There’s something magical about letting your hair dry in the sun after an ocean swim, leaving you with the bonus of beachy waves and that subtle sea salt fragrance. It’s a quintessential summer experience! As many of us would like to duplicate it—even when the beach is a distant vision—there are many commercial "beach waves hair" products available. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, and they also often contain questionable chemical ingredients, which is ironic when the idea is to simulate something so natural.
Here are just a few of the additives commonly found in popular beach waves hair sprays:
Benzyl alcohol – According to the Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS), this additive is a skin and eye irritant, potentially causing redness and pain. Prolonged or repeated exposure can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The MSDS also warns that benzyl alcohol may be toxic to the liver and central nervous system. Moreover, it can break down to create aldehydes when combined with other chemicals—one being formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Propylene glycol – found in anti-freeze solutions and brake and hydraulic fluids, this compound is also commonly used in personal care products as a thickener, solvent, softener and moisture-carrier. Research suggests it can cause allergic reactions, and, if enough is absorbed by the body, may damage the liver, heart and central nervous system. Propylene glycol also functions as a penetration enhancer, increasing the permeability of the skin to allow greater absorption of whatever is being applied. Considering the large amount of chemicals we encounter on a regular basis, this may be a greater health risk than the compound itself.
Synthetic fragrance – Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, few have been tested for toxicity. Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms, says David Suzuki, a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Phthalates are widely used to enhance the performance of perfuming agents. Some studies have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
If you would rather avoid potentially harmful chemicals in your natural beauty regimen—especially when you consider that skin (including your scalp!) absorbs up to 60 percent of what you apply to it—you'll be glad to know that it's very easy to create a DIY beach waves hair spray. You can whip up this simple, effective version in a snap.
DIY Beach Waves Hair Spritz
1 cup freshly brewed/cooled chamomile tea (blond hair), or Earl Grey tea (for darker tresses)
2 Tbsp. Epsom salts, Pink Himalayan crystal salt, or a combination
2 tsp. pure aloe vera gel
1-2 tsp. lemon juice (for lighter hair)
1 tsp. vodka (which acts as a natural preservative)
5-10 drops essential oil (such as peppermint, grapefruit, lavender, or whatever you love. Peppermint is a fabulous choice for a cooling and invigorating sensation)
Combine all ingredients in your blender and process until completely emulsified. Add more essential oil if you like.
This healthy spritz keeps well for months in the fridge. If you're in doubt as which oils to choose, try peppermint and grapefruit for a refreshing, beachy aroma.
This makes a wonderful gift as well. Enjoy!