Beach Waves In A Bottle? We Tried 'Em

ProductSmackdown_IntroPhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Gisele Bündchen's hair seems to ignite extreme feelings of envy and desire in the hearts of many women. That wave, that texture, the seemingly bulletproof resistance to humidity — it's tauntingly beautiful, leaving the rest of us to stop, stare, and figure out how to approximate even a sliver of that awesome volume with our own mere-mortal locks.
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While we may not be able to steal Gisele's hair right off her head, we have found one product category that almost gives us supermodel-worthy waves: sea-salt texture sprays. These light-yet-powerful texturizers have magical properties when it comes to transforming even the most lackluster locks into bodacious swirls. And — happy summer to us! — there are lots of new versions on the market, all begging to give you a 'do makeover. So, you know what that means: Product Smackdown time!
We convinced four of our staffers — all with different hair types — to take four new salt sprays for a spin. Did they make their hair reach Gisele levels of textured fabulousness? Find out ahead.


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ProductSmackdown_Rockie_BeforePhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Rockie Nolan, photo assistant
The Contender: Drybar Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray
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"I devote the smallest amount of time I possibly can to my hair styling in the morning. After spending years straightening my hair through high school, I embraced my natural wave in college and have been as lazy with my locks as possible ever since. In the morning, I typically just comb through my ends, scrunch the curls a bit, and then top it off with hairspray, since it's easily frizzed by humidity.
"I was excited to try out a new product, because as much as I love having a simple hair routine, I have been looking for a way to tame my coiff a bit more, so it's not quite as lazy-looking (but still just as easy). I expected it would work because my hair takes pretty well to similar wave-inducing products. Water alone makes it curlier, so I was more interested in seeing whether the product was going to be sticky, make my hair hard, or actually last."
ProductSmackdown_Rockie_AfterPhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
"The product was very easy to use and 100% in line with my effortless-hair-routine goals. I thought at first I needed to keep applying more spray, but I realized I just needed to spend more time (as in 30 more seconds) scrunching it to get the volume up. My hair was significantly more voluminous and wavy. It was similar to my natural look before, but more stylized and put-together.
"The end result was very light and clean, with no crunch factor. I've used wave sprays before that made everything sticky and hardened my hair. This smelled great, felt good, and didn't leave me with dandruff-y flakes of wave-spray remnants that some cheaper spritzers have done in the past. I woke up the next morning and rolled into work with unwashed hair, and it didn't feel greasy or affected by the spray."
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The Result: "I liked the end look and thought it appeared as though I'd actually put some effort into my hairstyle rather than just rolling out of bed — despite the fact that it hardly took more work than that. I'll definitely use this product daily from now on."
Drybar Mai Tai Sea Salt Spray, $25, available at Sephora.
ProductSmackdown_Jessica_BeforePhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Jessica Novak, marketing analytics manager
The Contender: Alterna Bamboo Beach Summer Ocean Waves Tousled Texture Spray
"My hair is naturally straight with a slight wave. It's pretty thin, but I have a lot of it. Normally, I shampoo and condition (with drugstore stuff — nothing fancy) and heat-style my hair with either a curling iron or ceramic straightener. If I want to add texture, I'll use Oribe texturizing spray.
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"I love beach waves, but when I try them, it can be hit or miss. They either look great, frizz, or fall flat. I was certainly hoping for the former. It seemed easy enough, but a simple spray that promises mermaid waves? I was skeptical."
ProductSmackdown_Jessica_AfterPhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
"I applied it liberally from root to end — I have really long hair — but didn't feel like I had to drench my hair or over-apply. It was easy, and I saw results immediately. A couple of sprays, a single scrunch, and bam — major curls.
"My hair looked like I had been at the beach all day. I was very pleased. It felt clean but not sticky, which can often be the case with scrunching sprays. As it dried, it got a little crunchy, but that was to be expected. Oh, and this stuff smells amazing.
The Result: "I looked like a mermaid! I would definitely use this product again. I plan to do my hair like this pretty frequently, especially as beach and festival seasons launch into full swing. My first question after using it was 'Can I keep it?'"
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Alterna Bamboo Beach Summer Ocean Waves Tousled Texture Spray, $20, available at Nordstrom.
ProductSmackdown_Vanessa_BeforePhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Vanessa Golembewski, associate news and entertainment editor
The Contender: Garnier Fructis Style Deconstructed Beach Chic Textured Spray
"I wash my hair every day with shampoo and conditioner; I typically just towel-dry and go, sometimes not even brushing it. When I do this, I get a bit of a natural wave, though it usually falls flat by the afternoon. I have very fine hair, but I have a lot of it. I never use styling products, unless it's hairspray to help maintain a braid or something — also, dry shampoo if I'm going somewhere straight after work.
"Like any beauty experiment, I said, 'Why not?' Plus, this feels timely because it's almost SUMMAH. Also, I'll do anything to get my hair to more closely resemble Gisele's. My first reaction to the product was that it smelled amazing. I wasn't expecting it to work, because I've had little success with hair products in general in the past. They tend to make my hair oily."
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ProductSmackdown_Vanessa_AfterPhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
"I wasn't sure how much to apply. The directions said something like a 'generous, even' layer. But, how many spritzes is that? It also said I could apply it to either damp or dry hair, but that feels counterintuitive. Shouldn't it be an either/or situation? I kind of just went for it and added a lot.
"The result was...BIG. The spray-and-scrunch technique gave my hair volume, and it was decidedly wavier. It felt a bit sticky, but that may be because I put in too much. My interpretation of 'generous' was, well, generous."
The Result: "I liked it! It was a nice midday boost to the way I naturally wear my hair. I'd definitely use it again, though I'd probably prep my roots with a bit of dry shampoo to avoid the oily feeling I get from using hair products."
Garnier Fructis Style Deconstructed Beach Chic Textured Spray, $3.47, available at Walmart.
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ProductSmackdown_Diana_BeforePhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Diana Nguyen, senior editor
The Contender: mark That's Beachy Texturizing Surf Spray
"I wash my hair every other day. When I do wash it, I just let it air-dry. I tease my roots to get some volume and use hairspray for hold. I hate my natural hair texture; it's so fine and limp and can't hold a curl. It's pointless because my hair is so fine that it'll just stay limp and stick-straight.
"Once I tried the product, I was pretty stunned. Our photo assistant and photographer on the shoot that day were even surprised. I never thought my hair would birth beachy waves without me having to spend an annoyingly sandy day oceanside. It was VERY easy. Like, walking-while-talking easy. Just a couple of spritzes and scrunching here and there — voilà."
ProductSmackdown_Diana_AfterPhotographed by Nicolas Bloise.
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"My hair had more volume, and my usually very straight, long locks had a bit of a wave to them. It smelled really good, but in parts where I over-sprayed, it made my hair a little too crunchy. It's something that I could always comb out, though. It didn't bother me that much because any type of texture helps create volume, and I'm a big fan of volume."
The Result: "Lazy girl that I am, I loved the outcome. It looked natural and effortless. I would use the product again, except I would have to use it maybe twice a day, since my hair lost its wave after a few hours."
mark That's Beachy Texturizing Surf Spray, $14, available at mark.
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