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Best shampoo for salty water

Who doesn’t love the beach? There’s nothing better than a summer getaway of putting on that cute bikini, building sandcastles, and soaking up the sun. If you love swimming in the sea or ocean, you’ll want to do yourself a favor and stock up on the best shampoo for salty water.

Why do I say this? The thing is, the water that makes up the oceans and seas is a complex mixture of water, salts, atmospheric gases, particulates, as well as inorganic and organic substances.

That means the water isn’t soft and pure, so it affects our hair in all kinds of crazy ways in the long run, including dryness, frizziness, and dullness – yikes!

What are the effects of salty water on hair?

If you take a dip in the ocean and then massage your scalp after the hair dries up, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor.

This is because saltwater crystals help to stimulate blood flow in your scalp.

As a result, more nutrients get to the hair roots, which promotes healthy hair growth.

Related post: Five great benefits of scalp stimulation

The saltwater crystals are also a good exfoliator for your scalp.

They help to remove grime and product build-up from the hair follicles.

However, salty water has some unwanted effects on your hair.

These include:


Dry hair

You know how chefs use salt to dry out meats?

That’s because salt is excellent at drawing water out of food.

And that’s essentially what it does to your hair when you’re out at sea – drying it all up.


Dull, rough hair

Not only does salt suck out all the moisture from your hair, but it forms more salt crystals on it too.

They stick to your hair and create a rough and crusty film around it, leaving it stiff and hard to the touch.

And because seawater contains even more damaging minerals, your hair is in for a lot of brittleness.


Hard to detangle

With excessive exposure to salty water, the hair near your crown can be matted and extremely difficult to detangle.

It will feel like straw, and you’ll pretty much lose all the healthy shine and softness you might have had before your beach trip.

You’ll notice that your hair tends to be dry even after you use your usual conditioner (spoiler alert: it’s because the salt and minerals still coat your hair and block any nutrients from coming in).


Extreme dehydration for chemically-treated hair

Dehydration will be especially bad for those with colored or chemically-treated hair.

Your tresses are damaged, to begin with, but when salt comes in, it becomes even more parched and prone to breakage.


Best shampoo for salty water

What you need to help get rid of all that salt and mineral buildup and restore your hair to health again is a good clarifying or chelating shampoo.

These kinds of shampoos will eliminate all the impurities on your scalp and hair, from excessive oil to product buildup.

A clarifying shampoo has the power to dissolve even the toughest minerals out there.

It’s usually made with heavyweight cleaning agents, but you can also keep an eye out for natural ingredients with purifying properties, like apple cider vinegar.

But because it’s a thoroughly cleansing shampoo, you always have to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner afterward to replenish your locks with moisture.

Now for the fun part!

Here are some of my recommendations for shampoos to use after you’ve exposed your hair to salty water:


Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

When dealing with the build-up from salty or hard water, your main goal is to get rid of all the gunk lying on the surface of your hair.

This Kenra shampoo claims to eliminate up to 99% of the dulling deposits latching onto your hair.

It gets rid of all the salt and minerals that are making your hair dry and dull.

As a result, you can get your hair’s radiance, volume, and shine back.

If you have highlights or colored hair, you’ll love this because it will make your color more vibrant.

It’s formulated with blueberry extracts and other ingredients that give it a fruity smell.

It also has some glycerin to hydrate the hair a bit.


  • Removes deposits that make the hair dull
  • Leaves your hair looking radiant
  • Makes colored or bleached hair more vibrant
  • Gives the hair volume without any build-up
  • Contains glycerin for some light hydration
  • Has a lively fruity fragrance


  • Can make the hair a little hard to detangle if not followed with a conditioner


Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

Renewing your hair after exposure to salty water isn’t just about washing all the sodium chloride and minerals out – it’s about giving your hair extra protection too.

Malibu C’s shampoo restrengthens your hair and prevents brassiness in colored or highlighted hair, all while protecting and conditioning it.

It doesn’t contain harsh sulfates that might strip your hair of its natural oils.

Instead, it has antioxidant pro-vitamin B5 that can protect your hair from even more environmental damage.

It also uses flax protein to soften the hair and leave it silky smooth.

And you won’t be able to get enough of the orange creamsicle scent!

It will take you back to your childhood in an instant.


  • Rejuvenates hair damaged by salty and hard water
  • Doesn’t contain harsh sulfates that strip your hair of moisture
  • Prevents brassiness brought on by iron and copper
  • Contains antioxidant pro-vitamin B5 for protection against damage
  • Has flax protein to leave the hair smooth and soft
  • Eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan


  • The scent isn’t appealing to a few users


Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

If it’s smoothness you’re after, check out this clarifying shampoo by Moroccanoil.

It removes all the build-up that makes your hair look dull and lifeless.

If you want nourishment and movement back, this is all you need.

Because it gives a deep cleanse, your hair will start to feel lightweight and healthy again.

The shampoo makes it easy to smooth the hair down, which will lead to breezy manageability.

It has rich argan and avocado oils to deeply nourish your hair and restore healthy moisture.

Meanwhile, keratin helps to fortify your hair strands.

Extracts of lavender, chamomile, and rosemary stimulate the scalp and lightly moisturize it too.


  • Removes buildup that makes hair dull
  • Makes the hair more lightweight through a deep cleanse
  • Has argan and avocado oils to nourish the hair
  • Contains keratin to strengthen and fortify hair
  • Lavender and chamomile extracts stimulate the scalp
  • Smooths down the hair for better manageability
  • Doesn’t have harsh sulfates that dry out hair
  • Safe for color-treated hair


  • It can dry out your hair if not followed with a moisturizing conditioner


Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

For my curly-hair ladies out there who love hitting the beach (or just live in an area with hard water), this one’s for you.

