It's nice to dream about those I-just-left-the-beach-and-there's-still-salt-in-my-hair waves, that's not your reality right now. Beach waves come in handy (opens in new tab) when you're on day.. I don't know...12 of not washing your hair (you've lost count at this point) and need a quick fix fast. Some of the best beachy waves hairstyles don't look like (opens in new tab) you tried hard at all, although some certainly do require just a little maintenance. But have no fear—we'll tell you exactly how to make them work.
There's beauty in the versatility of tousled, undone, messy waves; they're the prefect hybrid between effortless and cool, which is why you see them everywhere. From the red carpet to real life, beachy waves are always appropriate. No matter your length or texture, bangs or not, the soft, textured waves just work. The best part: You can literally wear waves for days on end, and they start to look even better once they're worn in. It's a style that lasts—so if you're feeling lazy (which we really all are right now), waves are your friends. Here, celebrity stylists share their techniques on how to get those bombshell beachy waves you want, and a few gorgeous ways to wear waves to get you started.
Chrissy Teigen's Classic Beach Waves
Chrissy and her glossy tousled waves have always suited her well—it's one of her signature styles on the red carpet. Adding gradual highlights adds dimension to your waves.
Celeb stylist Jen Atkin shares her trick for this tousled look: "One of my favorite tricks for styling hair is ‘the clip trick," Atkin explains. "This is an easy, no-fuss way to get incredible natural-looking waves. Spray damp hair generously with wave spray then use duck bill clips to create a dent in the hair, pushing the hair up at the root, then clipping into place, pushing the hair up underneath it, and clipping into place until the entire head has been clipped and the hair is in an S-pattern. Let your hair air dry or blow-dry over the clips. Then, remove the clips, scrunch and you’ve got beach waves."
Bella Hadid's Voluminous Waves
If you naturally have fine hair, like supermodel Bella Hadid, beachy waves are a great way to trick the eye with volume.
Celebrity stylist and co-founder of R+Co, Garren, recommends latheringthe brand's soft wave spray to breathe life into limp hair. "After you shampoo and condition your hair, that’s when I would apply the product," Garren suggests. "For fine and straight hair, form the waves with your hands with a wide-tooth comb and caress it with a diffuser to help dry the hair a little quicker.”
Rihanna's Half-Up Half-Down Waves
Pull half of your waves up into a high pony for a style that's equal parts fun and playful. Especially with a side of slicked baby hair, which is something Rihanna always gets so right. Once your hair is secured into a pony, take a curling iron through a few sections of your hair. Uniformity is unnecessary with beachy waves, so you don't need to curl your whole head of hair.
Lucy Boynton's Blunt, Wavy Bob
Actress Lucy Boynton's blunt bob proves how versatile effortless waves look at any length. A tousled texture adds a level of coolness to your cut. To extend this style, be sure to apply volume mousse, which is celebrity stylist Tyler Laswell's (opens in new tab) go-to technique to prep the hair for fab beach waves.
Zendaya's Slicked-Back Pony
Sleekness and waves can't co-exist...said no one ever. Zendaya's slicked-back low ponytail comes with a wow factor: massive texture. I'm so here for it—it adds such a surprising element to her sleek style. Lots of hairspray is needed to tease this pony to perfection.
Lana Condor's Piece-y Black Bob With A Hint of Color
If you look closely, you can see Lana Condor snuck in purple clip-ins on her bob, which works so well with this fun style if you want to experiment with temporary color. She went for soft waves to add a bit of shape and structure to this blunt cut. That, shine, though, is everything.
Emily Ratajkowski's Baby Bangs Paired With Beachy Waves
Does this picture make you want micro bangs right now? Same. The composition of her bangs, layers, and waves frame her face so beautifully. To recreate this style, Laswell suggests using your fingers and taking small to medium-size sections of your hair and stretching it from the root to create natural volume. "After blow-drying, take 1-inch thick, by 3-inches wide sections of your hair, and gently clamp with a flat-iron. Then flat-rock it back and forth with your wrist as you pull down the hair shaft," Laswell explains.
Ciara's Loose, Shaggy Waves
When it comes to waves, perfect definition is the last thing you want. Like Ciara, embrace shaggy, undone waves by taking a flat-iron, starting from the root to tip alternate the iron from left to right to create a soft bend. Then, after your waves have cooled for a few minutes, take a wide-tooth comb and rake it through your hair for this effortless finished look.
Kat Mara's Short, Wispy Waves
Who says beachy waves only belong on long hair? Take Kate Mara's cool-girl cut, for example. Edge up a heavy bang by adding a few lifted waves. For long-lasting volume, hold texture spray two inches away from your hair and spritz a generous amount for added shine without the crunch, thanks to the glycerin and wheat protein in its formula.
