How to Get Easy Beachy Waves (as Told by Gifs!)

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How to Get Easy Beachy Waves (as Told by Gifs!)
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Photo: Tory Rust

Just when you thought your middle-school days of attempting beachy waves were over (dammit, Mischa Barton circa 2005, how did your hair always look so perfect?!), the mermaid trend struck the world, prompting everyone to look as ethereally washed-ashore as humanly possible. And, unfortunately for us and our uncoordinated hands, we never actually got the hang of creating beachy waves with a curling iron, much less a curling wand. Which makes us feel 13 years old all over again, save for the braces and crippling self-doubt (thank god).

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But hey! Now we’re adults! With access to professional hairstylists and all of the knowledge in the world! So we asked hairstylist and magic maker Jasmine Santiago to show us exactly how to create simple, easy, beachy waves, without needing to buy a beachfront house in Orange County or a third arm. Oh, and did we mention this tutorial is broken down in super easy-to-follow gifs for your viewing pleasure? Welcome to the hair revolution. 

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

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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
  • 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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