3 Ways to Score Perfectly Messy Waves for Fall

Rachel Krause

Photo: ImaxTree

It’s impossible to choose a favorite hairstyle that we prefer above all, but should it come down to some hypothetical life-or-death situation, we’re inclined to say that the foolproof messy wave would take the cake. Universally flattering, easy to achieve, and even better on the second day than it is on the first, messy waves are pretty much the consummate chic, low-maintenance hairstyle, which means you don’t have to sacrifice your look for an extra five minutes in the morning.

Fall’s messy waves are just as carefree as summer’s beachier take, but they have a more purposeful, slightly matted finish that’s more “I woke up like this” than “I just spent a day at the beach.” Whether you’ve got a bit of time to waste or need to be out of the house in the next five minutes, these expert tips will make your messy waves happen in a flash.

If you only have five minutes…
There’s no way around it: if you’ve only got five minutes to spare, you must start on dry hair, ideally of the slept-on second-day variety. Timothy Wandrey, a senior stylist at Cutler Salon, recommends starting by spritzing a sea salt spray or texturizer, like Redken Fashion Waves 07 ($19), all over the hair and braiding or twisting in two sections, one on either side. Secure with bobby pins rather than an elastic to avoid creases. Heat ’em up with a blowdryer set to high and let cool, then mist the hair with a medium hold hairspray before releasing the braids or twists. Flip your head over, spray again, and go—quickly. You’re in a rush, aren’t you?

public school messy waves 3 Ways to Score Perfectly Messy Waves for Fall

Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

If you only have fifteen minutes…
Fekkai 5th Avenue stylist Stefanie Francois recommends spraying dry shampoo all over to add texture and rid any excess oil that could prevent hair from getting the fuzzy, mussed texture that’s necessary for fall’s messy waves. Brush the hair out from root to tip to distribute the product, then use a 1- or 1 1/2-inch curling wand on random pieces throughout the lengths of the hair, alternating the curl away and toward the face. Run your fingers through the waves and shake them out to give them that disheveled effect, and lightly mist Fekkai Soleil Beach Waves Tousling Spray ($20) all over for a piecy finish.

MORE: A Hot Mess: Pretty Messy Waves Made Easy

If you only have thirty minutes…
Relax, stretch your legs, and take a shower. With thirty minutes on hand, you have time to actually blow your hair out prior to curling, so you don’t have to worry about whether your hair is second-day sexy or God-only-knows-what-day disgusting (yeah, it happens to the best of us). When you have a bit more time on the clock to curl, Francois says, you can start at the nape of your neck and moving upward, parting your hair as you go along to really account for the whole head. Better still, since you’re starting with a fresh blow-dry, you can make this look last for a few days by sleeping on a twisted bun.

rachel antonoff messy waves 3 Ways to Score Perfectly Messy Waves for Fall

Photo: Jenny Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images