Follow College Fashion on Twitter!

3 Easy Ways to Get Beachy Hair Without Hitting the Sand


How to Get Beachy Hair
Image Credit

Ever notice how fab your hair tends to look after a day spent by the ocean? Even if you can’t make it to the beach anytime soon, you can still get perfectly tousled waves, AKA “beach hair“, regardless of your hair type, and with very little effort! Try one of these methods, and you should be rocking that beach waves hair look in no time!

Method 1: Salt Spray

Salt sprays for beachy hair

Most people have some sort of natural wave to their hair, and a good salt spray is great for really bringing this out. Salt sprays should do the job for pretty much any hair type, from thin and straight to thick and wavy. They also add volume (especially great for girls with thinner hair) and help get rid of frizz.

Using salt spray to create beach waves is pretty simple. You’ll have to experiment to find the method that works best for your hair, but you should spray a little (seriously – less is more, especially for girls who already have super thick hair) onto wet or damp hair, and then cup some ends in your hand and scrunch up to your roots. Either let it air dry or use a diffuser, and you’re good to go! Personally, I find that this method gives me even better second-day beach hair than right after it dries – just apply a little dry shampoo, if needed, and a spritz or two of salt spray to¬†rejuvenate¬†your waves.

If you don’t want to spend money on a salt spray, making your own salt spray is relatively easy and can still give you good results.

All you need is a spray bottle, 8oz of water, a few teaspoons of sea salt (the more you use, the more textured your results – just experiment to see what works best for you), and just a drop or two of something moisturizing (such as moroccan oil or conditioner) to help combat the drying effect the sea salt has on your hair. Shake well and apply the same as you would a store-bought bottle.

Since salt sprays can be pretty drying, it’s not a good idea to use these every day, unless you’re also using a super moisturizing conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and/or a good moisturizing serum.

Method 2: 3-Barrel Curling Iron

Waving irons for beach hair

3-barrel curling irons, or “waving irons” can also get you the beach hair look. For loose waves, you’ll want a waver with larger barrels; small barrels will get you tighter waves.

Before testing out a 3-barrel waver, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a heat protectant so that your hair doesn’t retain any heat damage!

Using one of these wavers is super easy – all you do is separate your dry hair into sections, spraying your heat protectant as you go, and (starting closer to your roots) clamp down and hold for a few seconds, move down that section of hair, and repeat. Finish with a holding spray, and you’re all done! It’s super easy and pretty quick (depending on how much hair you have).

Method 3: Hair Buns

Gwen Stefani rocking hair buns and beach waves hair
Image Credit

To try and get beach waves without having to purchase any additional product, wash your hair, section it into equal parts, and twist and wrap damp hair into two to four low buns (experiment to see what works best for you; smaller sections will give you smaller waves). You can spray a little hair spray (or even salt spray) for extra hold and definition.

This is best to do at night after you get out of the shower, since your hair should be dry by the time you wake up in the morning – just make sure your hair isn’t too wet when you try to do this, since it probably won’t dry all the way especially if your hair is very long or thick.

When you wake up, undo the buns and lightly brush through your hair with your fingers. You can also apply more salt spray and scrunch if you wish, in order to give your waves extra definition (this is especially useful if your hair is really straight and doesn’t hold a curl very well).

Alternatively, you can try plaiting your damp hair into a loose braid before you go to sleep.

What do you think?

Have you tried any of these methods? Did any of them work for you – if so, what worked best? What didn’t work? Do you have any other tips as to how to achieve this hairstyle? Let us know!

Posted on on June 15, 2011 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

70 Responses to “3 Easy Ways to Get Beachy Hair Without Hitting the Sand”

  1. 1
    June 15th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I love beach waves! I’ve wanted to try the Bumble and Bumble surf spray for a couple of years now but haven’t gotten around to shelling out the money.

  2. 2
    June 15th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I have been using the bun method for years! I have long, thick hair and no patience when it comes to styling. I put my slightly damp hair into two buns and after and hour or so I have perfectly beachy waves! This works really well for me on second- or third-day hair. I’ll put the buns in before I take a shower and take them down when I’m finished getting ready. Can’t get easier than that!

  3. 3
    June 15th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My hair mostly does this look naturally, but I have to say that it looks a million times better when I use a salt spray!

  4. 4
    June 15th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve tried all three methods before, and I gotta say, all three of them are pretty amazing! the first one just brings out the natural texture which is nice and it’s just a spray, but it might not work for girls with naturally really straight hair! the curling iron method works for everyone, so that’s gotta be my face. the bun/braid method makes really nice waves, but it’s uncomfortable when you sleep at night!
    just some more info with my experience on these three methods. :)


  5. 5
    June 15th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Any tips for girls with curly hair looking to get this look? I have boticelli curls and am curious about how i can achieve this look. Otherwise, I loved the post :)!

  6. 6
    June 15th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Be really, really careful with the sea salt spray. Sea salt and hair chemicals don’t mix. If you use the sea salt spray and want to color, perm, etc your hair, stop using it 2 weeks prior to the service or it won’t turn out.

