The 5 Easiest, Prettiest Hair Tutorials You’ll Ever Try

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The 5 Easiest, Prettiest Hair Tutorials You’ll Ever Try
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Photo: Tory Rust

You know those girls who just seem to have their shit together at all times? Like, the women who walk off red-eye flights with perfectly mussed-up beachy waves, looking like they just took a seven-hour nap on the beaches of Tulum, or the girls at the gym with impossibly pretty topknots and braids that you’re pretty positive they threw together in 30 seconds? Yeah, well we have one question for them: how? No, seriously, how?! How in the hell do you have such a mastery over basic hairstyles, when we’re stuck here trying to keep our ponytail from sliding out by noon?

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Welp, as it turns out, they’re all a bunch of secret wizards, and we’re actually living in a Harry Potter wonderland. OK, not really, but #dreams, right? Still, even if you’re missing the extra hair chromosome that allows you to intrinsically know how to operate a curling iron or round brush, it doesn’t mean you, too, can’t look like a beach-sleeping hair pro.

And to prove it, we got actual hair wizard Jasmine Santiago to show us how to create five super-pretty, yet surprisingly easy, hairstyles, with very little skill needed. We’re talkin’ beachy waves, Victoria’s Secret-level bedhead hair, fishtail braids, and messy buns, all broken down in simple, beginner-style gifs. So to get started, click through the tutorials below, and be prepared to have strangers in the airport staring enviously at you.

Photographer: Tory Rust
Model:  Olga with MSA Models
Makeup: Ashleigh Ciucci
Hair: Jasmine Santiago

MORE: How to Apply Liquid Liner in 3 Ridiculously Easy Steps

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HOW TO: Curl your hair
HOW TO: Curl your hair
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Curl it back
STEP 1: Curl it back

Pretty self-explanatory step, but hey. Starting with the face-framing layers near your hairline, wind a two-inch section of hair around a one-inch curling iron (without clamping down), like the Hot Tools Multi-Heat Control, or a curling wand, like the Remington Ceramic Pearl, twisting the hair in the direction away from your face. Hold for five seconds, then slip the iron out of the curl, before quickly wrapping the curl around your fingers to softly define it.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Curl it forward
STEP 2: Curl it forward

The key to natural-looking curls is making sure you alternate the direction in which you twist each section. So after curling the front piece away from your face, pick up the two-inch section next to it and twist it around the wand towards your face. Hold for five seconds, then release and re-wrap around your fingers. Continue alternating directions around your head until all pieces are curled.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Add some texture
STEP 3: Add some texture

To keep curls from falling limp or poofing out after a few hours, lift and spritz sections with a texturizing spray (if you want a soft, matte, volumized finish), or a lightweight finishing spray (if you want a shinier, more-defined finish). Rake through the curls with your fingers—don't worry about being gentle; softer curls look more natural—as you spray, and remember: Less is more.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast, $29; at Living Proof

2. Garnier Fructis Dry Touch Texture Tease Spray, $4.29; at Garnier Fructis

3. Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish, $31; at Bumble and Bumble

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Do a messy topknot
HOW TO: Do a messy topknot
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Bring it up
STEP 1: Bring it up

In one swoop, scoop all of your hair straight up with both hands—no combs, no smoothing out any bumps, no perfectionism—and twist the hair into a bun. Here's where the trick comes in, though: Rather than just coiling your hair around itself to form a bun, wrap the hair around a few of your fingers (watch Santiago's left hand in the gif), leaving the ends free, then slip your fingers out and press the bun against your head.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Secure it
STEP 2: Secure it

Hold the bun with one hand, then stretch a hair tie over the entire bun with your other hand hand, twisting and wrapping the tie until it feels secure. If your bun feels a bit too floppy, slip a few bobby pins into the edges of the bun to lock it in place.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Mess it up
STEP 3: Mess it up

Just a little bit—we promise. Hold your bun in place to stabilize it, then gently tug at the crown of your hair for volume and pull at the short layers around your face and at the nape of your neck. If your bun looks too small and wimpy, lightly pull at the edges until it fattens up, then pin the bun in place so it doesn't fall.

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Fishtail braid
HOW TO: Fishtail braid
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Divide and cross
STEP 1: Divide and cross

OK, deep breaths—we promise this isn't as difficult as it looks. The fishtail braid is just like a normal three-strand braid, where you're constantly pulling outside pieces inwards, towards the middle of the braid. But instead of three sections, you've got two. To start, divide your hair in half, gripping both sections in each hand. Then, with your index finger, pull a half-inch piece of hair from the outside of the left section and cross it over, nestling it on the inside of the right section. Repeat on the other side, pulling a piece of hair from the outside of the right section and crossing it over to the inside of the left section.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Keep on braiding
STEP 2: Keep on braiding

Continue the pulling and crossing (it's OK if it gets a bit messy—you're going to muss it up soon anyway) until you reach the final few inches of hair, then tie off the braid with a clear elastic.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Fatten it up
STEP 3: Fatten it up

To take your fishtail from elementary-school playground to holy-wow-your-hair-looks-hot, blast the entire braid with texturizing spray (less isn't more, here), then gently tug at the edges of the braid from bottom to top until it's loose and full of volume.

