Beach Waves For Hair
Breezy and cool. Simple and sexy. Low-maintenance beautiful hair.
There’s a reason beachy waves have maintained their allure for almost two decades while other hairstyles have fallen out of favor. (Remember the days when you wouldn’t dream of leaving the house before spending 30 minutes frying your strands with a flat iron?) The tousled, easy style epitomizes natural beauty—and who wouldn’t want to exude effortless gorgeousness?
But getting perfectly natural “I-just-got-in-from-surfing” hair waves can be surprisingly deceiving, especially if you’re not hitting up the ocean waves on a daily basis. Thankfully, no matter your hair length, style, or texture it’s possible to get those beachy waves that everyone covets.
We’ll dig into why exactly the “surfer girl” hair style skyrocketed in the early 2000’s, the tools and products that you’ll need to get beachy waves at home, and how to style every hair type to get Giselle-like tresses. Keep on scrolling to get stoked!
When did beach waves become trendy?
To really get an understanding of when beach waves became a seriously aspirational look, we need to take a deep dive into pop culture in the early aughts. The TV show “Friends,” which launched a million bad Rachel-inspired voluminous haircuts early into its run, had been on the air for six years. Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel had evolved significantly—from flustered coffee shop girl to bona fide fashionista—and so had her hair. Now, Rachel rocked a brighter blonde hue and a less “done” wavy style.
“Sex and the City” was just hitting its sartorial stride after being on the air for two years, with Carrie’s infamously un-done blonde mane at the center of the show. Never curled, rarely blow dried, and almost always natural-looking, Carrie’s hair exuded hints of the messy beach waves we know and love today.
And a little teen drama with a fresh new cast bounced onto the scene in 2002—set in a seaside town in sunny southern California, ”The OC” debuted to big numbers in its first season and instantly became a hit. Of course, as wave-loving California teens, stars Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson often wore their hair tousled and relaxed.
But maybe the biggest signifier that wavy hair was a culturally cool style? Its presence in the 2003 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As trite as it might sound, the VS Fashion Show is watched by millions, and the looks of supermodel “Angels” like Giselle Bundchen, Tyra Banks, and Adriana Lima inspired multiple makeup and hair trends. In years before, the Angels rocked shiny, stick straight locks. But in 2003, someone had the genius idea to let the girls shake their hair out a little bit. The result? Super-sexy voluptuous waves all over the runway—and soon, all across the United States.
In the ensuing years, beach hair has evolved. Early on, it was piecey and gritty-looking, with uniform waves that were often created with a curling iron or crimper. Products like wax, pomade, and even gel were relied upon to get the look. Today, waves have a softer and more subtle texture. The bedhead-meets-surfer style, complete with gentle fly aways and uneven curls, is way easier to achieve than beach hair of the early 2000s.
Best Hair Products for Getting Beachy Waves
Unless you hit the genetic jackpot, you’re probably going to need a little help getting those effortless beach waves. This, my friends, is when we turn to products. Now, in the case of waves, more is not better. Too much product can leave tresses feeling crunchy, dry, and weighed down. Basically the opposite of breezy.
You’ll need to choose which products work best for you, depending on your unique hair texture and style, but some typically formulas used to create waves help tease out your hair’s natural wave. That means that often these products have ingredients that create volume and hold the style in place. However, they can often leave hair feeling parched, so be sure to use a nourishing shampoo and conditioner—or even a moisturizing hair mask once a week—if you’re using these types of products on a daily basis:
Best Products for Getting Beach Wave Hair
Light hold gel
Light hold hairspray
Oil-based styling spray
Sea salt spray
Styling Wax or pomade
Use Playa products to get perfect beachy waves
Of course, we’re pretty partial to our family of Playa products for creating the best surfer girl-inspired hair waves. Our whole line was intentionally crafted to nourish and strengthen hair with clean, better-for-you ingredients. If you were born with great natural texture, you might be just fine washing with our Everyday Shampoo and Supernatural Conditioner. But we find that most people need a little extra help to tease out those sexy, flowy waves. In that case, spritz our sea salt-based Endless Summer Spray on wet or dry hair from midshaft all the way to your ends. Finish off with a little Ritual Hair Oil to soften flyaways and get locks that shine in the sun, and you’re good to go.
How to Do Beach Waves
No matter what type of hair you were born with, it’s totally possible to rock beach waves. You just need the perfect technique and product combo. Keep on scrolling to learn more about how to master this “effortless” hairstyle.
Normal, wavy hair
Hello, gorgeous. You lucked out—you’ve got the perfect texture for beachy waves. Start by spraying locks with our Endless Summer Spray. Drag fingers through hair to spread product from root to tip. Then, pull your curls and waves out and down, separating them as you work through your whole head. Try not to scrunch, mousse-style—that’ll leave your hair looking frizzy and puffy, as opposed to polished. Finish with a drop of Ritual Hair oil on ends.
Straight, fine hair
If your hair naturally dries straight, it’ll be a little more challenging to massage those non-existent waves out of your tresses! In this case, you might want to utilize styling tools like a flat iron or curling iron. Pro tip: Wash hair the day before to get a little more texture out of your locks.
Prep roots and add volume by using Pure Dry Shampoo at the crown. Spray Endless Summer Spray from the middle of hair to the tips, and allow to dry. Then, wrap hair around a 1”-barrel curling wand, starting at the middle of the strand. Run fingers through curls to break them up and shake out hair for extra oomph.
Curly, coarse hair
If your hair is naturally curly and a little dry, your best bet is to nourish your tresses and relax your curls. Use a few pumps of Ritual Hair Oil all over just-washed hair, then lightly spritz with Endless Summer Spray. Form large curls all over your head, and allow to air dry.
Admittedly, that “low-maintenance surfer girl” hairstyle is trickier to master than it seems. But with the right products, you’re good to go!