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19 best hair products for sun and saltwater damage

Too much beach time? These picks can repair and moisturize your tresses.
Illustration of Smiling young woman in a lake with friends swimming in the background and Woman sitting on sand on Beach
TODAY Illustration / Luis Alvarez / Getty Images / Mikhail Novozilov / EyeEm / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

If too much time in the sun has left your hair feeling brittle and damaged, there's still hope for flowing summer tresses.

Rebecca Craigie, hair stylist and owner of Coconuts Hair Shack in Indialantic, Florida, is no stranger to treating hair that's been damaged by sun and saltwater, since her salon is located a block off the beach.

"Some of the signs of sun or salt damage are brittleness, dry split ends and frizz," Craigie told Shop TODAY, adding that those who highlight their hair are even more likely to see signs of sun and salt damage since lightening can dry out your locks. "Wetting hair with fresh tap water before swimming can keep it from absorbing drying chemicals and salt. Spraying hair with a leave-in conditioner or hair sunscreen will [also] protect those locks."

Craigie also suggests regular hair trims to keep split ends from creeping up the hair shaft and allowing hair to air-dry as often as possible to reduce heat damage.

What kind of products can help treat sun and salt damage?

"You want to look for products without added sulfates or parabens since these ingredients can strip the hair of natural oils," said Craigie. "Also look for products that are moisture- and protein-rich."

Craigie also suggests using a deep conditioning treatment weekly to give dry hair back the moisture it needs, leaving them on for between 3 and 10 minutes before rinsing.

But Craigie's number one recommended product that nourishes your tresses and reduces damaged ends: Olaplex's No. 3 Hair Perfector.

"Use it once a week on wet, towel-dried hair or even dry hair before getting in the shower," Craigie explained. "Apply liberally and brush through the hair to evenly saturate it, then leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes, but up to 90 minutes for super-damaged hair."

"This product is not meant to be left in," she warns. "You must shampoo and condition afterwards."

Looking for some other items designed to help repair summer hair damage? We've rounded up 19 hair products designed to return moisture to hair that's been dried out by the elements.

Leave-in treatments to repair hair damage

Playa Monoi Milk Leave-In Conditioner

This lightweight spray conditioner is moisturizing and restorative. It also fights frizz and makes strands ultra-soft thanks to a blend of Tahitian monoi oil and and coconut milk.

It's a 10 Potion 10 Miracle Instant Repair Leave-In

With a rich, nourishing blend of coffee seed oil, Indian gooseberry extract and golden bamboo essence, this conditioning spray detangles, prevents frizz and breakage and neutralizes your tresses' pH levels.

Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Leave-In Conditioner

Specially designed to hydrate curly hair, this leave-in conditioner protects hair from heat, amplifies natural softness and contains moisturizing marula, buriti and avocado oils.

African Pride Hydrate and Strengthen Leave-In Cream

This leave-in cream contains a restorative blend of coconut and baobab oils, which helps coils and curls remain hydrated, manageable and strong.

Kenra Pearl Detangler

Lightweight with luminescent pearl to add shine and manageability, this leave-in treatment provides moisture and healing to damaged hair.

AIIR Sapphire Leave-In Conditioner

This hydrating and detangling conditioner protects hair from UV rays, environmental damage and damaged caused by heat styling. It's also designed for daily use, so you won't have to worry about setting aside time for long hair treatments.

Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother

A leave-in smoothing cream, this reparative product from Olaplex improves damage and hydrates the hair. It's also designed for all hair types and keeps your hair frizz-free for up to three days.

Deep conditioning treatments to repair hair damage

Kenra Restorative Reconstructor Masque

Made with keratin amino acids, this deep reconstructive conditioner repairs brittle hair and moisturizes right down to the hair's cuticle.

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector

Designed for use before shampooing and conditioning, this repairing hair treatment is great for all hair types and provides major damage control.

It's a 10 Miracle Clay Hair Mask for Blondes

The violet hue of this hair mask tones the brassiness that sometimes comes with blonde hair color, while the conditioning ingredients help manage tangles and frizz.

Hask Rose Oil and Peach Color Protection Deep Conditioner

With a juicy floral scent and easy-to-use single packets, this deep conditioner repairs and conditions hair and is great for taking on-the-go.

Mane Club Cry Baby Repairing Hair Mask

This deep conditioning packet repairs existing damage while reducing future breakage. While it looks like a single-use product, each package contains enough product for up to three uses.

Faith in Nature Coconut and Shea Butter Hair Mask

Packed with organic coconut oil for maximum hydration, this hair mask smells amazing and is an affordable way to give hair a moisture boost and leave it feeling silky smooth.

Dream Girls Revival Deep Treatment

This deep conditioning treatment contains ginseng, bamboo and coconut oil, which work together to revitalize your locks while creating additional strength and elasticity.

Oils and serums to repair hair damage

Coco and Eve Like a Virgin Miracle Hair Elixir

Restore hair while making it shiny and glossy with this moisturizing oil that quenches thirsty locks and treats pesky split ends. It can also be used as an overnight treatment for additional nourishment.

Sebastian Dark Oil

"Dark, but light," this lightweight hair treatment replenishes hair from the inside out thanks to Sebastian's signature DiffusX technology. It also provides major shine and moisture while not weighing hair down with essential ingredients like cedarwood, sandalwood and argan oils.

Superzero Frizz Fighter Hair Serum Bar

With unique ingredients like plant-based silicone alternatives and Abyssinian oil esters, this hair serum bar is all about adding moisture, fighting frizz and making hair soft and manageable. It also comes in TSA-approved packaging, perfect for beach getaways!

Commit Haircare Spring to Life Oil

With ingredients like lemongrass, aloe and rosemary oil, this natural hair and scalp oil promotes softness, shine and manageability.

Playa Ritual Hair Oil

Coconut, sunflower and apricot oils come together to tame frizz and nourish hair in this weightless, shine-inducing hair oil.

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