist you get rid of extra heavy oils. Fresh, clean hair and scalp are the result. It’s also been shown to give your hair more volume and get rid of dandruff.

Environmentally friendly exfoliant

Swimming in the sea gives your scalp a free, all-natural exfoliation. Seawater crystals rich in minerals can be a great way to exfoliate your scalp by eliminating product build-up from the roots of your hair and increasing blood flow.

Minerals and nutrients found naturally

The nutrients that your body needs are abundant in saltwater. For instance, magnesium has been shown to support both muscular relaxation and nervous system strength. The relaxing properties of magnesium are advantageous and have been connected to faster hair growth.

How can you prevent saltwater damage to your hair?

Although the benefits and drawbacks have already been covered, giving up swimming in the refreshing waves for your hair can be difficult.

However, be at ease! You don’t have to decide between enjoying your locks and having a good time this summer because we have some advice you can use.

  • Before you paddle out, make sure your hair is completely submerged in fresh water. Your hair acts as a sponge, absorbing all the moisture from freshwater and reducing the amount that seawater may absorb. Consequently, less harm from the water’s salinity!
  • After exposing the hair to seawater, thoroughly rinse it out right away to avoid it evaporating and leaving behind potentially harmful salt crystals. In the meantime, you can also get rid of other unwanted materials that are stuck in your hair, like sand, grime, trash, and chemicals.
  • Consider using conditioner and shampoo that have moisturizing components. Alternatively, you might use natural oils or a leave-in conditioner to fully hydrate your hair.
  • Try wearing swim hats if you can. They are an excellent method of protecting your hair from beach salt.

Extra Sun protection

Apply a sun protection hair cream with SPF to your hair to help shield your scalp from UV rays. Using a Q-tip dipped in broad-spectrum sunscreen and applying it straight to the section line is another easy yet effective technique.

To ensure it has enough time to soak and provide complete covering and protection, this should be done before heading to the beach.

Related topic: Is Ocean Water Good For Your Hair?


Is hair healthy to be in saltwater?

Saltwater can affect hair in both good and bad ways. On the one hand, hair that has more volume and texture thanks to the salt in the water can be easier to style. However, hair can also become dry and brittle after being stripped of its natural oils and hydration by salt water.

What effects does seawater have on hair?

Hair can get parched and lose its natural oils and hydration when exposed to saltwater. This may cause hair to feel brittle, tough, and challenging to manage. Salt water, however, can also aid in giving hair volume and texture, which facilitates styling.

Is salt damaging to hair?

If salt is applied excessively or hair is frequently exposed to high concentrations of salt, it can be detrimental to hair. Hair that is exposed to salt may become dry, brittle, and more prone to breaking by losing its natural oils and moisture.

Is hair loss caused by salt water?

There isn’t any concrete proof that swimming in salt water promotes hair loss. On the other hand, prolonged contact with salt water can make hair dry and brittle, raising the possibility of breakage and hair loss.

What happens if hair is treated with salt?

Depending on the amount of salt used and the kind of hair, applying salt straight to hair can have several benefits. Salt generally adds body and volume to hair, but it can also dry out, make hair feel coarse, and make styling difficult.

To prevent damaging hair, it’s crucial to use salt sparingly and to thoroughly rinse hair afterward.

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