Beach Hair: 8 Steps to Getting That Look
The long, tousled waves of beach hair are the it-look for the season – and you don’t have to swim in saltwater to get them.
If you can’t get to the beach this summer, you can bring the beach to your hair. Here are 8 steps to getting that beachy-wave look without the ocean.
1. Salt Texture Spray
When it comes to amplifying your natural waves, nothing builds a better beach hair foundation than salt texture spray.
And, according to beauty editor Megan Cahn, building a foundation for beachy waves is one of the most important parts of mastering this style.
“Much like the no-makeup makeup look, if there isn’t a massive body of saltwater on hand, achieving this style actually takes some effort,” writes Cahn at Refinery29, referring to the amount of prep needed to achieve the look.
If you have naturally wavy hair, a texture spray will help give you more definition and that signature tousled pieciness. If you have fine or straight hair, you should build up your foundation with a texturizing mousse on damp hair.
“Start by scrunching a texturizing mousse through your damp strands, and then rough-dry with a blowdryer,” advises Cahn.
Have really thick, coarse, or frizzy hair? You’ll need more help reining things in, says stylist Coby Alcantar.
If all else fails, you can always do what stylist Ward Stegerhoek did for a 2013 photoshoot for Sports Illustrated: fill a spray bottle with actual sea water.
“The salt crystallizes and gives both texture and volume, and it’s softer than the products out there,” Stegerhoek told The New York Times.
Talk about a signature product!
2. Grab Your Diffuser
“This is not the desired end result, but it preps the hair for what’s to come and creates a foundation for keeping the hair’s natural bounce,” Cahn writes at Elle.
Some stylists will even curl sections of hair within the bowl of the diffuser itself, letting a blast of warm air work its magic.
According to Vogue, the diffuser can also be a great way to speed up your air dry, especially if you’ve put your hair in sectioned curls or buns.
3. Section, Section, Section
If you have straight hair, beach waves will need to be coaxed from your locks section by section.
To start the process, divide your hair into four or more sections, securing each with a clip. Piece by piece, curl the sections with a curling iron, then tousle with your fingers to loosen the curls.
If you have naturally curly or wavy hair, section your hair into small coils or buns and let air dry overnight.
Instead of tightly coiled curls, you should see loose waves in the morning – just as if you’d been to the beach.
According to Good Housekeeping, you can fast track this process by putting your hair in a ponytail – one big section, as it were – and curling the strands.
“One of beach waves’ key features is that they begin about halfway down your hair — which makes pulling hair into a ponytail, and curling just the tied section, the perfect method,” explain beauty editors Sam Escobar and Sarah Schreiber.
“Plus, it’s easier to keep track of what pieces you’ve curled (versus those you haven’t) when your strands are gathered in one place,” they add.
4. More About Curling Iron Magic
If you already have naturally wavy hair, you’re in luck. This means you really only need to add tousled definition to achieve beach hair.
“After spraying your hair with a heat protectant spray, take a 1- or 2-in section of hair and wrap it around the wand,” suggests Cosmopolitan’s Brooke Shunatona.
“Be sure to twist the hair as you wrap it – this gives an undone look to your strands when you unravel them — leaving the ends uncurled,” she adds.
One stylist trick we love? Using your curling iron in the opposite direction to add more definition.
“You want to break the line up so it doesn’t look too perfect, but if you start out doing it messy, it might look too haphazard,” stylist Harry Josh explained to Elle. “It’s best to do it well and then destroy it.”
Josh is the mastermind behind supermodel Gisele Bündchen’s look, so the man knows his beach hair!
5. Twist It Out
This slightly unorthodox approach could be a good quick fix for naturally curly or wavy-haired women.
According to Good Housekeeping, you can twist hair into two long ropes, carefully using a flat iron to heat sections of your twists. This should create the long, loose waves that make beach hair so distinctive.
As when using any heated styling tool, remember that it’s easy to go overboard and damage your hair accidentally.
Be sure to use a heat protection spray, and to double check the temperature on your flat iron, before you start styling.
“Most hair tools don’t go above 450 degrees, but each person has a unique hair texture which affects the temperature at which tools should be used,” Jazmin Brunson, the brand manager for Sedu, explained to StyleCaster.
She recommends keeping your tools closer to 360 degrees but warns that you may have to turn it down even further.
Feeling good about your flat iron? Then check out this tutorial from Kérastase.
6. Overnight Glam
If you’re more of a wash-and-wear kind of gal, this strategy is right up your alley.
Rather than spending tons of time using products and diffusing your hair, braid or twist slightly damp hair and let set overnight.
“With a few strategically placed buns (two at the nape of your neck), you can air dry your way to a Malibu look,” write Escobar and Schreiber at Good Housekeeping. “Just twist, pin and wait it out. That’s it.”
This is perfect for women who already have curly hair, says stylist Lizzy Weinberg.
“When you take it down in the morning, it will be like 90% dry,” Weinberg told Refinery29. “So, when it air-dries it just fills out and gives you perfect, ’70s-rocker hair.”
7. Hair Help: Dealing with Fine or Straight Hair
The one drawback to beach hair is that it can be difficult to coax out of very fine – or pin-straight – hair.
Alcantar says women with straight hair can face the same issues as women with fine hair – but they can usually handle using more product.
“You need to help it along since it’s not there naturally,” Alcantar emphasized.
Remember: that’s where the curling iron comes in.
8. Hair Help: Dealing with Thick or Frizzy Hair
When you have thick or frizzy hair, all that extra moisture can get in the way of creating long, loose waves.
“With thicker hair, you want less volume at the roots and more drama in the mid-sections,” explains Weinberg at Refinery29.
Usually a smoothing coconut oil, serum, or leave-in conditioner can do the trick, helping to eliminate frizz around the crown and give your hair more definition.
After sectioning or braiding hair, Weinberg also suggests finishing with a light pomade to keep your hair in check.
Whether you plan on spending all summer at the beach or just want to get this season’s hottest look, beachy waves are just a texturizing spray away.