Achieving perfectly casual summer beach waves is harder than it seems. Personally, I either end up with flat, straw-like hair that looks more dirty and disheveled than DDG, or I get Shirley Temple ringlets that are the total opposite of cool. Our Insta feeds are full of celebs with messy wave looks, even when it’s not the summer, which proves this trendy ‘do is here to stay. We chatted with Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist (her clients include the Kardashians, the Hadids and Chrissy Teigen) and founder of cult haircare brand Ouai Haircare, about how she perfects the beachy waves hairstyle on her star-studded clientele. Here’s what she had to say.



1. Use multiple curling irons and a straightener. The tricky part about getting beachy waves is that they often look too straight or too curly — the perfect balance is what we’re after for this look, and Jen’s hacks make it totally achievable. “I’ll go back in with my flat iron after I’ve curled the hair and smooth over the curls to relax the hair and give a more lived-in finish,” Jen explained. This is a super smart hack that also helps you fix any of those pesky Shirley Temple ringlets. Beyond using a straightener, Jen also uses more than one curling iron for this look. “I like to use multiple irons to create a look that is more natural,” she said. She swears by the ghd Curve Classic Curl Iron ($199), the Harry Josh Pro Tools 2-in-1 Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron ($185), the Kardashian Beauty 3-in-1 Ceramic Hairstyling Iron ($90) and the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand ($270), in case you’re wondering ;)

2. Get your hands — and hair — dirty. For an intentionally unkempt look like this, use your own hands to do the work of a brush and a curling iron. You can comb through your curls with your fingers to make them more natural-looking and less structured, but also use your fingers to create waves. “Use your fingers to twist random strands for more defined waves,” she said. This is a great tip to keep in mind after you’re done styling and need a little extra oomph in some areas. After your waves are in place, Jen actually dirties up the hair to give it that salty, beachy look and feel. Her secret? “I apply OUAI Texturizing Hair Spray ($26) or OUAI Dry Shampoo ($24) for a matte finish and use a small amount of OUAI Finishing Crème ($24) on the ends.” It actually makes so much sense to apply dry shampoo as a way to mattify the hair — just make sure to brush out the white powder if there’s any residue.

3. Imperfection is key. Avoid perfectly uniform waves for this hairstyle — the key is to have a variety of waves so that the overall look appears as natural as possible. “When styling, curl sections of random sizes for a more undone finish, and always leave the ends straight,” Jen explained. Don’t forget to start some curls higher up the shaft and some lower down — the variation will give your look some much-needed depth.

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(Photo via Mike Rosenthal)