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Get big, messy, voluminous hair
HOW TO: Get big, messy, voluminous hair
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Roll it out
STEP 1: Roll it out

Surprise! Hot rollers weren't just for your mom in the '80s—they're also truly one the of best ways to get bouncy, Victoria's Secret-level volume that seriously lasts. To start, brush through your hair (if you have curls, blow them out or lightly straighten them, first), then section off a three-inch chunk of hair at your roots. Lift the hair up and pull it forward at an angle, then place a heated roller underneath the ends and roll it down, securing the roller against your scalp with the included clip. Repeat with the front sections of hair on either side of your part, then continue with the rest of your hair.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers Luxe, $119; at T3

2. Conair Jumbo Roller Instant Roller Heat Setter, $34; at Ulta

3. Remington H9096 Silk Ceramic Heated Clip Setter, $34; at Walmart

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Wait
STEP 2: Wait

Taking your rollers out too soon is the enemy of volume and happiness. Seriously—wait until your rollers (not just your hair, but the actual rollers) are totally, 100-percent cold before unrolling them.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Unravel
STEP 3: Unravel

Now for the fun part: The big reveal. Starting with the last roller you rolled, remove the clip and gently unravel the hair. Continue unclipping and unrolling, letting your curls hang loose and untouched.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 4: Add some texture
STEP 4: Add some texture

To keep your volume from deflating by the end of the hour, you'll need to add some grip and texture to your (now) ridiculously soft hair. Blast your hair from root to tip with a veil of texturizing spray, then gently brush through your curls with a paddle brush, like the EcoTools Smoothing Detangler Brush, until your hair is soft and bouncy.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast, $29; at Living Proof

2. Garnier Fructis Dry Touch Texture Tease Spray, $4.29; at Garnier Fructis

3. Not Your Mother's Double Take Dry Finish Texture Spray, $6; at Target

Photo: Tory Rust
HOW TO: Get beachy waves
HOW TO: Get beachy waves
Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 1: Get some grit
STEP 1: Get some grit

After towel-drying your wet hair—or, better yet, just squeezing it with a t-shirt to reduce frizz—spritz a sea-salt or wave spray all over, from root to tip, then rake your fingers through your hair to distribute the product.

PRODUCTS TO TRY:

1. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, $27; at Bumble and Bumble

2. Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray, $5; at Target

3. Ouai Wave Spray, $26; at Ouai

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 2: Diffuse for extra texture
STEP 2: Diffuse for extra texture

Unless your hair naturally dries in mermaid-like waves—in which case good for you, now go away–you'll need to diffuse it to bring out some waves and texture. Lightly twist and plop sections of hair into the bowl of the diffuser (keep the heat and air flow on medium) until hair is about 75-percent dry, then remove from heat and let the rest air-dry to prevent flyaways or poofing.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Curl it back
STEP 3: Curl it back

Starting with the face-framing layers near your hairline, wrap a three-inch section of hair around a one-and-a-half-inch curling wand, like the Remington Ceramic Pearl, twisting the hair in the direction away from your face. Hold for five seconds, then unravel, tugging on the hair to loosen the curl before it cools.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 3: Curl it forward
STEP 3: Curl it forward

The trick to natural-looking waves and curls is to make sure you alternate the direction in which you curl each section. So after curling the front piece away from your face, pick up the two-inch section next to it and twist it around the wand towards your face. Hold for five seconds, then release and tug. Continue alternating directions around your hair until all pieces are curled.

Photo: Tory Rust
STEP 4: Deconstruct it
STEP 4: Deconstruct it

Now's the fun—or possibly anxiety-producing, depending on your personality—part: Mess it up. Beachy waves should look imperfect and accidental, which means you don't want to see any distinct curls by the time you're finished. Rake through the waves with your fingers, and, if you want more piece-y texture, blast the roots with a texturizing spray (like IGK Beach Club Spray) for volume, and lightly mist the lower-lengths of hair with a lightweight, hydrating sea-salt spray, like Herbivore Coconut + Sea Water Hair Mist. Let dry, then scrunch, shake, and let your inner "OC" kid feel vindicated.

Photo: Tory Rust
  • HOW TO: Curl your hair
  • STEP 1: Curl it back
  • STEP 2: Curl it forward
  • STEP 3: Add some texture
  • HOW TO: Do a messy topknot
  • STEP 1: Bring it up
  • STEP 2: Secure it
  • STEP 3: Mess it up
  • HOW TO: Fishtail braid
  • STEP 1: Divide and cross
  • STEP 2: Keep on braiding
  • STEP 3: Fatten it up
  • HOW TO: Get big, messy, voluminous hair
  • STEP 1: Roll it out
  • STEP 2: Wait
  • STEP 3: Unravel
  • STEP 4: Add some texture
  • HOW TO: Get beachy waves
  • STEP 1: Get some grit
  • STEP 2: Diffuse for extra texture
  • STEP 3: Curl it back
  • STEP 3: Curl it forward
  • STEP 4: Deconstruct it

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