At this point, it's probably harder to find someone who doesn't douse themselves periodically in Bumble and bumble Surf Spray than a firm believer in the stuff. And with good reason: You can trust the salt-watery concoction to mess up your hair to that perfect, convincing level of “Oh, me? I just walked right out of the ocean and into this dive bar,” without going full Daryl-Hannah-in-Splash overboard. But is it truly the one surf spray to rule them all? To be sure, we tracked down the many products offering similarly tousled results and put them to the test (well, applied them to our hair). A little friendly competition never hurt. And often produces better results. Below, we crown the winners in various categories:
The Reigning Champion: Yes, yes...Bumble and bumble Surf Spray. It’s the tried, true, signed-sealed-delivered, always-dependable product that got this whole frenzy going in the first place.
The Most Authentic Post-Sea-Soaked Hair: O&M Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray. For crunchier, more realistic beach texture—as opposed to the salon version of 'vacation hair'—O&M is your best bet. It gives you the look, if not the touch (avoid running your fingers through your locks, or they might get stuck in the heavily 'pieced' tresses).
The Best Name: Formerly known as Sea Salt Primer For Wizards, Davines' current offering, This Is A Sea Salt Spray, still packs a punch with its new name for dummies. Perfect for anyone suffering from oil-induced limpness, this matte-finish spray will add body to naturally limp hair.
The Best Bottle: Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray. Other mists tend to dry hair out to achieve the wave-washed look, but Ouidad’s Sea Spray’s seaweed and algae extract 'activators' will keep your hair well-hydrated.
The Best Smell: John Masters Organics Sea Mist (with Lavender!). Attention Celiacs: this is the spray for you! The John Masters (certified) Organics’ solution is gluten-free, perfection for those of you who may legitimately (or not, like some of us in the Gloffice) be suffering from a wheat/gluten allergy. Either way, the spray uses lavender to keep it (and you) smelling fresh.
The All-Around Winner: The Ocean. Yes, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the beauty industry has yet to beat Poseidon when it comes serving up the best beachy hair. But, hey, ‘tis the season to take a dip beneath the waves. But, if, like us, your beach house is “under renovation,” or you’re just really busy and the Hudson is too gross, you can buy a pretty convincing ocean-in-a-bottle. The truth of the matter is that different salts work better on different hair textures—try out a few and find your jam. There are always more fish sprays in the sea.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.