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The Beach Girls

By Amalah

Dear Amy Amalalala,
How the chuffing hell do you use this Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray stuff?
Everyone says it’s really good and I totally want beachy hair. I even like my hair when it rains because it goes all wavy and bouncy (am I weird?).
Anyway, I bought some Surf Spray and it makes my hair go crunchy. I didn’t even spray that much on but it still dries all funny and makes me look like I have a tragic 80’s perm which is growing out my ends are all frizzy and my roots are all flat. My hair is dead fine and wavy, this stuff should be the dogs right?
What is going on?
What am I doing wrong??

surf.jpgWhile I completely adore the Surf Spray, I admit it’s not the easiest product to work with sometimes. The whole point of the product is to add a bit of “grit” to your hair, aping that salt-and-sand crazy flyaway look you get at the beach. Soft silky waves and curls are just not what it’s going for. So basically: Yep. Your hair is going to feel a wee bit stiff when you use it.
But! For hair like mine, (fine, barely wavy, oily roots that require daily shampooing but dry ends that look better when dirty, like arrrrrgh) I am willing to trade off some silkiness for the look I can achieve with the Surf Spray.
And! There is a trick to the application to keep you away from tragic 80’s perm levels of crunchiness, which is a clear sign of overapplication of the product.
First, I like to wait until my hair is only slightly damp, bordering on dry. Using the Spray on soaking wet hair seems to dull the effects, which might tempt you into trying a second application, which equals Too Much Product. So I leave my hair wrapped in a towel for as long as possible.
Second, and this is probably where you went wrong, I DO NOT spray it directly on my hair. I spritz it onto my palms, and then work it through my hair from the ends up in a scrunching-type motion. I found that spraying the product directly onto my hair was too easy to screw up — I always got some on my roots (bad!) or ended up with too much grit on my top layers (also bad!) and poker-straight bottom layers (badbad!). I use about two pumps’ worth per side of my head (right side, left side, back), and then scrunch two or three times, making sure to stay at least a couple inches away from my roots.
This is me, uh, scrunching. And stuff.
Third, I wash my hands and continue to give my hair an occasional scrunch as it dries completely. Surf Spray is not a firm-hold type of product, so a little extra styling helps coax your hair into staying in the wavy formation. If you notice any patches of stiff crunchiness (I always seem to get one right above my left ear, for some reason), you can work out the extra product without completely undoing the style by kind of….just…poking at it with a wide-tooth comb. (Like this one, for example, although I’m probably describing a technique more suited to a pick, but we’re trying to avoid all Tragic 80’s Hair references here.) I also use that comb to lift my roots, since yes, adding grit does add weight to your hair. (You can offset this by using a root lift or other volumizing product on your roots before applying the Surf Spray.)
Now, I road-tested this technique one more time this morning, just before writing my response, and I’ve been kind of obsessively grabbing at and touching my hair the whole time, trying to get an objective sense on the crunchy factor. And I have to say, my hair feels pretty damn soft, actually. Softer than it has in the past when I’ve used the Surf Spray, but this morning I was being extra careful and deliberate, right down to the proper number of spritzes. So I think this reinforces the idea that proper application is EVERYTHING when it comes to this stuff.
Beachy tousled waves or bad 80’s hair? You decide.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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