How do you get surfer hair? (Naturally and Artificially Easy Steps)

Surfers have come a long way when it comes to their image. 

What was once a sport that surrounded itself by an image of jobless, disrespectful, beach bums, has now become an extreme sport that flaunts its athletic competitors with their perfect long blonde surfer hair.

So How do you get surfer hair?

Long, curly, sun-bleached, and sticking on ends like its straw is the famous surfer hair look that so many are after.

In theory, all you need in order to have a perfect head of surfers hair is to expose your hair to sunlight and saltwater.

That being said, there are factors that will influence how your hair turns out, such as your hair color, how curly your hair naturally is, and how much time you spend exposing yourself to the elements.

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How do you get surfer hair?

What Is Surfers Hair?

Although surfers can and do have hairstyles of all types of hairstyles (from long, curly, bleach blonde hair, to a cleanly shaved scalp), the hairstyle most commonly associated with surfers is known as surfers hair.

Surfer’s hair is a long, ruffled look with hair made naturally curly and blonde from prolonged exposure to saltwater and sunlight.

This look was made popular by beach bums in the 1950s, and quickly became associated with the unkept look of the hippie movement in the 60s.

Since then this look has made a move away from the unkept, unemployed, hippy-beach-bum, and is now a sought after look by many individuals that have not even spent a second in the ocean.

Nowadays, beauty and hair care products advertise to be able to provide this blonde-streaked, curly look without needing to surf a day in your life.

Why Does Surfing Give You Surfers Hair?

Before we move on to how exactly you should go about growing surfer’s hair, it will be worth it to understand exactly why spending time in the ocean makes your hair curly and blonde.

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Surfing affects our hair in three main ways: The salt dries out our hair, the minerals of the ocean nourish our hair and scalps, and the sun bleaches our hair.

Because salt is hygroscopic (it attracts water), it draws water from your hair, thus giving it that dry, straw-like look that surfers often have.

Furthermore, as your hair dries out, cysteine particles in your hair connect and produce a more curly look.

As for the sun, with exposure to UV light, the melatonin in our hair begins to break down.

With prolonged exposure to the sun and the combination of salt crystals (which act as magnifying glasses), over time your hair will begin to look lighter.

How to Get Surfer’s Hair

Surfer’s hair, thanks to the popularization and glamorization of the sport, has become an extremely sought-after look.

Take this and the athletic and attractive look of surfers, and you will quickly understand why so many land dwellers are after the same look.

Although the best way to get your hair looking like those beach bums of the 50s is to simply spend more time surfing, many of us don’t have the time (or the advantageous spirits) to spend hours in the ocean each day.

How to Naturally Get Surfer’s Hair

As the name suggests, surfer’s hair comes from time spent surfing, however, it is not surfing specifically that gives your hair that dry, blonde, and curly look, but more the exposure your hair has to natural sunlight and the ocean.

If you want to get that surfers look, but don’t want to push your money into costly products, then the best way to do so is to spend time in the ocean.

The more exposure your hair has to the sun while it has salt attached to it, the faster it will become lighter.

Similarly, the more common it becomes to have salt in your hair, the curlier and dryer it will begin to look.

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That being said, if you don’t have time to spend hours at the beach each week (which most people don’t), then using a saltwater spray on your hair a few times a day will help keep your curls tight.

Simply add some salt to a spray bottle with some warm water. Allow it to cool, and you will have a small bottle of homemade surfers hair spray to carry around with you all day.

How to Get Surfer’s Hair Artificially

If you are after that surfers look but don’t have time to spend by the ocean, or perhaps you don’t have access to the beach, then there are hair products on the market that claim to assist in giving you surfer’s hair.

Although none of these products will change straight black hair into bleach blonde curly hair, they could help assist you in maintaining your look.

If you are wanting to grow surfers hair, you should consider the following steps:

1. Let Your Hair Grow

You cant have long surfers hair if your hair isn’t long. Before you begin thinking about the other steps, you need to begin growing your hair.

Growing your hair takes time and is often a frustrating process, but if you stick to it, you will be rewarded in the end.

Although it takes a long time to grow your hair, eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining a good sleep pattern, regularly exercising (or surfing), and cutting off the dead ends will all help speed up the process.

Furthermore, while your hair grows you will be able to expose it to the sun, which will mean it is already lighter by the time it reaches the length that you are after.

2. Add Some Salt Water

As we spoke about above, salt crystals in our hair act as tiny magnifying glasses which further expose our hair to the sunlight.

Of course, now that you are addicted to surfing you will likely always have some salt in your hair, but if you want to make sure it remains there, then using a saltwater spray could do the job.

3. Expose Your Hair to Sunlight

The more melatonin we have in our hair, the darker the pigment appears.

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As mentioned above, UV light breaks down this pigment, and over time results in lighter-looking hair.

The more time your hair spends in the sunlight, the lighter it will become.

That being said, if you have black hair you should not expect to end up with blonde hair, even if you spend your entire life in the sun, however, you will still notice how much lighter your hair is at the ends when compared to the roots.

4. Style Your Hair

Once your hair reaches close to the length you want it, you will want to get it styled and shaped.

Taking a reference picture to your stylist is the best way to ensure you get what you are looking for, however, make sure that you are realistic with what you are asking for.

If your hair is dead straight, don’t take a picture of someone with the curliest hair you have ever seen.

5. Keep The Salt Coming

Salt doesn’t only help the sun bleach our hair, but it dries it out and makes it appear more curly.

If you want surfer’s hair, and to maintain the look, then you will need to make sure that your hair has constant exposure to salt.

To do this you could simply surf a few times a week, or you could resort to using a saltwater spray, either homemade or bought from a store.

Can Anyone Grow Surfers Hair?

Anyone can grow their hair long and use the sun to lighten it up, but the unfortunate truth is that no matter how much time you spend in the sun, or how much salt is in your hair, if your hair is straight and dark, it won’t end up being bleach blonde with perfect wavy curls.

That being said, no matter what your hair type is, spending prolonged periods in the ocean will give your hair a rough surfer-like appearance.


In the past, surfer’s hair represented those that have removed themselves from society. Today, surfer’s hair is more of a style and is worn by surfers and non-surfers alike.

It is through extended exposure to saltwater and sunlight that promotes a surfer’s blonde, curly, and dry-looking hair, although there are products on the market that claim to do the same.

That being said, the only true way to get that surfer look is to begin surfing, and of course, grow your hair long as so many surfers do.

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