How to Master Beachy Waves on Any Hair Texture

Kristin Booker


We are well-documented fans of the beachy wave, but we also know that it’s generally reserved for the small demographic of people for whom the combination of sea salt, ocean winds, and two-day-old product creates texture that’s covetable, not confusing—as in, why would you even want your hair to look that way?

We reached out to Matrix Artistic Director and Celebrity Hair Stylist Ammon Carver to get his insider take on how the rest of us who struggle with the style can achieve that sought-after seaside-inspired look. Get ready to set sail for better hair days.

For Pin-Straight Hair
The challenge here is that super-straight, fine hair doesn’t take easily to texture, so you need to add products that supply grip and hold to muss it up a little. Start with a strong-hold volumizing mousse while the hair is wet, then dry your hair upside down with a diffuser, squeezing the lengths with your hands to add texture.

Once your hair is completely dry, spray a 1″ section of your hair with hairspray, then wrap it around a medium-sized curling iron, leaving the ends free and straight. Repeat this process all the way around your head, then add a pea-sized amount of a thick texturizing paste, like Bumble and bumble Thickening Cream Contour ($29), onto your fingers and tousle your hair to loosen and break up the curls.

MORE: WATCH: How to Get Beach Waves

For Chemically Straightened hair
This hair type typically needs moisture, so Carver likes to start with a nourishing oil on the hair while it’s still wet to condition and impart shine. Blow the hair about 80-percent dry using a wide-bristle paddle brush, which won’t unnecessarily stretch and damage the hair, then begin adding a little texture and grip with a heat-protecting thermal setting spray all over.

Finish blowing your hair the rest of the way dry, using your fingers this time instead of the paddle brush. Once the hair is completely dry, wrap 2-inch sections around a large-barrel curling iron, leaving the ends free. Carver suggests alternating curl direction and the size of the sections for a more natural result. Finish by adding a bit more styling oil to your fingers, then gently break up the curls for a softer effect.

For Curly Hair
Naturally curly hair is waging a battle against humidity when it comes to the carefree tousled look, which means it’s trying to reclaim its natural curl pattern no matter how you try to style it, so be aware of where you are going and the current weather if you want to wear a little bit more tousled style. In order to achieve the beachy look, apply a generous amount of Joico Matte Grip Texture Cream ($15.99) all over the hair and blowdry smooth with a natural boar-bristle brush.

Once the hair is dry, spray a thermal active setting spray on individual sections of hair, then use a flat iron to smooth the roots before beginning to rotate the iron in your hand as you move your hand toward the bottom of each section. This will result in a soft, gentle wave with humidity-resistant benefits. Work all the way around your head and finish with a small amount of nourishing oil on your fingers to break up and soften the style.

MORE: Get Wavy Hair Without the Heat