Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
There is nothing quite like the hair texture you get after a dip in the ocean. Ever since Bumble and Bumble released its now-classic Surf Spray ($16) in 2001, the beauty industry has been searching for ways to bottle that feeling, sometimes with mixed results.
The biggest complaint against traditional salt sprays is that your hair gets too crunchy. (Even Bumble and Bumble recognized this, launching the softer Surf Infusion, $29, a few years ago.) There are now even more new textures available from a variety of brands, whether you want a softer wave, bigger volume, or something messier that looks like you just picked seaweed out of your hair. Welcome to a new, um, wave of wave sprays.
R+Co Sail Soft Wave Spray ($29)
R+Co was founded a few years ago by three old-school hairdressers with strong ties to the fashion editorial and celebrity styling worlds: Garren, Thom Priano, and Howard McLaren. The resulting line features some of the most compelling packaging in the business, and also really unique products. I’ve been using this brand-new spray every day on my curling-ironed waves. It gives just a tiny bit of texture and hold while also keeping everything really shiny. You can’t feel it on your hair at all, but my waves are still fully intact at the end of the day.
IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray ($29)
IGK is a newer brand started by four celeb hairdressers: Chase Kusero (responsible for Jared Leto’s hair in all its incarnations), Aaron Grenia, and Leo and Franck Izquierdo. The claim to fame here is that this spray gives you three-day-old dirty hair, which is not only great for doing braiding and updos, but also for making waves look less like TV hair and more gritty, but in a good way.
Redken Windblown 05 ($19)
This is for when you wish you were at the beach but actually have to be at work. It’s an interesting hybrid of hairspray and texture spray. It’s great for waves or limp hair that needs some separation and piecey-ness. (It’s also used frequently backstage at fashion shows to make “cool girl” hair, if you care about such things.)
Captain Blankenship Golden Waves Sea Salt Shimmer Spray ($28)
This is the hair equivalent of my favorite summer product, Nuxe’s Shimmering Dry Oil. The texture of this is more like a traditional salt spray, but without the horribly crunchy results. And it has shimmery bits in it! I don’t know what else I need to say to convince you it’s worth a shot.
Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray ($28)
This one from Italian brand Davines (which also makes this good-smelling body wash) is definitely more of a traditional salt spray, but it is known for its ability to give great volume. Plus, the packaging is so gorgeous — it’s like opening a little present.
Racked occasionally accepts products for research and reviewing purposes. For more information, see our ethics policy here.