Score the perfect sand and sun look without going near the beach with our guide to creating beachy waves at home.
Beach waves are the ultimate carefree style. The mermaid look comes easy to some who look like walking hair product advertisements, but it gets harder to achieve when you are both far from the nearest body of water, and your ideal look means battling against your hair’s natural texture.
As far as hairstyles go, beachy waves is one of the most relaxed techniques to start to learn. You don’t need to be a ninja with a curling iron. Getting the perfect day-at-the-beach vibe means only a few subtle adjustments including what products you use and the order in which you use them.
Your hair doesn’t hold a curl, you say? Think again.
For a beach-to-anywhere look, you only need a few materials. We’ll show you how to get the perfect beach waves whether you have natural surf hair, or you have a challenge like:
- Fine hair
- Thick hair
- Curly hair
- Coarse hair
Let’s break it down step-by-step.
Prime Your Hair
Just like the natural salty look, beachy waves at home start with wet hair. You don’t need special shampoo and conditioner. Whatever you use naturally works.From here, you’re going to prep your hair with a mousse.
Don’t take the prep stage for granted. Applying mousse sets up your hair for the body you need to achieve the curls that transform into waves.
Although your hair is already damp after washing, beach hair isn’t clean. You want a firm mousse that will hold waves, but you also want to avoid something too sticky. A sticky mousse will get you beach waves, but you’ll get something closer to the 90s-era wet look, which you may not be after.
To avoid the greasy, wet look, avoid putting the mousse anywhere near your roots. Use a comb to make sure the mousse reaches your ends evenly.
If you have fine hair, you’ll want to go through this all again. Fine hair falls limp faster, so the extra round of mousse adds body for beachy waves rather than fresh-from-the-water hair.
Find the Perfect Priming Mousse for Your Hair
If you’ve got fine hair, then you know that mousse often requires a trade-off between volume and weight, which your hair doesn’t love.
Fine hair responds well to Nexxus Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam. It doesn’t weigh your hair down,but it still adds enough body to carry waves.
Thick and curly-haired people want a sticky mousse with plenty of hold that doesn’t carry the tag of being too heavy. We love OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Moisture Mousse. It’s perfect for those with thick, coarse, or curly hair because it combines a mousse with natural oils to moisturize as it creates hold. The product itself is heavy, but if you find the perfect amount (think less is more), it works wonder on hair. Its coconut scent is also a winner because it adds to the beach vibe.
Add Moisture for Coarse Hair
Mousse works hard for fine, thick, and curly hair, but if your mane is particularly coarse and frizzy,
You might need an extra step.
An extra dose of moisture will go a long way before adding texture.
A quick moisturizing oil, like argan oil, will make all the difference. The moisturizing oil (or cream) softens up your hair and gets it ready for the other products. Otherwise, coarse hair eats up added texture leaving you only with your natural feel.
Try the Moroccan Oil Treatment Oil or Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Replenishing Hair Milk to add a dose of moisture.
You may need to double your mousse as well. Depending on your length and thickness, you could use three to four pumps of mousse and an additional pump for the crown of your head. Keep it around the mid-section of your hair.
Remember that mousse isn’t a quick step. Avoid both scrunching and rough drying because you’ll end up with beehive-like volume and not much wave. If you prime well – with both moisturizer and mousse – you’ll get the wave you want once you add the texture, so be patient.
Create the Wave
With your hair prepped, you now have a choice between using heat or creating a natural wave without it.
No Heat Beach Waves
No heat beach waves aren’t always no-heat because the best results come from using a hair dryer, but you can section them off and let them air dry.
For a better curl, add mousse to your damp hair and then use clips to pin it up. Don’t worry about getting uniform sections. Just pin it up and let it dry. When you’re ready, remove the clips and tousle with your texture spray.
Don’t have clips? Scrunching works, too. Just add the mousse, scrunch, and finish with a texture spray.
Curling Iron Waves
If you have the time to use a curling wand and your hair needs some extra help to hold a curl, heat is a good idea. Anyone curling their hair with heat should prep with mousse and hold the texture spray. You’ll add this after you curl it.
With prepped hair, section your hair by clipping the two-thirds of it up and leaving the rest down.
Then, wrap sections of hair around the curling iron, twisting your hair as you wrap it for a tousled look. Vary the size of the sections to avoid a uniform look. Make sure you curl the front pieces last.
Once you make your way through the rest of your hair, add the texture spray by starting at the roots and tousle your hair to loosen the waves.
Are you curling or drying your hair? Don’t forget to use a heat protectant to keep your hair light and bouncy. We recommend Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray or the Matrix Biolage Thermal Active Heat Spray for general and curling iron protection.
Amp It Up with Texture
Adding texture transforms your mousse waves from the scrunchy curls you wore as a kid experimenting with products to a dynamic texture.
Texture spray is your best friend for creating the carefree I-woke-up-like-this look.
You’ll apply the texture section-by-section across your hair to add texture to your body. Spray from the roots down to your ends and give it a tousle before moving on. Resist speeding up the process with a quick scrunch. You’ll get a scrunched curl that will be hard to undo later.
The texture spray controls flyaways so that you can get the natural wave without looking disheveled.
Texture sprays have a place in many hair styles. If you want to go with an almost-authentic beach look, try out a texturizing spray that includes sea salt. Sea salt is a natural texturizer, which is what makes real beach waves look so good.
The trick is finding a spray that does more than add grit. You want to keep it touchable and avoid the matted look that can come with texture sprays and mousse. Folks with fine hair need some extra help because texture spray, like mousse, has the potential to weigh down your hair.
Best Beach Texture Sprays for All Hair Types
The best all-around texturizing spray is Verb’s Sea Texture Spray. It adds salt and grit, but rather than sitting heavy on your hair; it works more like a salty mist and dry shampoo to keep the box and addnatural texture.
For nighttime beachy waves, try the Captain Blankenship Golden Waves Sea Salt Shimmer Spray. It’s a premium product, but it gives you golden hour-like beach waves. It does shimmer and shine, but it won’t cover you head-to-toe in glitter. The shimmer captures the light perfectly and brings out the natural highlight in your hair for a perfectly sunkissed look.
If you need help on the volume front, try out the IGK Beach Club Texture Spray. It’s lightweight and uses wheat proteins instead of salt to avoid the weight of salt formulas. It keeps your hair flexible while still adding texture, which makes it great for fine hair.
Coarse or dry hair might benefit from the Herbivore Coconut + Sea Salt Beach Wave Mist. The coconut infusion and aloe water add moisture that tames flyaways and keeps your waves styled to the tune of the off-duty model rather than a shell-shocked surfer. We also like it because it adds extra texture. Herbivore’s formula includes a salinity that matches the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, for an all-around texture spray that also happens to pull double-duty, try out the cult favorite: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. It includes coconut water, fruit oils, a saltwater base, and UVA and UVB-protection. It creates waves that are tousle-friendly, soft, and protect your hair fromsun damage all at once.
Get a Beachy Look Without the Sand
Beachy waves make you look refreshed and ready without being too put together. The best part is that the look is truly low maintenance. Armed with the perfect mousse and a tropical texture spray, you can put together a look that goes from day to night and back again with little to no time or heat.
What’s your favorite trick for creating the perfect beachy wave? Share your favorite products and tips below.