Sea water contains magnesium chloride which is important for overall health and may even directly help with healthy hair growth

Is Sea Water/Salty Water Good for Your Hair?

A study was carried out to determine the effect of sea water on patients with atopic eczema and dermatitis syndrome. The two are serious hair conditions that cause an itchy, red and sometimes swollen skin, including the scalp.

The itching can cause hair loss particularly due to persistent scratching of the scalp by the affected persons.

A total of 33 patients with a mean age of 26 years were subjected to pre-study hair tests that revealed an imbalance of essential minerals and an increase in toxic substances.

After drinking sea water for six months, the levels of essential minerals, including potassium and selenium, were significantly increased. At the same time, drinking sea water significantly reduced the levels of mercury and lead that are considered toxic.

By the end of the study, 27 out of the 33 patients had the symptoms of these conditions improved.

It turns out that sea water is actually very good for your hair. Several other studies and experts seem to support this position.

The Overall Benefits of Salt Water

As the results of the study above suggest, salt water has a high concentration of minerals and vitamins, making it therapeutic. It contains potassium and selenium, which are particularly important for hair growth.

These minerals are absorbed into the skin and scalp, bringing about an antibiotic effect that can mitigate common scalp problems like eczema and psoriasis.

Salt water also flushes elements that are harmful to your hair, like mercury. Other benefits of salt water include:

  • Sea water/Salt water is a natural shampoo. If you have a greasy scalp, then sea water can help you to strip those heavy oils. Sea water absorbs excess oils present on your tresses making them smooth.
  • It acts as an exfoliant to your scalp. By soaking all the moisture from your scalp which helps fungus grow, you are likely to keep dandruff away. Find out about fungal infections that cause hair loss here.

Why It Might Be Better for You to Visit the Beach Rather Than Your favorite Pool

Sea water undergoes desalination before being tapped into your home or pool. During desalination, chlorine and lime are added to sea water so as to kill any harmful bacteria.

Increased pollution of sea water has only served to increase the amounts of chemicals added to sea water during desalination.

However, these chemicals, particularly chlorine, may not be good for your hair especially when added to the water in large quantities.

According to experts, a buildup of chlorine at the mouth of the hair follicle may lead to breakage of hair, followed by coating of the scalp, thereby blocking the growth of new hair.

Active chlorine in your hair can also cause hair to feel sticky when wet and straw-like when dry.

Therefore, you might want to regulate the amount of chlorine used in your pool, but remember you cannot control water treatment in private facilities.

Your best bet might be a visit to the beach. Sea water is unlikely to be contaminated with a lot of Chlorine, not to mention its other benefits that we have outlined above.

Despite a higher initial cost some people use saltwater pools over chlorine pools because the salt water is much better for your skin and hair than chlorine.

What if You Can’t Access the Ocean or the Sea?

Well, not every one of us can access the beach as often as they would wish, probably because of a tight work schedule. Luckily, you can extract the maximum benefit from salt water while relaxing in your own living room!

You don’t have to carry home some sea water the next time you visit the beach either. Here’s how:

Homemade Salt Recipe for your Hair


  • 2 parts of liquid castile soap
  • 3 parts of coarse sea salt


  1. Pour the two parts of the castile soap into a container
  2. Add the three parts of sea salt
  3. Blend the mixture thoroughly
  4. Wash your hair with the mixture for about 15 minutes
  5. Rinse with cold water to eliminate all residues

Alternatively, you can use sea salt without mixing it with a commercial shampoo and still get the best out of sea salt. Here’s how:

  1. Warm some water in a pan
  2. Add three tablespoons of sea salt into the water.
  3. Once the solution cools down to normal temperature, rinse your scalp with it and massage for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Now rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water.

These homemade recipes can strip off dead skin cells of your hair, as well as any old product buildup and dirt.

However, be sure not to wash your hair with these homemade solutions more than once a month as too much washing, especially with coarse material, (sea salt in this case) can leave your hair follicles too exposed and loose at the base.

Learn how to repair damaged hair follicles here.


