Although it's nice to dream about those I-just-left-the-beach-and-there's-still salt-in-my-hair waves, that's not reality. (Vacay, where you at?) Beach waves usually come in handy when you're on day...I don't know...12 (you've lost count at this point) of not washing your hair and need a quick fix fast. Some of the best hair looks don't look like you tried hard at all (although waves certainly do require maintenance—a catch-22). There's beauty in the versatility of tousled, undone, messy waves because 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.
Here, coveted celebrity stylists share their techniques on how to get those bombshell beachy waves you want, and a few gorgeous ways to wear waves for all hair textures to get you started.
When it comes to waves, perfect definition is the last thing you want. Like Ciara, embrace shaggy, undone waves by taking a flat-iron, like Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Digital Straightening Iron ($100), 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.
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 T3 Single Pass Wave Iron ($160) 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.
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 OUAI Wave Spray ($26), then use duckbill clips ($16) 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."
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 lathering R+Co Sail Soft Wave Spray ($29) 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.”
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, like Verb Sea Spray ($16), is needed to tease this pony to perfection.
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 TRESemmé Beauty Full Volume Hair Mousse ($8), which is celebrity stylist Tyler Laswell's go-to technique to prep the hair for fab beach waves. "This is my favorite mousse for this look because it gives soft volume and touchable hold," he says.
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. "Finish by spritzing TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hair Spray Hold Level 3: Boost ($5) all over and brush through with your fingers. This hairspray is my go-to for this look because it continues the vibe of touchable hold."
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. Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray will deliver similar results ($42).
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 IGK Beach Club Texture Spray ($29) 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.
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 the Bed Head Curlipop Tourmaline Ceramic Tapered Styling Iron ($25) for this spiral s-wave effect.
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, massage Devacurl Wave Maker Touchable Texture Whip ($26) 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.
Do you have a hair pomade like Ouai Finishing Crème ($24) 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.
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