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How to Get Easy Beachy Waves

Just when you thought your middle school days of attempting beachy waves were over (damn it, Mischa Barton circa 2005, how did your hair always look so perfect?!), the mermaid trend struck the world, prompting everyone to look as ethereally washed-ashore as humanly possible. And, unfortunately for us and our uncoordinated hands, we never actually got the hang of creating beachy waves with a curling iron, much less a curling wand, which makes us feel 13 years old all over again, save for the braces and crippling self-doubt (thank God).

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But hey! Now we’re adults! With access to professional hairstylists and all of the knowledge in the world! So we asked hairstylist and magic-maker Jasmine Santiago to show us exactly how to create simple, easy beachy waves without needing to buy a beachfront house in Orange County or a third arm. Oh, and did we mention this tutorial is broken down in super easy-to-follow GIFs for your viewing pleasure? Welcome to the hair revolution.

Photographer: Tory Rust

Model: Olga with MSA Models

Makeup: Ashleigh Ciucci

Hair: Jasmine Santiago

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STEP 1: Get some grit
Image: Tory Rust

Step 1: Get some grit

After towel-drying your wet hair — or better yet just squeezing it with a T-shirt to reduce frizz — spritz a sea salt or wave spray all over from root to tip, then rake your fingers through your hair to distribute the product.

Products to try:

  1. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (Bumble and Bumble, $27)
  2. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe sea salt spray (Target, $5)
  3. Ouai Wave Spray (Ouai, $26)
STEP 2: Diffuse for extra texture
Image: Tory Rust

Step 2: Diffuse for extra texture

Unless your hair naturally dries in mermaid-like waves — in which case, good for you, now go away — you’ll need to diffuse it to bring out some waves and texture. Lightly twist and plop sections of hair into the bowl of the diffuser (keep the heat and airflow on medium) until your hair is about 75 percent dry, then remove it from the heat and let the rest air-dry to prevent flyaways or poofing.

STEP 3: Curl it back
Image: Tory Rust

Step 3: Curl it back

Starting with the face-framing layers near your hairline, wrap a 3-inch section of hair around a 1-1/2-inch curling wand, like the Remington Ceramic Pearl, twisting the hair in the direction away from your face. Hold for five seconds, then unravel, tugging on the hair to loosen the curl before it cools.

STEP 4: Curl it forward
Image: Tory Rust

Step 4: Curl it forward

The trick to natural-looking waves and curls is to make sure you alternate the direction in which you curl each section. So after curling the front piece away from your face, pick up the 2-inch section next to it and twist it around the wand toward your face. Hold for five seconds, then release and tug. Continue alternating directions around your hair until all pieces are curled.

STEP 4: Deconstruct it
Image: Tory Rust

Step 5: Deconstruct it

Now’s the fun — or possibly anxiety-producing, depending on your personality — part. Mess it up. Beachy waves should look imperfect and accidental, which means you don’t want to see any distinct curls by the time you’re finished. Rake through the waves with your fingers, and if you want more piece-y texture, blast the roots with a texturizing spray (like IGK Beach Club Texture Spray) for volume and lightly mist the lower lengths of hair with a lightweight, hydrating sea salt spray, like Herbivore Coconut + Sea Salt Sea Mist. Let it dry, then scrunch, shake and let your inner OC kid feel vindicated.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

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