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Here’s Why Surf Hair Isn’t as Dreamy in Real Life as it is in Photographs

Posted by Bec Cristillo on
Here’s Why Surf Hair Isn’t as Dreamy in Real Life as it is in Photographs

We’ve all see the pictures:

 Long sun kissed hair usually wavy from drying after a surf session. Blondes get blonder and brunettes get beautiful chestnut highlights. It’s an effortless beauty. Picture it, that slow motion Baywatch style scene with the flowing hair following a super cool to the point of intimidating looking human.

*record scratching noise indicating we’ve come to a realization*

First, if I had pictures of what I looked like coming out of a rough surf, you wouldn’t even need to read the rest of this article.

Sand caked into my strands, tangles that I refuse to brush through, and hair flipped every which way and across my face is not that dreamy surfer hair you were just imagining. 

Second, if I could show you how much hair would break off into my sink once I brush through that dried mess, you also wouldn’t need to read the rest of this article.

You’d be like, “yeah Bec, no explanation necessary, the title makes sense now, not dreamy” but I want to go even deeper than that.  

Ocean water dries out your hair.

Just like your skin feels tight and dry at the end of. A beach day, you hair and scalp are feeling the same. The dehydration takes away the hair’s elasticity and it becomes so much easier to break. Dryness also makes hair harder to brush and easier to tangle, a double hit if you’re trying to prevent hair breakage. 

If your hair is dyed, say goodbye to that color.

Salt water strips hair and removes hair dye. Couple it with the sun and you have a bleaching effect. Which means if your hair is already bleached, it’s like processing it again which we all know to be damaging. 

Sun is notoriously criticized for skin damage, but it’s doing that damage to your hair as well.

UVA and UVB rays hit the outside layer called the cuticle and break it down causing more breakage, split ends, and thinning. It doesn’t matter what color or texture your hair is, it is all susceptible to damage however fine textured and light color hair are more prone to the damage. 

These coupled together while paddling out on a board means extra precautions have to be taken if you want your surf hair to be dreamy surf hair. 

While some people wear surf hats, I’m not one to choose that route.


I’m not a good enough surfer to not lose it after being tossed off the board by the white water. So I go with Dip conditioner bar. It is the best conditioner bar out there and it even has built in UV protectant.

The Dip Sun Shield is like sunscreen for your strands.

Before I go out, I wet my hair, wet the bar, and run the bar down the length of my strands until it’s saturated in conditioner… then leave it. While I’m out there being tossed around my hair is UVB protected and sliding and gliding right over itself preventing tangles. After I get out, I can let it air dry and it’s softer than it’s ever been. I still somehow manage to get those beachy waves without the crunchy mess it usually comes with. 

This preventative measure has helped with hair growth as well since it isn’t breaking off at the bottom any more I’m not losing my length faster than it’s growing. This means I’m on my way to that dreamy surf hair we all know and love. 

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