Sea salt waves and summer are a match made in warm-weather heaven. No matter your hair texture or length, when you dive into salty water you’re bound to come out with some seriously enviable strands. Since achieving these #hairgoals without a nearby beach is trickier than leaving all the sand by the ocean, we polled the pros on how to fake it till you make it. Below some of the industry’s top hairstylists share their essential products, tools, and styling hacks for recreating beach waves at home. You’re welcome.
Jen Atkin, Celebrity Stylist and Founder of OUAI Haircare
“The OUAI Wave Spray ($26) is essential! Most sea salt sprays are drying because salt dries out your strands, so you have to use it in combination with a hair oil to get the results you’ll want. That’s not the case with this spray, which uses rice protein to create texture in the hair instead of salt. Just spritz on damp or dry hair (from roots and to ends) and let air-dry to enhance your natural wave pattern, or twist random strands for more defined waves. Once dry, scrunch in a little more spray and you’re good to go!
“Another one of my favorite tips for getting no-fuss waves is ‘the clip trick.’ Spray damp hair generously with Wave Spray, then use duckbill clips to create a dent in the hair, pushing the hair up at the root, clipping into place, then pushing the hair up underneath it, and clipping into place until the entire head has been clipped and the hair is in an S-pattern. Let air-dry or blow-dry, then remove the clips, scrunch, and you’ve got beach waves.”
Sarah Potempa, Celebrity Stylist and Founder of The Beachwaver Co.
“The Beachwaver S1 ($129) is a self-rotating curling iron that gives gorgeous waves. Place your hair in the small clamp, tap the arrow away from your face and hold for three to four seconds, then release the clamp and slide the iron down and repeat. Another wave hack is to braid your hair (while wet) in two braids and, once dry, remove the elastics and voilà. If you feel like the top of your hair is looking too much like a perm after taking out the braids, create a fun half-up topknot style and leave the rest of your waves down for any party after the pool.”
Felix Fischer, Celebrity Stylist
“The key to mastering beachy waves is that you don’t want them to look frizzy, fuzzy, or dry, so make sure to use a nourishing curl shampoo and conditioner and use dry shampoo to finish off the look. Start with Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo ($26) and Conditioner ($30), then massage Kérastase Mousse Bouffante ($28) into the hair, followed by a dime-sized amount of serum (for shine) like Lanza Silk Serum ($37). Then either air dry, squeeze the hair, or use a diffuser and finish off with Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo ($44) to lift the hair up and give it a more life-like feel. You want natural, not stiff.”
Christophe Robin, Celebrity Colorist and Founder of Christophe Robin Hair Care
“My favorite products for the sun, sand, and surf are Christophe Robin Lavender Oil ($47) and Daily Hair Cream With Sandalwood ($43). Both contain SPF 6, so you can apply them before going out into the sun to protect your color, and the moisturizing cream helps maintain flyaways while giving your hair natural hold and shine. As for my go-to styling secret… as soon as you get out of the pool or ocean, rinse your hair and towel it dry, then apply two to three dollops of lavender oil and pull your hair up into a high messy bun on top of your head. Let that air-dry, then take it down in the evening for boho waves worthy of Gisele Bündchen.”
Naté Bova, Celebrity Stylist at Warren Tricomi
“For wavy hair, I recommend the Shu Uemura Wonder Worker Air Dry/Blow Dry Multi-Tasking Primer ($33). All you have to do is work (or comb) this leave-in conditioning spray through your locks and let air-dry for killer beachy waves. For straight hair, use L’Oréal Professional Beach Waves Spray ($28). Spray into wet hair, power dry until messy, then touch up with a wand for refined waves. The texture your hair has from the spray will curl beautifully.”
Kendall Dorsey, Celebrity Stylist
“For a wet and wavy style, I love Oribe Foundation Mist ($32) for hydration and then I follow that up with Herbal Essences’ Totally Twisted Curl Scrunching Gel ($5) to enhance texture. For a dried-wavy style, diffuse hair with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($400) then create lived-in texture with a few well-placed flat iron waves and finish with Dove Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo ($2).”
Temur, Lead Stylist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon
“Sally Hershberger 24K Beach Glam Mineral Wave Spray is a texture spray that creates tousled waves that everyone loves. It’s super easy to use, whether you use it at home before you leave or throw it in your beach bag. Spritz onto dry hair, then let it air-dry or even apply a little heat to it for extra texture.”
Leo Izquierdo, Co-founder of IGK Hair Care
“My clients love IGK Beach Club Volumizing Texture Spray ($29) because it’s a salt-free formula (with glycerin and gluten-free wheat protein instead of salt) that adds waves and body to the hair without drying it out or leaving it sticky. The aerosol application also gives you a light, even coverage that you can build up depending on how much texture you want. For all-over texture and volume, just spray from roots to ends and massage or scrunch in. For more defined waves, take small sections and twist and spray each section, then let them fall out naturally. For curly hair, scrunch and twist as you spray to encourage your natural curl and to add shine and hold.”
Garren, Celebrity Stylist and Co-Founder of R+Co
“Choosing the right products for styling waves is very important, starting with your shampoo and conditioner. Different hair types need different products, and the most common mistake is not applying the products properly for the end result. R+Co One Prep Spray ($21) is designed to even porosity and let the styling products do their jobs more effectively. R+Co Dallas Thickening Spray ($12) is my go-to for hold and flexibility and the R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray ($17) can be used on sections of hair right before using a curling iron, but let it dry to avoid steam. Finish with a small amount of R+Co Tinsel Smoothing Oil ($25) for shine or R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray ($26) for a rougher, matte texture.”
Johnny Lavoy, Celebrity Stylist
“PRO Beauty Tools Professional 3-in-1 Copper Ceramic Wand Kit is everything you need to create the ultimate beach style. The kit has three different sized barrels so you can create looks anywhere from tight tousled curls to a smooth boho vibe. A couple of more important tips to remember when creating a relaxed beach wave is to never curl the ends. I like to leave the last three to five inches out of the wand so I can create a more natural looking wave. Also, give the curl a little tug after releasing it from the wand — this will soften the wave and give it more length. If you want a flatter wave, try twisting the section of that piece while you wrap it around the wand, and if you want a fuller wave, keep the hair flat as you wrap it around the wand, then finger-comb your hair to separate the curl.”
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