Easy Methods for Achieving Beachy Waves

Every hairstyle has its moment: in my 28 short years on this planet I’ve seen bowl cuts, mullets, perms, stripey highlights, and far too many results of an at-home bang cutting session. But if I had to name one style that I’ve seen the most consistently across salon Instagram accounts, subway stations and my own bathroom mirror, it would probably be the beach wave. 

And honestly, that’s the beauty of beach waves — the style is almost universally flattering, bringing life to different hair styles and textures from blunt bobs, to long, curly hair. And since most people aren’t looking to spend hours getting ready in the morning or invest in a look that requires a lot of upkeep, beach waves are a fast, low-maintenance investment. 


So for those of us who don’t have access to saltwater and sunshine year-round, we have several easy tutorials for hairstyles that let you score beach waves of your own. 

Different methods for achieving beach waves:

Method #1: Air Drying

Woke up late? Or, most likely, you just really don’t feel like spending a lot of time on your hair today? Don’t panic, breezy beach waves are still well within your reach. As we learned with our article on how to reduce frizz, the first thing you need to do is prep your hair with the right products. Then the majority of this tutorial is letting your hair dry-style itself, no heat required. Follow these steps to get beautiful waves of your own.

  1. Wash your hair with a smoothing shampoo and moisturizing conditioner. This will help ensure that your hair is protected against the frizz that can sometimes come from air drying your hair. 
  2. If you tend to have fine or limp hair, you have the optional step of preparing your towel-dried strands with a volume-boosting mousse for added volume. 
  3. Allow your hair to air dry slightly, then spritz it with a sea salt beach hair spray and let it dry completely. 
  4. If you’re still noticing a little frizz after your hair dries, or just want extra control, apply an anti-frizz serum to your hands and run it over the surface of your hair.

Photo by @tarmarz

Method #2: Heatless Overnight Waves

This tutorial comes to us from Tara Marzuki, who has become known for her signature heatless “heartless waves.” Cute name aside, this routine quickly became a personal favorite of mine for several reasons: you only need a few products, the styling steps are super easy, and most importantly, 90% of the setting time is spent sleeping. Who doesn’t want to wind down with an easy bedtime beauty routine, then wake up to beautiful, beachy waves? Here’s how Tara gets this effortlessly cool look:

  1. Just like with the air drying tutorial, Tara recommends using a smoothing shampoo and conditioner to ensure your strands are hydrated and prepped for an overnight style. 
  2. After towel-drying and combing your hair, apply a texturizing serum throughout. 
  3. Divide your hair into two sections, and wrap it into two twisted braids. I’d recommend watching Tara’s tutorial below to see exactly how she does it. 
  4. After a good night’s sleep, gently take your hair out of the braids. And just like the previous tutorial, consider running a light hair oil over the surface in case there’s any stray frizz from your tossing and turning.

Method #3: Curling Iron

The big difference between beachy waves and what I would describe as “American Girl doll ringlets” is texture. So even though we’ll be using a curling iron to achieve these loose waves, the right products, application and finishing touch will make all the difference in how your hair ends up. This look is a modified version of one of our favorite holiday party hair tutorials, and is perfect for an every day, effortless look.

  1. After shampooing, conditioning and towel-dry your hair to prep for heat styling. Or if you’ve washed your hair recently, learn how to use dry shampoo to get a volumized clean without water. 
  2. Apply a detangling, heat-protectant hair milk spray and volume-boosting mousse to your damp hair, combing through to evenly distribute. 
  3. After blow drying your hair, here’s an optional step for finer hair: apply a volumizing powder to instantly boost volume at the roots. 
  4. Start curling from the back to the front: begin by wrapping a small section (about 1 inch) away from your face, remembering to leave the ends out of the curling iron. Continue until all sections are finished. 
  5. To add dimension (and to keep the hair from looking too uniform), re-curl several pieces of hair around your head going in the opposite direction from the rest. 
  6. Finish the look with either a sea salt spray or texturizing spray for fine hair, and hairspray if needed.

how to get beach waves Davines

Method #4: Flat Iron

As someone who, embarrassingly, never really got the hang of using a curling iron, I’ve figured out how to make a flat iron work for a ton of different hair styles. So when I want to heat style my hair, glossy, beachy waves are my usual go-to — and they’re easily achievable with a flat iron!

  1. Prep your hair with the same detangling and heat-protecting products you would use for the curling iron tutorial, and blow dry as usual. 
  2. Working from the back to the front of your hair in even sections (I personally pull half-up, half down to begin), start by making 1-inch sections of your hair into “S” shapes. 
  3. Holding the shape in your hand, just lightly tap the straightener over your hair to set the style. Continue this until all of the hair is styled — this should create loose, natural looking waves, but you can also gently break some apart with your fingers if they’re looking too similar. 
  4. Finish the look with either a sea salt spray or texturizing spray, as before. 
  5. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of “you need to tell me how you did your hair” questions, most likely daily.

You don’t need to be a skilled stylist or surfer to get beautiful beach waves: depending on your hair type and personal style preference, try one of these easy tutorials to get these covetable, casual curls. Make sure that your hair is prepped with the right products — if you’re air drying, use ones that are anti-frizz and hydrating, and if you’re heat styling you’ll always need a protecting spray first. When it comes to styling, sea salt and texturizing sprays are the perfect tools to recreate the look of a day at the beach (minus the sand and seagulls flocking for your food). Whichever tutorial you choose to follow, and whether you’re working with short hair or long, textured cuts, we foresee many beachy hair days ahead.

By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor 

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