Turn those dull and droopy curls into shiny, bouncy ringlets or coils with this clarifying shampoo by Ouidad.

This shampoo effectively gets rid of build-up on the hair, whether it’s from all your styling products or a coating of minerals, salt, and chlorine.

The result is bouncy, healthy, and shiny curls free from dullness and dryness.

It contains deeply cleansing fruit acids, including extracts from lemon, grapefruit, and orange, which also lend an invigoratingly fruity fragrance.


  • Designed to hydrate and define curly hair
  • Turns dull and droopy curls into shiny and bouncy ones
  • Made with gentle yet deeply cleansing fruit acids
  • Has lemon, grapefruit, and orange extracts for a fruity smell
  • Effective for getting rid of chlorine and salt residue
  • Gives your hair a bit of shine
  • Maintains hair color and highlights


  • Can dry out scalps that already suffer from eczema or dandruff


Ion Hard Water Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

If you’re exposed to salty water more than the average person (maybe you live in a beach town or love going on road trips every weekend), you’re going to need a clarifying shampoo that’s gentle enough to use daily.

Thankfully, this shampoo by Ion can do the trick.

It purifies the hair and eliminates hard water build-up, be it from chlorine, magnesium, calcium, sodium chloride, and more.

It’s infused with linseed (better known as flaxseed) to strengthen and condition the hair.

This shampoo doesn’t contain any harsh sulfates that can dry the hair out more or speed up color fading.

That makes it gentle enough for everyday use.


  • Purifies the hair and eliminates hard water build-up
  • Free from harsh sulfates that dry out hair strands
  • Suitable for colored hair because it won’t fade the color
  • Contains linseed extracts for hair strength
  • Gentle enough to be used daily
  • Leaves the hair soft and shiny


  • Doesn’t give a rich and creamy lather like other shampoos


Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three

best shampoo for salty water

This Paul Mitchell shampoo detoxifies and purifies the hair thoroughly to eliminate every last bit of mineral buildup.

Because it gets rid of that salty, crusty residue sitting on your hair, it allows deep conditioners and other treatments to nourish your hair from the inside out.

It contains wheat proteins, which help in restructuring the hair strands, making them more resilient.

In case you love to swim in chlorinated pools, this shampoo will be a game-changer.

It gets rid of the greenish tint left behind on your hair after swimming in the pool, so you can get your color back.

Besides being vegan, this shampoo is also paraben-free and has a gorgeous fruity scent.


  • Detoxifies the hair by eliminating mineral build-up
  • Allows deep conditioners and treatments to penetrate hair better
  • Contains wheat protein to strengthen the hair
  • Ideal for swimmers and seawater sports athletes
  • Removes the green-ish chlorine tint in the hair
  • Has a vibrant grapefruit and orange scent
  • It’s paraben-free


  • It’s not color-safe


Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

Sometimes, all you need is the right touch of nature to refresh and reset your hair.

This Oribe shampoo has an exquisite combo of botanical extracts and ingredients to make sure your hair is clean, strong, and shiny.

This cleanser comes in a unique form.

It comes out as a mousse but thoroughly clarifies the hair of mineral build-up with volcanic ash.

This ingredient exfoliates the scalp to make sure it’s fresh and clean.

Watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss extracts protect the hair from environmental stressors that can damage it.

Papaya extract, on the other hand, makes the hair smoother and shinier.

Green tea – another ingredient in this clarifying shampoo – helps in strengthening hair strands.


  • Volcanic ash clarifies the hair and eliminates oil and minerals
  • Exfoliates the scalp to refresh and clean it deeply
  • Comes in a unique aerosol mousse texture
  • Superfruits protect the hair from environmental stressors
  • Papaya extracts make the hair shiny and healthy-looking
  • Green tea strengthens every hair strand
  • Safe to use after color and keratin treatments


  • Can be quite heavy on the hair even if it’s a mousse format


Living proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

best shampoo for salty water

Though dryness is a common symptom of hair exposed to salty water, some people still end up with oily scalps on top of their parched hair.

If that sounds like you, you’ll love this detox shampoo by Living proof.

It gets rid of mineral and saltwater accumulations in your hair, like clarifying shampoos should.

But what’s unique is that it works hard to ensure your hair will be free of pollution and build-up in the long run.

It’s made with the brand’s signature Healthy Hair Molecule to repel dirt and oil from your hair.

Another powerhouse ingredient is activated charcoal, which absorbs all the grime and gunk from your scalp to give a refreshed feeling.


  • Gets rid of mineral and salt accumulation in the hair
  • Can detox your dyed hair without ruining your color
  • Made with the Healthy Hair Molecule to repel dirt and oil
  • Has activated charcoal to absorb grime from the scalp
  • Formulated with chelating ingredients to easily lift build-up
  • Free from sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates


  • Not suitable for every wash because it can be too strong and stripping



Going to the beach is fun.

One thing I look forward to is getting those bombshell beachy waves in my hair – thank you, saltwater!

But you should also be responsible for taking care of your hair after you’ve exposed it to salty water with a lot of minerals that can strip it of its health and put it in harm’s way.

That’s why you need to look for the best shampoo for salty water to save your tresses from dryness and dullness.

When you are having a good time during summer, don’t be lost in the bonfire parties or lineup of photos you want to take for the Gram – think about caring for your hair too.

Besides shampoo, get yourself a hair product for UV protection or a leave-in conditioner for moisture before heading to the shores.

Remember: the salty air and beachy waves can be your friends, but too much of anything is simply too much.

Related post: Is a salt water pool good for your hair?

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