How To Get Sand Out Of Hair

How To Get Sand Out Of Your Hair (With And Without Water!)

No day of fun in the sun is complete without rinsing off all of that sand, salt, and — for the SPF enthusiasts — many layers of sunscreen. If you thought getting rid of sand stuck in your clothes was hard, though, just wait until you end up with a head full of it!

Of course, the best strategy for a stress-free trip to the beach or playground is to keep sand far away from your hair in the first place. But that doesn’t always work out as planned (especially with young kids!).

The good news is that getting sand out of hair can be done with little more than a bit of patience and products you already have. To make things easier on you and your scalp, however, we recommend following the tips below!

How To Wash Sand Out Of Hair

1. Shake it out — There’s no need to track all of that sand into your shower or bathtub. Before trying to wash the sand out of your hair, shake as much out as possible. This is especially important if your hair is dry, since adding water will cause the sand particles to clump together.

A soft-bristle brush may help dislodge even more sand than fingers alone.

2. Rinse, lather, and repeat — More often than not, your everyday shampoo is the best way to release sand from your hair and scalp. But it might take more than one try to remove all of the sand.

Be sure to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Consider coating the ends of your hair with conditioner as you work shampoo around your scalp. 

(Cowashes tend to work just as well for removing sand as traditional shampoos. So if you’re worried about stripping your hair with sulfates and other harsh chemicals, there’s no need!)

3. Use the right tools — Start by detangling dry hair with a wide-tooth comb. This will make it easier to access your entire head without forming knots. 

Once your hair is wet, move on to the finest comb your hair texture can handle to manually remove sand particles. We recommend using a small amount of conditioner to help the comb move through your hair.

How To Get Sand Out Of Thick Or Naturally Curly Hair

Young Girl With Naturally Curly Hair Buried In Sand

Instead of jumping in the shower, we recommend filling a bowl, sink, or bathtub with enough water to fully submerge your hair. The more space the hair has to move around the better.

Use your fingers to massage your scalp and hair. You can add a bit of moisturizing shampoo or light conditioner to the water for better lubrication. With time, the sand should loosen and fall to the bottom of the basin.

How To Get Sand Out Of Braids

Removing any and all loose sand before wetting the braids is essential. Use a brush to work sand particles away from the scalp and shake everything out.

Brit+Co also recommends rinsing your hair of any buildup before going in with a lathering shampoo. This ensures all of the sand on the surface is gone before tackling anything stuck within the braids themselves.

How To Get Sand Out Of Baby’s Hair

The best strategy for getting sand out of a baby or toddler’s hair ultimately depends on their hair type and style. Follow the same steps as you would for an adult’s hair but with gentler products and less pressure.

Be patient and pay attention to the child’s comfort as you work. Once the bulk of the sand is out, it’s better to take a break or even wait until the following day than to push them past their limit.

How To Get Sand Out Of Hair Without Water

Washing sand out of your hair is the most obvious solution for a reason — it works. But there are also plenty of reasons you may want to remove gritty sand particles without water.

Here are some of the top water-free methods worth trying:

Hair Dryer

Shaking your hair with your fingers can dislodge a surprising amount of trapped sand! It’s unlikely, however, to get rid of everything.

For more power, try using a hairdryer to blow the remaining sand out of your hair. A dryer with a cold air setting is ideal to avoid unnecessary heat damage.

Keep in mind that all of the sand that blows out of your hair must go somewhere. If possible, we recommend using this method outdoors. You can also stand in a dry shower stall to make cleaning up all of those loosened sand particles a bit easier (consider vacuuming the sand up instead of washing it down the drain).


If sand was tracked into your home, what would you use to clean it up off of the floors? You’d probably say a vacuum. Well, you can also use this home appliance to get leftover sand out of your locks.

For the best results, use a clean hose attachment. Gentle soap and water will remove any dust or buildup on your vacuum’s hose nozzle.

The stronger the suction the better… to an extent. Be sure to test your vacuum’s strength before applying it to your hair and scalp.

Baby Powder

One of the less obvious techniques for removing sand from hair is to sprinkle your head with baby powder. The theory is that baby powder coats the particles, preventing them from “grabbing” onto your hair, and/or absorbs excess moisture that may be making the sand extra-sticky.

Apply baby powder to completely dry hair. Anything else is a recipe for a goopy mess. Work the powder into your hair with your fingertips, focusing on areas where you can feel lots of sand.

Once the baby powder is thoroughly worked into your hair and scalp, you can continue on to washing your hair or using one of the other waterless methods mentioned above.

Tips To Remove Sand From Hair With Minimal Stress

Woman Stressed Out From Thinking How To Get Sand Out Of Hair
  • Before adding water, remove as much of the sand as possible. If you have relatively straight hair, then a wide-tooth comb and a bit of shaking can make a big difference. If you have thick or curly hair, then we suggest starting with one of the other waterless methods outlined below.
  • Household drains aren’t necessarily built to handle large quantities of sand. So removing as much sand as possible before getting in the bath is beneficial to both you and your home fixtures!
  • Employing the help of another can make locating and removing particularly stubborn grains of sand much easier. It can also save you from arm strain, since getting sand out of hair can be a laborious process!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will sand damage hair if not removed?

While there are many gentle techniques for removing sand from hair, most don’t get 100% of the grit out on the first try. Fortunately, leaving sand in your hair shouldn’t do any damage (it can, however, be uncomfortable).

So if it takes a few days to completely free your scalp of sand particles, there’s no need to fret!

How do you get salt out of hair?

Unlike sand which is mostly just annoying, sea salt can do a number on most hair types

Freshwater will get a lot of the salt out of your hair, so it’s a good idea to rinse your hair immediately even if you can’t properly wash it. Once you have a chance to bathe, follow your normal hair washing routine to remove the rest of the salt.

Since sea salt is very drying, consider adding a bit of extra moisture to your hair care routine to reverse some of the damage.