Whether for the day or the season, it’s never easy for me to leave the beach. Which is why—in an effort to hold on to the beach as long as I can—I tend to avoid washing away my “beach hair” until it is absolutely necessary. I love the way my hair smells, looks, and feels after a day of sun, saltwater, and sand. I’m sorry if that sounds gross, but there it is.
Sadly, getting to the beach isn’t always convenient for a lot of people, and even when it is, sometimes washing away your salty ocean hair is simply unavoidable. Luckily, you can recreate those beach waves and reclaim that carefree look anytime.
My hair is naturally very straight and in the past I had trouble figuring out how to make it hold a wave. It was a constant struggle between not enough and too much product. After a good deal of experimentation I learned that less is more—less product, and when possible, less hair washing.
Normally, I use a curling iron to create waves in my hair but this style was created using a flat iron, which I am less skilled at using. Luckily, my Lexington salon, Atéa, has among its talented crew of stylists and colorists, the lovely Heather Moore who guided me through styling my hair in a beachy, mermaid-y, summer wave style that looks fresh from the sea and sand and somehow still polished enough for any type of summer gathering.
Remarkably easy and using only a couple of products, this style really is simple enough for anyone to achieve at home.
1. Start with dry hair. If you have very fine hair that has difficulty holding a curl, get a head start by using This is a Curl Moisturizing Mousse by Davines on your wet hair, then dry it. It will give your hair a fuller texture, add as much wave/curl as your hair will permit, and help the style hold.
2. Prep hair by spraying with a medium-hold hairspray. It’s best to use something lightweight. We used Davines’s This Is a Medium Hold Hairspray . Don’t overdo it with the spray. Just apply one light coat all over the top layer of your hair. If you have long hair (falling below the base of your neck) we will wave hair in two layers (so we’ll apply a light coat of spray on each layer).
Note: If you can only use one product, make it this hair spray. It will provide hold for the wave, and some body as well.
3. Create waves from small sections of hair and using a flat iron. If you are well skilled with making waves in your hair using a curling iron, that is fine, too. Use a 1- to 1 1/2-inch flat iron or a 1- to 1 1/4-inch curling iron. Take pieces about 1-inch wide and wrap loosely around the flat iron while continuing to rotate the iron down the length of the section.
As a general rule, wrap the sections away from your face. As you progress you can wrap a section in the opposite direction once every several sections. This way, the sections will avoid grouping together and give more fullness and movement to your hair.
If you have longer hair, repeat the process for the under layer of your hair, but use larger sections. You won’t need to wave as many sections—it’s really more about filling in the gaps. With a shorter, bob hairstyle, leave the under layer as is, as the ends will peek out.
You can see here how the waves fall.
4. Add texture with a texturizing spray. Using This is a Dry Texturizer we gave my hair an all-over coat or two. A spray like this one helps hold the waves and keep them somewhat separated, giving your hair body, texture, and great movement. This is what my hair looked like at this point (and there’s Heather behind me at every step!).
5. Pin up one section from each side of your face. How much you pin up is entirely up to you, but to create a beachy look I suggest loosely gathering no more than a 1-inch section of hair from the hair at your temples. Then pull the sections back and secure with the smallest and most unobtrusive hair fasteners you can use. We used bobby pins for blonde hair that are nearly invisible.
6. (Optional) Add something extra. Finally, we added a single braid to my style, positioning it so it would fall unobtrusively among the waves, Securing it with a clear hair elastic made the end magically disappear into my hair.
The braid adds a bit to the mermaid vibe, but even without it, these beachy waves are ready for any summer activity or event.
So there you have it. In about five steps you can look sea-swept anytime. From start to finish this achieving this took me about thirty to forty minutes. I’ll admit I still need some practice using a flat iron to make waves, so after doing this a few times I suspect I’ll shave a few minutes off my time (but honestly, thirty or forty minutes is still completely acceptable to me!)
I am always lucky to have Heather style my hair, and I am grateful she was able guide me through this styling process! I look forward to getting more of her input and direction and sharing it here. In the meantime, you can still look like you’ve come from the beach, even when you’re landlocked!