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Q&A: Is Sea Salt Good or Bad For Our Hair?

14 Oct

In the last Q&A post Nikeisha asked: I have heard people say that taking a dip in the sea helps with skin and hair problems.. is this due to the country/climate one lives in or is it a myth. If I were to wash my hair with some sea salt in the water would it cause my hair to weaken?

Answer:

Unfortunately i can’t really give a definite answer here. I searched and searched but couldn’t find any hard and fast facts about the effects of sea salt on hair. It seems that sea salt and regular salt have the same effects on hair irrespective of climate/country.

The Good

The research i did suggested that salt makes hair very soft and smooth and adds volume. Salt can be found in shampoos and conditioners for these very reasons. Most of these articles were written by Caucasians so… not sure if it applies to us. However, i came across a black blog ‘The Kingdom of Kiya’ and this controversial post talked about how she stumbled upon the unusual effects of salt on her kinky hair. In conclusion salt seems to make her hair very soft and smooth when mixed with conditioner and used as a treatment. Very interesting indeed. Read it for yourself here and come to your own conclusion.

The Bad

Salt is a natural abrasive. If salt is left in the hair for too long then it can rub away at the cuticles and also the scalp causing damage and hair loss. Salt also draws out water. It is dehydrating when used excessively. So again salt in the hair can cause dryness. It also strips hair of oil and can take off the outer keratin coating of the hair, as it can break down protein bonds, leading to excessive dryness. That is why it is recommended to wash your hair often when exercising. All the salt in sweat can have these negative effects and build up in your hair if you exercise regularly (everyday or every other day) and lead to breakage. So there may be positive effects of sweating on the hair but it can quickly turn negative if left on.

Conclusion

It MIGHT actually be beneficial to use salt in a treatment of some sort such as a deep condition, pre-poo treatment or salt rinse and left in only for a short amount of time (maybe 15-30 mins or so) and  used irregularly, say… once a month (if that). If you exercise intensively and sweat loads then you may already get some of the benefits of salt in the hair and may not need to experiment with any extra salt as it could very well be salt overload for you, but make sure you wash your hair regularly after each intensive workout if possible, to remove the salt deposited by the sweat. I may even give it a try just to be sure for MYSELF. However, i would suggest using it with caution and only as a wash out treatment. I would not recommend using salt in any kind of leave-in product where it will not be washed out due to the negative effects stated above.

So… salt may have some benefits for our hair but i personally would not recommended it for regular or prolonged use.

 

Hope this helps.

 

If you or anyone decides to give a salt treatment of some sort a try then leave a comment here and let me know how it went.

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8 responses to “Q&A: Is Sea Salt Good or Bad For Our Hair?

  1. Nikeisha

    October 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Nads

    You are oh so wonderrrful.. This is very helpful. Thanks for your intense research on my questions and will keep you posted as and when I try out the experiment. May God continue to impart on you knowledge and wisdom on this journey. Much Love.

     
    • mercz

      October 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Niki

       
  2. Tanya

    July 8, 2011 at 12:47 am

    What if it is in a leave in conditioner. It is listed as an ingredient in smooth and shine silk fusion silkner leave in conditioner. I’ve used it on my hair and liked the way it smoothed my hair down. I’ve used it in wet or dry hair. It seems ok but after several days it builds up. Do you think it could harm my hair.

     
    • mercz

      July 8, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Hi Tanya. I can’t personally say whether it will do your hair harm. It depends on where it is on the ingredients list. My only suggestion is to monitor your hair carefully to see whether there are any adverse reaction (such as roughening of the cuticles). But if you find that your likes it then you don’t need to change it. The only time i would be quite concerned is if it’s at the top of the ingredients list. Hope that helps.

       
  3. Alina

    April 18, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Hi, Thank you for the info. I will be trying some salt with my shampoo as a clarifying treatment. Our water is from a well and contains lots of minerals that end up in my hair causing a dry texture. I can let you know the out come later. Your sister in Christ.

     
    • mercz

      April 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Please do!

       
  4. Monte Weathers

    December 9, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Hi my name is Monte I started using castor oil on my scalp for five to eight months and some other oils, long story short all that stuff caused my scalp to itch daily it got to the point that I was scratching my head all day everyday. I stopped using the oils and was washing my hair once a week,that didn’t help. I feel that God spoke to me and said for me to wash my hair with warm salt water. The same day I felt relief. its been 7 days and no itch. I only washed my hair with warm salt water with out rising it out. On the 7 day I shampooed my hair. I recommend that you would not leave it in , because it drys your hair out. I suggest that you use it as a rinse and follow with a conditioner daily to stop your itch.

     
  5. N.K.T.

    April 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Aloha, I live near an ocean and swim about once a week so my hair is regularly exposed to salty sea water. Ive noticed several things which affirm all said in the above article. For one, Ive been a sufferer of scalp dermatitis and severe dandruff for at least five years. When i started swimming in the ocean my dandruff and scalp condition ceased immediately. Moreover the texture of my naturally kinky type 4a hair softened and took on a luster which could beforehand only be achieved with hair oils. In some areas, my 4a hair relaxed to a 3c type, but this was only temporary.

    So I am a believer when it comes to the positive effects of sea salt. However, I recommend sea salt with caution for the reasons mentioned in the article. The sea salt must not be allowed to stay in the hair for more than a few minutes to a few hours depending on its concentration and the condition of the hair. I had to learn the hard way after i didnt wash my hair for a day after exposure to sea salt. My hair dried considerably, shriveled, and lost curl defination. A few days later the damaged bits broke off. I think the extent of sea salt damage was in combination with my prior damage from over coloring my hair. The good news is that a dip in the ocean seemed to be the remedy for this situation. I promptly rinsed this time around and the sea salt seemed to have a healing effect on the prior damage. Seems unlikely but it is true. I might add that some synthetic hair products react badly with salt and I would clarify my hair before proceeding with a sea salt treatment to be safe. In closing, sea salt when utilized with care is a wonderful health and beauty aid. However, because of its drying quality you’ll want to use it sparingly.

     

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