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Catch the wave: The simple secret to beach waves

At the beach, we all see women with perfectly tousled waves. While, for the lucky ones, the waves come naturally, some of us need to work a little bit to achieve this look. Even if you aren’t going anywhere near the beach, you can find a simple method to get this wavy summer style.

woman with wavy beach hair

Try salt spray

Salt water gives your hair the texture that you crave. If you have even a little natural wave to your hair, a salt spray will bring it out.

Popular salt sprays include Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray ($24 at Sephora), Aquage Sea Salt Texturizing Salt Spray ($18 at and Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray ($6 at Ulta). To create beach waves with salt spray, you simply spray the product throughout your damp hair. Then, scrunch your hair using your hands. Let your hair air dry if possible. If you must use a blow dryer, be sure to add a diffuser.

If you don’t want to shell out the cash for the spray, you can make your own salt spray at home by adding a two teaspoons of sea salt to eight ounces of water in a spray bottle. If you want more texture, you can just add more salt to the mixture. Keep in mind that salt sprays (whether store-bought or homemade) can be very drying. Therefore, you shouldn’t use them every day and you should be sure to use plenty of conditioner afterward.

Put your hair up

If you plan ahead, you can get beachy waves by putting your hair up while you sleep. With this method, you don’t have to use any special products, just follow these simple steps.

  1. After you take a shower in the evening, separate damp hair into four or more equal sections. Twist each section and then wrap it into a bun, securing with a bobby pin or clip.
  2. When you wake up, take down the buns and comb through your waves with your fingers. Toss your hair forward and then back to get that tousled look.
  3. If your hair doesn’t hold curl very well, you can spritz it with a texturing spray like Nexxus Lavish Body Volumizing Spray ($11 at Ulta) before you put it up. For extra waves, you can braid each section rather than just twisting it.

Use your curling iron

By using a large barrel curling iron, you can create all over beachy waves. Protect your locks by spritzing dry hair with Suave Professionals Heat Protection Spray ($3 at or Biotera Thermal Protecting Styling Spray ($9 at all over. Separate your hair into workable sections and then pin up the top layers.

Heat your curling iron on high. Starting with the underneath layers, hold the curling iron vertically so it’s perpendicular to the floor. Wrap a small section of hair around the iron (you are wrapping the hair around the iron — not clamping it). For long, loose waves, don’t wrap all the way down to the root. Release after 30 seconds but don’t touch the curl.

Repeat all over your head. As you complete each section, take down a new section that you pinned up. Once have created curls all over your head, flip your head upside and run your hands through your hair to turn the curls into beautiful waves. Flip your head back and use your hands to smooth the curls as necessary.

quick tip

Using a three-barrel waving iron can help make beachy waves a breeze. Just clamp down each section of your hair for a few seconds and repeat all over your head. Don’t forget to use a heat protectant spray before using the iron to avoid any damage to your hair.

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