Saturating your hair with salt water for too long can be a detriment. It can leave your scalp too dry and make hair brittle.

So, experts advise you to treat your hair with a moisturizer or deep conditioner before getting into the water. When you get home, be sure to wash your hair with shampoo.

You might also want to avoid sea water if you fall under any of the following categories:

  • If you have had a keratin hair-straightening treatment. Salt water may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, forcing you to repeat the whole thing again
  • If you have hair extensions sea salt and extensions may not work together.

Final Word

The benefits of sea water clearly outweigh its disadvantages. With a bit of precaution, there should be no reason why you should not look forward to your next visit to the beach.

58 thoughts on “Is Sea Water/Salty Water Good for Your Hair?”

  1. Wow, very interesting article, I gained a lot of insight about chlorine and other substances in our faucet water (a little scary). I see my girl that cuts and treats my hair on a regular basis and not really having any problems with hair loss yet. I am going to be checking in to the chlorine removal at home. Great information and I really enjoyed the read.

  2. I never knew chlorine could affect the hair and scalp region so much. I definitely want to test the water at my house now and see how our levels look. Thanks so much for the info!

  3. Thanks for the comment, Erin. It is really surprising how much damage can be done with things we commonly think of as safe. Luckily, with this water issue, there’s a way around chlorine.

  4. Chlorine is used so regularly we tend to forget that it is also harmful to us as you so clearly explained.
    Is there a certain percentage that doesn’t irritate our hair health?
    I would like to check the concentration at my house and if necessary do something about it.

  5. The World Health Organization says that 0.5 mg/L is safe, but it’s really a matter of defining safety. And if your hair or scalp is diseased or vulnerable or under attack elsewhere, it’s nice to remove this harmful barrier from daily contact with your scalp. We are lucky we live in a time where such advance water filtration processes are both affordable and possible.

  6. Wow, what an interesting read! It is amazing what you are unaware of and something as common as chlorine affecting our hair is crazy. I guess that is why it is so important to wash your hair after you get out of the pool? Thanks for this information this is definitely something I will be sharing.

  7. Thanks for the comment, Melissa! And yes, washing the chlorine out is super important, although as you can see, if you wash pool water out with tap water, it’s not like your scalp is left chlorine free. these home purification systems make it easy, at least.

  8. Wow! I will be honest I knew it was bad but i didn’t know all the harmful effects chlorine had.
    A lot of people don’t know why the have so many problems with the health of their hair, i know many including myself that no matter how much i took care of it naturally i still struggled, turns out it all starts with the water right?
    Besides hitting the pool one day and feeling the strong side effects after, i took for granted that the water i use at home isn’t great either, i will look into those water filters! ASAP
    Thank you for the useful info!!!

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Arlet! It DOES all start with the water. I had that epiphany here in blogland – I often discuss stuff that requires washing (shampoo, etc) but hadn’t yet discussed the water itself. we’re lucky we live in a time where it’s easy to create pure drinking and bathing water at home.

  10. Great Info! We have always wanted to get a filter but I thought they were too expensive. I had no idea they are as low as 200 dollars. One question, how many days a week should you wash your hair?

  11. Wow, interesting stuff. I never realize how scary chlorine in our tap water is. With both my girl and I, washing our hair with tap water definitely raise concerns. Will be looking into alternative for sure.

  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and yeah, I think everyone’s gonna be getting a new water filter after reading my post! Just a hunch, maybe because none of us like to be poisoned!

  13. HI. I didn’t realise that chlorine was added to water. I think a lot of us don’t know what they put in the water that comes through the tap. Your article certainly made me think and I will need to check with my supplier about what they do in fact add. I try not to wash my hair every day as my mum always said that it stripped the protective oils form the hair and interestingly I saw a programme on TV once where a volunteer had not washed her hair for 6 weeks and it looked like she just stepped out of a salon! I guess nature knows best but I don’t think I’m that brave! Thanks for sharing your research and knowledge.

