How to Protect Your Hair from Sun and Salt Damage

Sun bleached (or Ehu in Hawaiian) hair is a classic characteristic of a surfer. Although this beachy look is beautiful and often sought after in the summertime, it can create extreme damage to your locks. The natural highlights are created when the sun destroys the melanin in your hair, therefore killing any strength and luster.

Neglecting to properly care for your hair in frequent sun exposure can leave you with weak strands that easily split, giving the ends a fried and fuzzy texture. No one likes unhealthy hair, and I especially hate having to chop off inches of dead ends that I so patiently grew out!

So if you’re hoping to achieve that golden blonde look this summer, here are a few tips to keep your mane healthy on the way.

Damage-Preventing Hairstyles

These are my favorite ways to wear my hair while surfing. These styles keep my hair out of my way and best prevent tangling and breakage.

High Ponytail + Braid Combo


Not only is this look sporty and cute, but also great at keeping tangles at bay

Classic Bun


A bun keeps your ends tucked away and protected

Simple Braid


This is my favorite way to wear my hair in the surf. Avoid loose braids as they can tangle up in themselves and create lots of knots. Keep it tight!

Post-Beach Care

After a surf session or day at the beach, it’s important to give your hair a little TLC. Salt naturally extracts moisture, so leaving it to dry in your hair makes it brittle, rough and susceptible to breakage. For this reason you should always make sure to rinse out your locks with fresh water. 

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Hair Care Products

Leave-in conditioner will restore moisture to your hair and protect it from further damage.  If you have thin or gentle hair in the first place, I highly recommend using a leave-in conditioner to really make sure you’re giving your hair every benefit possible.

There are lots of options out there for all different hair types, so make sure you choose a product that’s suitable for your specific needs. These are our favorite products to put some life back in our hair after a long day at the beach.

My Pick: Luster Tonic leave-in conditioner


This has been my go-to leave in conditioner for as long as I can remember. Tonic was created by San Diego based beach babes who know what it’s like to have fried, salty hair. I really like how easy it is to detangle with this product, and the sweet scent is a plus! Luster is so moisturizing that you can also use it on your body. I usually only do this when my skin feels uncomfortably dehydrated (usually in very dry places like California). I make sure not to apply it or any other lotion on my legs if I know I’ll be surfing again soon, that way it won’t make my surfboard slippery.

Zoe’s Pick: It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In for Blondes
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Zoe is a natural brunette, but on first glance you would never know. Majority of her hair is intensely highlighted from sun exposure, so her choice of leave in product is It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In formulated specifically for blondes. This product de-frizzes and moisturizes hair, and Zoe loves its detangling power.

My Hair Savior. The Wet Brush.


This brush changed my life. After trying a wet brush you won’t be able to use anything else to detangle your hair. The bristles are super soft yet sturdy, so they never rip through your knots or break any strands. At first it’ll seem like it’s not doing much because you won’t feel that harsh pull you get from a traditional hair brush. It may take a little bit longer than usual to get through everything but it’s so worth it. I don’t know what kind of magic they put into these things, but I want in.

Don’t be afraid to call it quits

Even if you’re doing everything you can to protect your hair, it’s only natural that you’ll end up with some dead ends in the long run. Don’t be afraid to chop off your unhealthy tips! I like to keep my hair as long as possible so I only trim the bare minimum twice a year, but you can trim as frequently as you see fit.

Good luck with your healthy highlights!ROXY_TSP_USA_LR-122 copy.jpg

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