9 Tips You Need for Tousled Hair

Victoria Moorhouse


The pressure is off with tousled hair—and that might be one of the top reasons this style is so sought after. Keeping every strand in a uniformed place, like a fly-away free seating assignment, is the complete and total opposite nature of this style. Read: you want your hair to get a little messy and out of place, as that’s literally in the definition of the adjective. A little windblown, a bit beachy, these are the things you’re looking for when getting your hair to a tousled state. As contrary and bizarre as this sounds, learning how to mess up your hair in the right way (yes, there is a wrong way to do so), is an acquired skill. After all, it’s a look we see on the red carpet at pretty much every awards show—and you know there’s an expert hairstylist behind it. Learn how to get the look for yourself with these hairstyling tips below.

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1. Absolutely can’t let your hair air-dry? If blow-drying is a part of your routine that you can’t break, make sure you’re rough drying your hair. This will just speed up the process of your hair drying without changing the shape of the strand like blow-drying with a round brush does. Run your hands through your hair while blow-drying so that you’re separating your strands and giving your hair ample volume.

2. Braiding your hair while it’s damp at night and then sleeping on it works here, too. When you wake up, you can gently tease so that the texture isn’t super silky.

3. Apply serum in your hands and twist and twirl sections of your hair. The serum will help change the shape of those sections, giving them bend. It’ll also help smooth out an excess of fly-aways. Some fly-aways are fine, but with too many, the messy look you’re going for gets unmanageable.

4. Curl only sections of your hair—not your entire head. Part your hair as you want it and pick up small sections of hair and curl them in opposite directions. While the curls don’t have to be completely uniformed, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing this evenly on each side of your head. This will give you that undone, deconstructed look.

5. If you’re trying to take a curly ‘do to a tousled state, run your fingers through the curls from root to tip to “undo” them and then gently shake your hair to give it movement. Spray in a setting spray to keep the volume at its best.

6. Scrunch your hair, whether it be air-dried and natural or curly, with a teeny, tiny amount of hair styling serum, sea salt spray, texturizing spray, hairspray, or even dry shampoo. A product with a holding component will help keep your hair in “scrunched” position without it falling flat.

7. To transform super straight hair to a messy, wavy hairstyle, use a wider curling wand so that you don’t end up with curly ringlets.

MORE: How to Wear a Messy Bun With Long Hair

8. Dirty hair actually works better with tousled hair. Try not to wash your hair day of so that the natural oils in your hair can help hold the waves. A little dry shampoo at your roots will give you the lift you need.

9. While you’re doing your makeup in the morning, put your hair in a messy bun and spritz it with texturizing spray. Take it down before you leave the house and you’ll have a look of tousled tresses and a whole lot of volume.