Why A Good Salt Spray Can Give You Better Hair
Our roundup of the best products for every hair type.
Android or iOS? Netflix or Now TV? Crossfit or SoulCycle? Isn’t it exhausting, all this choice? We didn’t have these kind of problems 10 years ago, when you just sort of accepted that your phone would be barely functional and your downtime would be filled out comfortably by long stretches of boredom, where you didn’t get exactly what you wanted as soon as you wanted it. But that was then, and this is now – the options are out there, so choose we must. Choosing well, in fact, is particularly pertinent when it comes to male grooming, a field that used to boast little more than shiny and non-shiny hair gel but now is filled with a huge variety of appealing yet mysteriously named products to investigate. Which is why we decided it was high time we tackled a not-so-age-old question: which salt spray should you use? Actually maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First: what exactly is a salt spray?
Luckily, this is not all that complicated: though salt sprays are a fairly new addition to the everyday male grooming lexicon, they fulfil a highly useful purpose – making your hair look textured and a little bit tousled, a bit like you’ve just come off the beach. Mr George Northwood, the current hairdresser of choice for London’s A-List, who opened his Mayfair Salon in 2014, describes the effect as “Kurt Cobain hair”.
The benefits of using a good salt spray, therefore, are twofold: a) it makes for natural looking (and to-all-appearances unstyled) hair while keeping it somewhat under control; and b) it helps you avoid that dull, flat, fluffy look that hair can get immediately after washing. According to Mr George Northwood, it’s a particularly good product “for finer hair that feels too greasy or heavy with wax or serums”, and should be applied “generously” to towel-dried hair before being scrunched and allowed to dry naturally.
So goes the basics. But given that there are three different salt sprays currently available on MR PORTER, which one should you pick? Fortunately, our dedicated team members have done a bit of self-experimentation on this front, so this choice, at least, should be somewhat easier to make.
For thick or styled hair
Bumble and bumble’s wistfully named Surf Spray is one of the New York-based brand’s flagship products, and deservedly so. Of the three options featured here, it’s the most heavy-duty and is sticky to the touch, which allows it to provide hold to your hair as well as a pronounced matte texture. This makes it especially good for adding a natural finish to (and firming up the structure of) already pomaded or blow-dried hair, as well as for keeping thicker hair in place. The smell is invigorating – bright and beachy with a slight hint of suntan lotion.
For fine or flat hair
This is a spray that starts working before you even take the cap off, thanks to its decidedly aquatic blue colour. (“Yes, we’ve nailed it,” the folks at Sachajuan must have thought, “this absolutely looks like ocean mist’”). Aesthetics aside though, this is a brilliant product with a sharp, citrusy and refreshingly saline scent and an ultra-light texture. Though still very slightly sticky, it’s thinner than the Bumble and bumble Surf Spray, which means that while it doesn’t offer much hold, it allows the hair to gain more volume as it dries, resulting in a windswept matte texture. The combination of these properties makes it a good choice for hair that is on the finer side – a couple of spritzes of this will most definitely breathe a bit of life into flat locks.
For curly or tousled hair
First launched in 1999, Lavett & Chin’s lauded Sea Salt Texturizing Mist is all about the ingredients, all of which, its creators Mr Brett Lavett and Ms Nan Chin assure us, are responsibly grown and harvested. We have to admit, it’s somewhat refreshing to look at the label on a grooming product and see non-latin words such as sea salt, peach, seaweed, coriander and rosemary, rather than the usual cocktail of various macabre-sounding lab experiments that appear on these things. What this translates to, besides a nice bit of copy on the brand’s website, is a spray that feels both light (with no stickiness) and markedly non-chemically, with a very subtle natural finish to match. Sprayed on wavy or curly hair and allowed to dry slowly at room temperature it will bring out a mass of bouncy curls without frizz or dryness. What’s more, people will assume you rolled out of bed looking this way and are inherently, indefatigably stylish. There is no need to disenfranchise them of this notion.