Beach Hair By The Bottle

Bumble and bumble Surf Spray
John Masters Organics Sea Mist
Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray
Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray
O&M Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray

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 SmellJohn 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.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Ella

    I think Surf Spray has to be my No1 - but I also like the one by Sachajuan x

  • Carlene Vitale

    I could swear the (tragically discontinued) John Frieda Ocean Waves Sea Spray came first, but I could be wrong. That stuff was good.

    • Katie Reibman

      That was my first thought when I saw that! R.I.P. I loved that stuff and think about it all the time. I've yet to find anything as good that doesn't make my hair crunchy.

    • Mln

      That stuff was amazing and everyone I know loved it. I never understood why it disappeared!

    • Brittany P

      Yes! The Beach Blonde deep conditioner in the tub was another favorite too.

  • Poulette

    Actually the best one is a $5 bottle of heaven from the drugstore called Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray. Honestly. If you can't get to an ocean, this is the next best thing. You don't need to spend a fortune on these products to get results.

    • Jessica

      Yes! Totally prefer this over the b&b surf spray, hands down.

    • rjt

      True, but that one has a coconut smell that just WILL NOT QUIT, and sometimes I don't want to smell like I swam around in a big vat of tanning oil, you know?
      oh, just me then.

  • katie

    i've tried most drug store, and some higher end, versions of sea salt sprays, and currently the organix version is top on my list [even over bumble and bumble!]. however i just treated myself to a bottle of brooklyn beach hair, and so far am quite impressed [also love the smell of this one in particular].

    all that being said, i do very much miss john freida's beach blonde ocean waves.

    • ITGFerber

      Srsly. RIP Beach Blonde Ocean Waves.

  • jenn

    I bought the John Masters one and it definitely smells like pure lavender, however, it didn't do much to my stick straight Asian hair :'( at least lavender is one of my fave scents, right?

    • ITGFerber

      It's half the battle, I'd say,

  • kforkathy

    John Masters Sea Mist is amazing! I'm also a big fan of Frederic Fekkai's Summer Hair Beach Waves Spray, but abandoned it once I discovered Oribe's Apres Beach Waves. It's probably the most expensive of all the ones I've ever purchased, but it is hands down the closest thing to attaining the beach hair I grew up with in San Diego.

    • Clever Girl Reviews

      I really liked the FF too. I had a mini from Sephora a while back and it was great. Much better then many out there. I also love the FF winter spray in moderation for hat hair problems. I've been wanting to try the Orbie line for a while. Is Aprés better then the Texture spray?

      • kforkathy

        Between Apres and Texture, I personally prefer Apres. I think it gives you better beach hair. I think the Texture is a fantastic dry shampoo, though.

  • Aubrey Green

    My natural hair texture is kind of like Erin Wasson's hair - I blow dry it to straighten it. Just wondering if anyone who has similar hair texture has used these and what were your thoughts? I feel like it would make my hair a mess and not in a good/beach way. thanks.

    • Ria B

      Totally get where you're coming from! If I'm too lazy to blow dry (which is often) I find using this and scrunching my damp hair around achieves a nice floaty texture rather than coarse frizz. Alternatively, using this before intentional curls (either just by braiding, using rollers or a curling iron) gives them a nice deconstructed natural look rather than beauty pageant level ringlets.

  • Emily

    The BEST one ever I have found is Kevin Murphy Hair Resort, can be used wet or dry and really does the trick. I have a pin straight blob and this makes my hair so texturized for the whole day.

  • Cranberry Street

    Would be great to see a tutorial on how to style with these sprays, I never feel like I get it quite right!

  • Gauri

    I have Surf Spray from this list & though I love the formula, the price is a bummer!

  • Lindsay Sue

    You're missing the best one! Josie Maran's spray! Helps me get to this!

    • Clever Girl Reviews

      This is how my hair looks all the time :)

    • Mara

      Id agree with the person who said Kevin Murphy - it smells heavenly (like Hawaiin Tropic) and has a subtle sheen that makes your hair shiny but beachy.. The feel is authentic too, it makes hair a bit hard to get your fingers through. Bumble and Bumble Windswept even does the job, again making the hair a bit harder to comb through but kinda like you just drove along the seafront in a high speed convertible .

  • Joy (FRC)

    No love for Oribe's Apres Beach spray? That's my shit.

  • unvanquished

    I still have yet to figure out what kind of hair this is best for and how to style it. I have attempted the homemade kind several times on my kinda wavy, kinda straight, kinda corkscrew curls hair and it just comes out looking like a hot mess. I'm not really willing to invest major coin in this kind of product until I have some clue, but if it does work it seems like it would be awesome.

  • Mona

    I always bring back a bottle of ocean water home after a day at the beach to use as homemade surf spray. I then transfer the water to a user-friendly glass atomizer that I bought on Etsy for $4 two years ago. I've found that 16-oz of ocean water lasts for 6 months of regular (and generous) use.

    • ITGFerber


    • tella

      fucking. genius. some of this slightly grubby Vietnamese sea water is coming home with me :)

  • m1017

    I have tried several of these, but the best ocean spray by far has to be Oribe Apres Beach!!

  • lgaba

    Schwarzkopf Professional's OSiS Line has a newly released Salt Spray that I have sworn by this summer!

  • Erica Basha

    I like Blow Texturizing Spray. My hair is naturally wavy, and some of the others make it frizzy. I do not like Oribe Beach and Wave spray at all on my own hair, but it works awesome for adding texture to curling ironed-curled hair.

  • Melissa Hurley

    The best beach hair product I've found is actually a cream by AG called beach bomb. It gives you that nice piecy, messy goodness, but with a little bit more hydration.

  • Ria B

    The Toni & Guy Sea Salt Texturising Spray is pretty fabulous; not sure if it's available outside of Australia. Then again, what with our ready access to ocean water they could just be bottling the real deal for all I know, it achieves a pretty similar result...

  • Suma

    The one from Lush smells divine!

  • Sharareh

    Hmmm...this reminds me of the TIGI sea salt spray in my drawer still waiting to get used... I think I will give it a try today. The friend who gave it to me swears it's the best!

  • Michaela – emicphany

    I laughed too hard when I saw "the ocean." It's a shame we all just can't have it in out backyards!

  • Vi

    i started spritzing a bit of b&b surf spray all over my hair midway thru blowing it out (at that point where it's 90% dry) after reading alexa chung does it and it's a true game changer. gives hair great texture, volume, and helps maintain my blow-out better between washings!

  • Haiku Jew

    Preach about the beach
    love that wavy, tousled look
    instant summer chic.

  • KristenLyn

    I like a combo of the "Not Your Mother's Beach Spray" with the new DryBar beach spray. The DB version is less "wet" and really roughs up hair. I do not like the Bumble and Bumble version, it does nothing!

  • Michelle

    ugh, RIP John Frieda Ocean Waves. I wasthis close to spending $50 on a half used bottle I found on ebay. Still regret not pulling the trigger.

  • Lindsey

    I actually have the Ouidad one, it does make my hair really soft but I don't know that I'd recommend it for getting beachy waves. I have fine wavy hair, but a lot of it, and at best it de-frizzes my hair a bit. It does smell amazing, but unfortunately the smell fades fairly quickly.

  • Ellie

    Not Your Mother's followed by... unbelievably enough... a hint of bb City Swept for that matte, slightly dusted sticky look. scrunch. flip head upside down. scrunch again. done and done.


Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Surf Spray
O&M Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray
Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray
Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray
john masters organics
John Masters Organics Sea Mist