When it comes to zhuzhing up our strands and adding in beachy texture, salt spray has long been our go-to. But a similar product has hit the market that promises tousled locks with minimal crunch. Aloha, sugar spray.
Some have called it the anti-salt spray, pitting the two products against each other, but we like to think of it as salt spray's sweeter cousin — similar, but with its own thing going on.
"Salt spray is meant to add a 'fresh off the beach' texture to your hair," says celebrity hairstylist and inventor of the Beachwaver
, Sarah Potempa
. "It creates texture on top of the surface of the hair shaft to separate the hair strands and create movement." Sugar spray, on the other hand, has some of the same effects (read: adding texture) but "the sugar is moisturizing to the hair and can make it look bouncier and more polished," Potempa adds.
Though it may be new to us, celebrity hairstylist Ryan Richman
has sworn by sugar spray for years. "Freelance stylists have been using [them] for a long time and they are now becoming a bit more mainstream," he says. "We used to make our own at home, bottle them, and bring them to set to use as a setting spray or [to help create] amazing waves or sculptured hair."
When using sugar or salt spray, Potempa recommends lightly coating your strands with the product, then scrunching your hair in sections. If you're working with wet hair, air-dry or blowdry with a diffuser to enhance the curls, says Richman. On dry hair, Richman loves using sugar and salt sprays to "enhance a slept-on style or a second- or third-day look."
One difference in application, though, is whether or not you brush. Potempa warns against brushing your hair after using salt spray because the natural-looking texture the product creates is best left untouched. Sugar spray can be brushed and blowdried depending on the look you're going for. It can even be used on wet hair before blowdrying as a flexible gel.
Depending on your hair type, texture, and the look you're after, these products will have different effects. If you have dry hair, you might want to check out a sugar spray, as they tend to be more moisturizing than salt. "Sugar [sprays] will give you a texture that's soft whereas salt [sprays] will give you a texture that's rough and beachy," says Potempa. Richman adds that salt spray is ideal for fine hair to add body and thickness. while sugar spray is best for medium to thick hair.
But every hair type and texture is different, so you might need to test a few before you find the one that is right for you. To give you a head start, we've rounded up a few of our picks along with Potempa's favorite DIY recipes. One is sure to help you achieve that effortless texture you've been searching for.