Demi Lovato's Voluminous Side Part
Bobs get a lifting boost when you create an off-center part. A dry volume spray like this one (opens in new tab) can add height without the bulk or crunchiness of some hairsprays.
Lili Reinhart's Center Part
If you have fine hair that you haven't had a chance to wash in a day or two, take a leaf out of Lili Reinhart's book and plump up your roots with hairspray while adding a little texture to the ends.
Gabrielle Union's Picture Perfect Bends
Gabrielle Union looks like a walking goddess with these waves, which are on the tighter, more defined end of texture. The best thing about waves like this is they last, so you'll have waves for days. Soon, these waves will loosen and fall, revealing a messier texture you'll still want to rock. Part your hair into sections and use a tapered styling wand for this spiral s-wave effect.
Shay Mitchell's Windswept Waves
An easy way to get tons of texture without styling tools is by twisting, braiding, or pulling your hair back into a twisted bun. Work with your texture, not against it. Don't get frustrated, though, this may take trial and error, so be patient with yourself. As you braid, twist, or wrap your hair into a bun, a wave cream into your hair to assist along the way. Let this protective style sit for a while, and sleep on it if you can for the best results. You'll wake up to the most natural looking waves.
Kristen Stewart's Chic, Choppy Bob
Do you have a hair pomade laying around? Slick one side of your lob down, and amp up the other side with I-woke-up-like this waves for that "IDGAF I'm cute" look. If you need inspo, Kristen Stewart is serving per usual.
Laura Harrier's Old Hollywood Waves
To give your beach waves a classic feel, go the Old Hollywood route like Laura Harrier. It instantly dresses up your waves with a more glamorous treatment, if that's the look you're going for. Take medium-size sections of your hair, then use a large barrel curling iron, and curl it towards your face. Finish off with pin curls using clips to lock your waves in place.
Jennifer Lawrence's Effortless Bun
All other low bun lewks can go home now, Jennifer Lawrence wins. Last summer, Lawrence pulled this off at the premiere of Fox's Dark Phoenix and turned heads (at least mine) when she stunned on the red carpet rocking this style. Low buns are inherently low maintenance, but when paired with waves, it's taken to the next-level. Part your hair down the middle and leave face-framing strands down in the front, pulling the rest back. Add a bit of texturizing spray then you're out the door.
Gisele Bundchen's Shaggy (and Sassy) High Pony
You're welcome: another no-fuss style at your service brought to you by Gisele Bundchen. It's no surprise that a legendary supermodel wears bombshell beach waves well. But Bundchen's 2017 Met Gala beauty look was unexpected and fun. She simply swept up her waves into a mid-level ponytail, adding a super subtle bouffant for volume. Add volume spray for good measure. This is all the proof that this lived-in look is red carpet worthy.
Kerry Washington's Wavy Pony Paired With Wispy Bangs
Everyone wants to feel as fierce as Kerry Washington looks in this photo (that bone structure, though). The good news is you can—just get wispy fringe bangs and style them with a wavy ponytail. Don't want to commit to cutting your bangs? No problem: clip-in bangs do exist and you'll trick everyone into thinking they're real, which is probably what Washington is wearing on this red carpet. Try the below top-rated clip-in bangs on Amazon to see what all the hype is about.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
SUBSCRIBE HERE (opens in new tab)
Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
Eyeshadow Sticks Are a Makeup Beginner's Best Friend
Rich, lasting color with a single swipe.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The Spring 2023 Color Trend Report
Yup, hot pink makes an appearance.
By Emma Childs
Ashton Kutcher Was "F***ing Pissed" When Ex Demi Moore's Memoir Came Out
She made a lot of revelations about him.
By Iris Goldsztajn
How Often You Should Wash Your Hair, According To Experts
Keep it fresh, my friends.
By Gabrielle Ulubay
The 11 Best Magnetic Lashes of 2023
Go ahead and kiss your messy lash glue goodbye.
By Hana Hong
The 25 Best Hair Growth Shampoos of 2023, According to Experts
Rapunzel-like hair, coming right up.
By Gabrielle Ulubay
The 23 Best Beauty Advent Calendars of 2023
The gift that keeps on giving—literally.
By Julia Marzovilla
The 18 Best Natural Hair Products in 2023
Remember: Your curls are your crown.
By Gabrielle Ulubay
The 9 Best Hot Rollers for the Curls of Your Dreams
This is how we roll.
By Samantha Holender
The 12 Best Cream Eyeshadows, According to Makeup Artists
The best part? They’re so easy to apply.
By Samantha Holender
The 17 Best Sea Salt Sprays for Beach Waves
Perfect vacation hair with these fake-it-'til-you-make-it products.
By Gabrielle Ulubay