I’m Holding On to Summer for Dear Life With This Sea Salt Hair Spray

Hot discovery: Hair by Sam MckNight, Sundaze Beach Spray ($50)

When I was a teenager, my parents rented a beach house every summer in the iconic, if slightly daggy, New South Wales holiday destination Pacific Palms. While I pretended to be too cool for the beach 11 months of the year, I was really just too pale. Visits to the Eastern Suburbs meant broad-brimmed hats, sun umbrellas and three types of SPF – it was easier to feign disinterest and tune out to Nine Inch Nails.

But, during those two weeks weeks of beach holidays, I’d happily scarper back and forth from our rental to the ocean, allowing the sunlight to briefly tickle my skin before making my hasty retreat to snack on some watermelon, the scent of sea breeze, grassy hills (there were perplexingly cows in the mountains surrounding Bluey’s beach) mingled with my clothes and hair. 

It was a carefree break from being cool, and on my last day, I’d always feel sad to wash that special scent away. It would always take weeks to fade from clothes and holiday books and induce a sense of calm.

Beauty editor Ruby Feneley on vacation, perfectly ocean-salted hair in place.
Enjoying my five seconds of direct sunlight and beach hair a year. Image Credit: Supplied

That’s the feeling the Hair by Sam McKnight, Sundaze Beach Spray ($50) has given me as I wave goodbye to summer and sit with slightly blue fingertips punching out words in freezing Newtown share house. I’m wearing a jumper and a puffer jacket, but my hair is full of the subtle scent of sea breeze mingled with hibiscus. It frankly, smells like sunlight and makes me feel like a carefree teenager.

It’s also perfectly tousled. 

I have fine, thick hair that, despite the best efforts of my stylist, generally sits shapelessly about my shoulders within two weeks of a cut. Tousled is something of an achievement.

The Trouble With Sea Salt Hairspray

Usually, hair stylists will suggest sea salt sprays or dry shampoo for instant texture. I generally reach for dry shampoo – while I don’t like the feeling on my scalp, I consider it the lesser of two evils.

The fact is, while I love the finish of sea salt spray gives me, it always leaves my hair dry, tangled and crunchy. Just like ocean water. I guess this is why a lot of people just put salt water in a spray bottle and call it a day. 

Sundaze does not make my hair feel that way. It gives all of the Kate Moss on holiday in Ibiza look and feel, with none of the offensive grit and tangle. It also has that transportative, special scent.

Sam McKnight, the celebrity stylist behind Hair by Sam McKnight, tells me Sundaze was explicitly created to capture this feeling. “I’ve spent many summers in Ibiza, and I love the way the hair looks and feels by the ocean. That glamorous, luxe hair – that’s what I wanted to create with Sundaze, evoking the feeling as if you’re stepping from beach to bar or you’ve spent the day on a yacht in Formentera.” 

Hair by Sam McKnight, Sundaze Beach Spray ($50)
Hair by Sam McKnight, Sundaze Beach Spray ($50) Image Credit: MECCA

Granted, my beach excursions are more Bluey’s than Succession Season 3, or Kate Moss in Ibiza, but I totally get what Sam is referring to. 

In a “Sundaze”

How does the magic work? McKnight tells me the formula was designed to leave hair neither crunchy nor dry. He wanted something that would enhance and define the hair texture, wave and curls while providing UV protection (less of an issue in current weather conditions) and leaving the hair looking and feeling natural. 

To achieve this, McKnight included ingredients like Pro-Vitamin B5 and aloe leaf to hydrate and maintain the hair’s moisture balance and hibiscus extracts to give it its sunny, teenage holiday nostalgia-inducing scent. 

I’m currently using the Iles Formula range, making my colour-treated copper locks feel like spun silk. It doesn’t help with my heavy head of hair. So, after blow drying, I spray some Sundaze into the palm of my hand and scrunch through around the crown of my head.

The hibiscus extract scent gives me summer flashbacks all day long, the Sundaze Beach Spray gifted texture gets me compliments, and Nine Inch Nails stills gets me to work in the morning.

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