  14. I am very familiar with chlorine in the tap water.

    Several years ago I noticed my hair becoming thinner. I stopped using hair jell and yet it still seemed to be thinning.

    It came to a point to where I was subconsciously combing my fingers through my hair every hour just to count how many lose hairs I can comb out. It was annoying to see at least one to three hairs every time I did it, and like moron I still did it…

    One day when I existed the shower, I did my habitual finger comb through my hair and combed out about 8 hairs. (yes I counted them, it was part of the bad habit.) Then it dawned on me. It was the f@#$ing tap water. Chlorine, Floride, and other harmful crap probably.

    Since then I always rinse my hair after a shower by pouring distilled water over my head. My hair is back to normal now. It is thick and full as you can see on my profile picture. The distilled water trick and some of the products you suggest throughout your website are the only things I ever do to keep my full set of hair.

    However, buying jugs of distilled water all the time gets pretty pricey in the long run. I’m really thinking about installing a distilled water system. But one of these alkaline water systems seems just as appealing if not better. The price is definitely cheaper.

  15. Well that explains why my hair is so much thinner – I moved to a warm climate state and I have a pool with chlorinated water that I like to swim in all the time! I’ve been considering switching to a fresh water pool but didn’t think the benefits outweighed cost / hassle. Now I don’t know – maybe it’s worth it!

  16. Thanks for sharing your story, and all that great empirical proof of tap water being the culprit! So cool that you saw improvement after you switched to rinsing with distlled water. Yeah, if you’re spending $1 here $1 there every day for years, it’s better to just splurge for a reverse osmosis system.

  17. Thanks for the comment! There’s also the option of wearing a watertight shower cap while you’re swimming, but then your skin still has contact with all that chlorine. Might be something to consider!

  18. I had no idea that chlorine can wreak such havoc on our hair and bodies. I also appreciate the information that dry shampoos are bad. I’ve used it in the past and will think twice before using it again.

    I remember as a child we always went in our neighbors pool in the summer months and my blond hair would turn GREEN from the chlorine, not a pretty picture!!

    Thank you for all of the great hair loss prevention information you are providing. 🙂

  19. Thanks for reading. yes, I’ve SEEN the green pool hair before, my blonde stepsisters all had it every summer. Nice to know that’s totally optional now, especially armed with the dangers of chlorine.

  20. Chlorine! I thought it was just in the swimming pools, I might sound dumb saying this but I honestly had no idea that It was in our tap water in our homes as well. In that case, I blame Chlorine for making me bald and I might sue the water company, lol

  21. Haha, let me know how that lawsuit goes. But yeah, I think you’re not alone and A LOT of people have no clue that our tap water is so toxic. We can drink clean water all day, but if we’re bathing in dirty water, it doesn’t really matter since our skin is a giant sponge. Luckily these home filtration systems are cheap and effective.

  22. Oh my goodness!! This is great information to know…though its scary. I’ve known for some time how terrible chlorine is for our bodies, but you certainly shed new light on it. Well written post, full of needed information!

  23. THanks for the comment. I’m glad more people are learning about the dangers of chlorine for hair loss and what we can do to stop it!

  24. We are so used to having chlorinated water that we think its okay to use that water on our hair because thats the only option we think we have. I was crazy few years ago, I used to bring bottled water to wash my hair but few years later I gave up. I did not think about the option of reverse osmosis, thank you for sharing and I will consider this option.

  25. I totally agree with what you have explained in this article that chlorine can cause hair loss and I personally experienced it. But now I don’t need to worry as I have got your website for best advices, tips and products.

  26. Hi Penelope, wow another thing that’s wrecking my hair! We do live in a toxic world don’t we? This was such an interesting and informative article and it’s something that we can’t get away from as we all have to wash ourselves in the water that comes out of our taps, and this problem had never occurred to me before. But that reverse osmosis filter looks like a fantastic product, I really can’t believe it’s so cheap and affordable.
    I’ve taken to washing my hair only every other day and this has helped it greatly which is probably due to a lot less chlorine getting onto it, which I never thought about before. I also always use a protective mask when I go swimming and this has made a big difference as well. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  27. Good you protect your hair when you swim! The swimming cap needs to make a comeback 🙂 And yes, it’s amazing that this filtration technology is so affordable, we all need it!

