beauty on a budget: make-it-yourself beach spray

As my hair gets longer and longer, I’m really into texture and wave and curl. It’s mostly because I’m lazy, and when faced with the decision of an hour of blow-out/flat iron vs. quick easy waves, the latter wins every time.

Until recently, beachy tousled waves eluded me. All the magazines say I need to drop about $30 on a little bottle of surf spray from a-famous-brand-that-shall-go-unnamed to get the look I want, and they’ve almost convinced me to make the splurge…


I hit The Internets to look for some kitchen beautician alternatives. My fellow bloggers never disappoint. There were several variations, but the basic recipe is super simple. You probably have all the ingredients right under your nose…


Search your bathroom cabinets and find a spray bottle with a fine mist {I used an old body spray bottle}. Clean it really well to remove any traces of its former inhabitant. Fill the bottle about 3/4 full with warm water, and add a couple healthy spoonfuls of sea salt. [Note: some bloggers suggest epsom salt, but I felt like this could leave a yucky film on your hair, and sea salt is probably as close as your going to get to er, the sea.]. Shake things up to dissolve the salt. Then fill the remaining space in the bottle with a water-based hair gel. Shake it again. Done and done

IMG_0448 IMG_0001

Since mixing up my first batch last week, I’m a woman obsessed.

There are a couple of ways to use it. In the photo on the left, I washed my hair in the evening and towel-dried, then rubbed a nourishing oil into the ends — I love Shu Uemura Essence Absolue — and sprayed the beach spray generously throughout my damp tresses (avoiding the roots). I slept on it, woke up, and sprayed a little more through the ends. In the photo on the right, I did the same thing at night, but curled my hair with a large barreled curling iron and re-misted.

I haven’t tried the original, so I can’t give you an apples-to-apples comparison to the DIY version. But I will say that this is the closest thing I’ve found to spending a day at the beach to achieve easy surf hair. So it’s a win.

Cover photo: Summer lovin – Kris Atomic

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  1. 7.2.15

    Sounds like a good idea to try :)

  2. 10.22.14

    My daughters would love this!

  3. 10.6.14
    Alphonso said:

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  4. 7.13.13
    Jess said:

    I have naturally curly hair and will be trying this. I also wanted to let you know I love your name. I just had a baby girl and named her Keira.

    • 7.13.13

      Cool! It was a pretty uncommon name when I was little, but now I see it more often. It helps when I can say, “you know, like, Keira Knightley?” ;-)

  5. 5.5.13
    Megan said:

    This is awesome, so glad I stumbled across your blog! Going to be kept busy trying out these ideas! ;)

  6. 2.25.13
    Bg28 said:

    Do you brush your hair out in the morning first then use the spray and scrunch your hair with your hands?

  7. 5.22.12
    Meg said:

    This is a little late, but I’ve been using this DIY spray for a few months now and I LOVE it! I’ve had super straight hair all of my life. Now that I have layers, I just spritz this stuff in my hair after my morning shower and I have volume, texture AND waves.

    It’s a miracle!!

  8. 3.29.12

    This is great stuff! (:

  9. 3.18.12
    Anonymous said:

    Just made a mini batch….LOVE! Going to save so much money!

  10. 2.24.12

    This is absolutely amazing! I was having the same issue with the price of sea salt sprays, thank you!!

  11. 2.19.12
    Lauren R said:

    I will have to try this, I have naturally wavy hair but would like something to put in my hair for a pick me up.. Also love the hat you’re wearing, where is it from?

  12. 2.15.12

    I have naturally curly hair but my sister will love this so I will send this post her way.
    I totally have that stripped Express cardigan. I love it but seldom ware it. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. 2.11.12

    This leaves me smirking.

  14. 2.9.12

    Awesome! I wanna try!!!

  15. 2.9.12
    Candice said:

    This little gem is amazing for curly hair! My hair always looks best at the beach….. Today I was able to recreate the beach look in all of about 10 minutes (including the time it took me to make up the mixture).

  16. 2.8.12
    Anonymous said:

    What about your sunglasses? I am on a mission for a good pair…

    • 2.8.12

      I buy all of my sunglasses from the drugstore! I’m not responsible enough for decent sunnies, because I toss them in my handbag, sit on them in the car, etc. Walgreens always has cute ones :)

  17. 2.7.12
    Terri said:

    Looks great! I’ll have to try out sleeping in the spray. I’ve almost dropped the cash, too, but now I get to put it off even longer!

  18. 2.7.12
    Adin B said:

    How brilliant! Your hair looks good.

    Adin B

  19. 2.7.12

    Perfect! I am gonna make some too!

  20. 2.7.12
    rhiannon said:

    so awesome! i’m going to have to try this for sure.

  21. 2.7.12
    Paula said:

    Have you tried a sock bun? I put one in at the top of my head before bed and sleep on it (it’s on the top of my head, so it doesn’t get in the way), take it down in the am, do a quick head shake, spray some hairspray and DONE!, curls/waves all day and no heat. I’ve just been spritzing my hair with water to make it slightly damp before rolling it into the bun, but your DYI surf spray would probably add more texture. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and here’s a link to the sock bun curls tutorial, in case you haven’t seen it :)

  22. 2.7.12
    Anita said:

    wow, that looks great!
    Unfortunately, I’d never dare to use it on my hair, because my hair is very fine (do you say it in english with this word?), well I mean it’s not thick at all and so very sensitive and quickly damaged…
    xxx Anita

    • 3.18.12
      Anonymous said:

      I have very fine hair as well but just use a little bit of the spray on your hair and wash it out completely when you shampoo. Your hair should not get damaged at all.