Salt Shampoo Exists, And It’s Weird And Amazing



By now you’ve probably heard of salt sprays and treatments, which are meant to add a little beachy texture to your hair without actually requiring you to be in the proximity of a shoreline. Salt shampoos, however, are a whole different thing. Today we’re dishing on what they are and what sort of benefits they serve up and, if you’re interested in trying some for yourself, we’ve got a few solid reccs for you.  

K So What’s Salt Shampoo & What Makes it Great?

Salt shampoo is exactly what it sounds like: a cleansing shampoo that’s been infused with salt crystals. Depending on the product, the salt can either be very fine or really coarse, but the idea is to both clean your hair while also exfoliating your scalp. Additionally, many salt shampoos contain extra ingredients – such as tea tree oil, witch hazel, or botanical extracts – that further cleanse, nourish, and balance.

“A salt shampoo product that uses only mineral-based salts with a blend of other moisture-based and cleansing agents can be a game-changer. This is particularly true for those with fine, thin hair, or a scalp that has a tendency to be greasy,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Here’s the thing about salt. Not only does it offer a form of physical exfoliation to buff away dead skin cells (which yes, your scalp needs!), but it’s also rich in nourishing minerals, helps balance sebum production, nixes dirt and product buildup, and also boasts antibacterial properties. As a bonus, it makes hair look and feel super shiny and soft, and it can even boost volume. When combined with a shampoo element, you reap the reward of a double-whammy hair treatment: shiny, healthy locks and a happy, balanced scalp!

How to Use Salt Shampoo

It can feel a bit clunky and weird when applying and massaging salt shampoo into your scalp and through your hair. We recommend wetting your hair first, then applying a nice dollop all around the scalp before wetting your hair a second time. Really massage the product into your scalp, then work the product down to the middle of your hair shaft before rinsing thoroughly. (Try not to leave any salt crystals behind!) Follow up with a rich conditioner, focusing on the ends, and style as usual.

We do want to note that one drawback of salt is that it can be a little drying and, like any exfoliant, a bit abrasive. For that reason, salt shampoos aren’t meant to be used every day like a regular shampoo but are instead a once-weekly (or bi-weekly) treatment. Dr. Shamban adds that those with damaged hair, dyed hair, super thick, dry, or textured hair either should avoid these products or use them even more sparingly.

“Salt shampoos falls under the category of clarifying shampoos, which are by design lifting and stripping,” she adds. “Use them only as needed.

Give Salt Shampoo a Try! 

If you’re interested in experimenting with a salt shampoo, the following are great picks:

1. Eva NYC Deeptox Exfoliating Salt Shampoo, $12

what is salt shampoo

In addition to sea salt to help exfoliate dead skin cells and foster blood circulation on the scalp, this shampoo is formulated with pomegranate extract to purify and reduce inflammation, as well as witch hazel to further zap grease. It also has a nice scent that’s more shampoo-y and less medicinal than some other options out there.

2. Playa California Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo, $38

what is salt shampoo

It’s def a spendy option, but this luxe shampoo by Playa makes it feel like you’ve brought the beach to your bathroom. It’s infused with tea tree oil to further exfoliate and rebalance your scalp and does a great job of making your hair super soft and shiny.

3. Sephora Collection Peppermint Hair Cleansing Salt Scrub, $7

what is salt shampoo

The Sephora Collection is a real gem to bring us super affordable, quality products. Its cleansing salt scrub is no exception. The product is formulated with natural peppermint, which feels tingly and refreshing on your scalp and helps cleanse. Moisturizing coconut oil leaves hair nourished, hydrated, and glossy.

4. Lush Big Shampoo, $11.95

lush salt shampoo

A bestseller for the brand, Lush’s Big Shampoo is a non-fussy formula that combines sea salt with seawater, fresh lime juice, seaweed, coconut oil, vanilla absolute, and a range of botanical extracts. It’s formulated specifically to boost volume (hence the name).

How do you feel about incorporating salt into your beauty regimen? Let’s chat in the comment section below!