  28. Wow, I did not know that chlorine would do this. I always thought it was to help us fend off germs and bacteria. I certainly did not know it would blow up. So are they working on something to replace it with what it was first meant to do but in a safer capacity?

  29. Sadly, no. The status quo is the status quo, and the best thing we can do is control what we can change, which is our home water environments. Luckily there are many affordable options, which I laid out in the article. thank you for reading!

  30. I’ve been thinking about getting a reverse osmosis system at my mother’s house. She uses the Pur filters that need to be replaced every 3 months or so while a reverse osmosis system will be good for many years. I also thought that these systems were in the thousands of dollars, so it’s good to see that they are affordable. Having a system like this would give me a lot of peace of mind. Thanks for helping to keep us updated!

  31. Thanks for the feedback. I also thought these systems were hugely, out-of-reach expensive, but it’s great to see that they’re now totally doable for most of us. And I agree about the peace of mind, especially now that we know just how awful chlorine is!

  32. That is woo true, chlorine is so damaging for hair. thank you for sharing such a great information especially about Reverse osmosis water, how it is done and how it is good for our hair. Your article is superb, I will share this with others for sure…

  33. Thanks for the feedback! I agree, we all need to get away from this tap water poison and embrace home reverse osmosis or alkalinizing systems!

  34. I know chlorine is really bad for our hair. I’ve been looking into reverse osmosis filter, but it’s not the most affordable thing. But I will be getting one sometime in the future. We are living in a toxic world, we got to protect ourselves. I found your article very insightful. I learn new thing every time I come to your website. keep up with the good work,

  35. Great post!
    Thanks to the chlorinated pool at the summer resort we stay at, plus the time in the sun tubing on the nearby canal, I ended up with a type of blond horse-hair at the back of my head. It would not accept color, it would not accept conditioner, it just would not accept any help except the regular trimming of my hair. Yuk! I has taken 2 years of trims to get most of that coarse hair off of my head!

    I believe in RO, since I am not a big fan of chlorine of any kind, so I will be installing a system when I move into my next home (this year) and I will be looking into the products that you are promoting today. Thank you for the heads up!

    When I worked in a hospital kitchen we had to stop using bleach for disinfecting because it cannot be rinsed off of counters and work surfaces with drinking water. ewwwww. I do not use bleach in my home except to clear drains, which it does better than any other product that I have tried.

  36. Hi Penelope
    I have a very low tolerance to chlorine due to eczema and if I swim in chlorinated swimming pools I have a noticeable reaction with my skin breaking out. I find public swimming pools the worst as for public health reasons the amount of chlorine they use is very high. I avoid swimming in public pools for this reason. Home pools and saltwater pools don’t carry anywhere near the levels of the public pools and I don’t struggle as much but I do tend to avoid swimming for this reason. I use a water purifier for all our drinking water but it is just a bench top, ceramic one but it works well and you can definitely smell and taste the difference to the water that comes out of it. One question I have in regards to the products you reviewed is they say under sink so how would that work for a hookup to a shower for the ability to wash with reduced chemicals?

  37. A very educational read. It is sad how many things we are not aware of and we just go with the flow. Like with food, the ingredients in drink water should be more known but we all know that it won’t be beneficial for corporations. Next to adjusting your lifestyle at home and install the systems you mention, people can still do something by contacting their representatives and demand to have high-quality drink water.

  38. Thanks for the great feedback, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article, even if it is a little disturbing! I agree, these systems are an investment. They were MUCH more expensive even five years ago, so let’s hope with time the prices will continue to drop. I recommended ones that have a lot of features for their price.

