Woe is me.
I have tried every single salt spray on the market, but none compares to the heavenly scent and dreamy waves left behind by the now-discontinued John Frieda product Beach Blonde Ocean Waves. The curls I had were stuff of legend and now, sadly, myth.
I have covered beach hair and the powerful action of salt in hair before, but my fascination really started with this product. I used this stuff en masse after extended surfing days back when I was in high school. Scrunching away with this stuff on the days in between hitting the actual waves kept me looking like a Roxy Girl in the early 2000s.
For people who fall in wavy and curly gray areas, these are literally like a gift from Poseidon! Salt sprays provide extra curling power and body to ALL hair types, and can even be used sparingly just to add texture if no curl is desired. I think they work best on either clean, damp hair, let to dry naturally, or second/third(/fourth?)-day hair spritzed first with water, then product, then scrunched with a warm blow dryer on low speed and twisted into tendrils to cool.
But the original, and, in my opinion, best-ever salt spray, John Frieda Ocean Waves, is long gone, discontinued in 2007. Aside from the smell, the stuff literally is the most effective "curl-specific" product I have ever used.
The color of a Caribbean lagoon, it has a blue oily layer that takes up about a third of the bottle, while the rest more closely resembles a briny sea. When shaken, somehow this spray is just the right amount of greasy and salty to make hair wavy if it's straight, curly if if is wavy, and straight-up corkscrews if it is curly. A magic potion that you could pick up from the drugstore without selling your voice to Ursula.
Anyone who knows me or my product preference knows that admitting to not only loving but worshipping a drugstore product is like admitting my McDonald's habit. I try to keep my beauty routine as clean as possible, using all-natural products with only a select number of professional-grade products when absolutely needed. My shouting this drugstore product love from the internet rooftops is like a vegan admitting a weekly bacon snack, OK people? But that is how much I loved this damned spray.
Fortunately, I was able to find a few bottles here and there up until about 2009, but after that, the DIY formulas I made would have to suffice. Fekkai was too greasy and smelled funny, Bumble made my hair like velcro, I couldn’t afford Davines, and the John Frieda Brilliant Brunette formula--the bone they tossed to us devotees--sucked, smelled weird, and was also not so recently discontinued.
Four whole years later, people rave and rage and complain about the one, the only, the Beach Blonde Ocean Waves spray. But GUESS what I saw with my fancy schmancy new Amazon membership? A VERY expensive and VERY RARE bottle of the precious! I basically told myself if I got the green light to write about it, I was friggin’ buying it! And buy it I did. I won’t tell you how much, and I won’t tell you what kind of kooky ingredients I have on the way to recreate it, but it’s coming, so prepare yourselves.
What I will tell you is that upon initial examination, I have deduced the reasons for its awesomeness to be from a trifecta of three ingredients, one of which I have not seen added to any DIY salt-spray recipes on the web. Most brands are a mix of saltwater and conditioners. Some use oils, some use chemicals, but Ocean Waves uses a third ingredient: a version of glycerin called propylene glycol.
You might recognize this chemical from its role in the center of NYC’s e-cig controversy. I personally am not a fan of propylene glycol, or PG as it is known, but I am a fan of it’s more natural cousin, vegetable glycerin.
Vegetable glycerin is a humectant, and is a treasured ingredient for many DIY hair and skincare nerds. This is another ingredient worth purchasing if you are an avid xoDIYer. You will use it all up if you follow along with our projects!
In the meantime, while this recipe is developed, and while I harass people at John Frieda to give me some ANSWERS, I encourage all of my fellow cult members to sign this petition, begging them to resurrect this product. Yes, I am officially using my platform as a beauty writer to do some good.
Do you remember this spray? What about the other Beach Blonde products? If you found a spray that you think gets the job done like Ocean Waves did, share in the comments!!