  39. Have you tried pots of boiling water and waiting? That tends to work for me for unclogging drains. But yeah, it’s fascinating to hear that even at a hospital you guys had to veto the bleach. And WOW that effect on your hair was so intense, two years of trims?! Kinda reminds me of when I’m growing out a bad dye job and vowing to never dye my hair again (ie, right now). Definitely check in with us once you get your RO up and running and let us know how it works out for you!

  40. I believe you install these at or near the master water switch in your home so it travels to all of the water sources. The idea is to tranform all water in your home, drinking washing and bathing – because our hair loss is impacted by any contact internal or external. It’s good that you have awareness of your reaction with chlorine, sounds like a home filtration system might be a good choice for you even for the amounts in our tap water! Thanks for sharing your perspective and for the comment!

  41. I agree completely. So many of us are just subject to whatever poor decisions were made by people with power who are not health experts. I’m so glad that RO systems are affordable now, and we can all protect ourselves from future chlorine exposure.

  42. Hi Penelope

    I’ve never heard of a master water switch. I have a water metre that council reads out the front to check my consumption so they can charge me for the water used. However, I don’t know what a master water switch is. Off to do some research now!


  43. I have never given much thought to chlorine and my hair since I haven’t been swimming in a pool in about 15 years. I never really thought about chlorine in the water that we use to wash our hair ( I don’t drink tap water…ever). However, now that I have read your post, I am concerned with it. Both of my girls suffers from eczema and my youngest even has it on her scalp ( or so I thought)…maybe it’s the chlorine that is causing this.
    I will check out one of these products that you recommend on Amazon.
    Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  44. Thanks for leaving your thoughts! I wouldn’t be surprised if your daughters experience an improvement in their skin health if you install a reverse osmosis filtration system at home. Come back and let us know what happens!

  45. Hi, this is such a great post about chlorine and hair loss. This is so so true that chlorine can cause hair loss and I have experienced it myself. We usually have chlorinated water where I live and I have lost a lot of hair because of this. Now as I have found this site, I am taking help from here as Penelope always share amazing yet easy to follow hair loss advises,thank you.

  46. Hi Penelope,
    I knew that chlorine is not much beneficial for our hair or skin. But I have never really given to that a real thought. Now that I read this post, I am looking into getting the water filter as my scalp and generally, my skin is very itchy even though I drink enough water through the day. So it might that it is because of the water I use to take shower.
    Thank you for the water filter recommendation and ionizer. I have ionizer option on my hair dryer, will that help?

  47. Thanks for the great question! Yes, the ionizer on your dryer will help. And it’s definitely a good idea to filter that crap out of the tap water, especially because doing so is fairly easy and inexpensive these days. Most people see hair and skin challenges vanish after taking this step.

  48. I moved to live by the sea in northern California about a year ago I would say on average that my hair feels more healthy now than it did before – and I haven’t changed my diet much at all. Maybe its just because the sea helps us to de-stress which in turn reduces hair loss?

    • Hi Matt,

      As salt residue can be quite drying, we’d recommend you rinse (with cold or lukewarm water) thoroughly after a swim in the ocean. You can use some basic hand massages, too, to ensure the bulk of the salt has been rinsed away.



  49. Hi Colleen, thanks for the question. I am a fan of washing infrequently, like 3-4x / week at the most. It’s a balance, though – we want to keep our scalps awash in DHT blockers with our various shampoos and serums, but we also want to avoid stripping our hair of its natural oils.

  50. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Very awesome about the 6 weeks of no washing. It can take the scalp quite awhile to adjust to life without shampoo, if you use the “no-poo” method of baking soda and vinegar only, but I’ve never totally gone without. I just might, sounds tempting!

  51. Hi Will,

    Do you think swimming regularly in a chlorinated pool could make a large contribution to hair loss? I used to swim a few times a week, and am not sure if that contributed to my hair loss at one temple. I would like to get back to swimming, as it is the main form of exercise I really followed.


    • I don’t know of any conclusive evidence that it can cause hair loss. I would say that it wouldn’t help your hair. If you are already highly prone to it then probably the chlorine could dry our your hair and scalp. The chlorine may also affect the healthy bacteria found on the scalp which protect it.


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