    Juliana- if your curls are smaller/tighter (I believe that’s what boticelli means) you have a few options. I would recommend the bun- do it while your hair is wet and let it dry COMPLETELY. Drying it that way will sort of “over ride” your natural texture, until you wash it again.

    Or, try a very gentle relaxing product (such as Paul Mitchell’s relaxing balm) and use only a small amount to slightly relax your curl.

    And finally, brushing your hair out when it’s dried naturally may work too. I haven’t seen yours so I can’t say, but mine is really curly too, and if I let it dry and brush it out, my hair is wavier, looser, etc.

    Good luck! :)

  7. 7
    June 15th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    If your hair isn’t super curly from the root, I would definitely try using a nice big fat curling iron. My hair is loosely wavy from root to ear, and pretty tight curls from my ear down to my ends, and this is the (5 minute tops) method that works for me:

    Section your hair so that you have half on each side. You can do your hair in two sections, or separate it as many times as you want. My hair’s super thick, and I usually do between 2 and 6, depending on how much I want to loosen my natural curl.

    Take one section and twist it around itself going backwards.

    Take that twisted section and wrap it around a big curling iron (mine’s 1.5 inches) for between 15 and 30 counts.

    Do this with all of your sections, then just shake it out.

    Beachy, wavy perfection. You can finish it with products, but it usually looks great on its own.

  8. 8
    June 15th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I wish CF would do a post on curling wands, the results are 100x better than a regular curling iron and since it’s “wand-shaped” and has no clamp, you can adjust how loose or tight you want your curls. I’m seriously obsessed with mine.

    Also I am definitely going to try making my own salt spray. My hair is naturally beach wavy (seriously, people ask me how I do it so often, really I just don’t do anything/rarely wash it) so I’d love to see how I can improve it. Will definitely be buying a spray bottle later tonight!

  9. 9
    June 15th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Love it! :) I have super-straight hair so it’s difficult for me to get beachy hair! I will definetly try these tips out though, excited to try out the sea-salt!

  10. 10
    June 15th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    A little side note on triple barrel curling irons – I got one, much like the irons pictured (The smaller / regular size)
    I have longer hair – just passed my shoulders – and it’s thick as anything.
    I found that the smaller sized one gave me a crimped – style, rather than an S-wave style as pictured.
    I swapped mine out for the JUMBO size – it looks like a waffle maker but it’s perfect & never have I been able to get my hair done faster in all my days!

  11. 11
    June 15th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    My hair is really curly and I can never get those looser curls no matter what I do. I’ve just learned to embrace the curls and occasionally straighten it when I want a different look. I guess not everyone was meant to have loose, wavy hair :)

  12. 12
    June 15th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    You should show a picture example of a girl who isn’t blond! Not everyone is a blonde beach babe CollegeFashion!

  13. 13
    June 15th, 2011 at 11:46 pm


    Sometimes braids work for me–sometimes. I still have to fix my side bangs and all but putting hair into two braids and leaving it in overnight makes beachy waves, then I follow it up by wrapping it into a bun until I’m finished getting ready and am ready to leave the house. Not the easiest, I know.

    Also, if anyone else has keratin’d hair, you can’t use salt sprays. But before I did, putting sea salt, water, a few squirts of cheap conditioner, and a couple drops of lavender oil (and maybe even a little bit of hair oil, I used Moroccan oil) into a spray bottle worked amazingly, even on naturally curly hair, and it smelled incredible.

  14. 14
    June 16th, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I swear by the buns.. leaving them in over night is pretty much the only way my hair stays curly without using a whole bunch of products. I’m gonna try the salt spray though =)

  15. 15
    June 16th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Ashley – I have a curling wand and I love it, except for some reason my curls ALWAYS lose their definition after about an hour, which is weird since my hair is naturally curly and I don’t have that problem with any other curling iron – maybe my wand just doesn’t get hot enough?

    Annie – My hair is pretty curly as well (not quite botticelli curls, but pretty close!) and to get looser curls I squeeze the water out with an old t-shirt (instead of a towel, coz that makes my hair frizzy) after I shower (I wash my hair with a really thick smoothing conditioner – Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner) and don’t brush it. I spray a little Bumble & Bumble surf spray for texture/frizz when my hair is still wet, and when it starts getting damp I twist it in one or two loose buns at the nape of my neck and sleep on it overnight. This makes my hair dry flatter/straighter on top (it’s normally way more voluminous if I just let it air-dry naturally) and my waves turn into something a lot like the model’s in the second picture in the header image. For more separation/definition I use a texturizer (Sebastian Microweb Fiber is what I currently use) once it’s dry and I take it out of the buns.

  16. 16
    June 16th, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I always sleep with my hair in buns. But, because my hair is so heavy (not thick, just heavy) it’s always straight by the end of the day :( I try though

  17. 17
    June 16th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I just bought Bumble and Bumble’s surf spray and really like it. It was definitely a splurge as I don’t really own any other expensive hair products. I have wavy hair but it doesn’t have a lot of definition so this definitely brought it out more. I have never used a triple barrel but my sister has one so I want to try

  18. 18
    June 16th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Does Beach hair only look good on blondes? I only ever see pictures of blondes sporting this look :(

  19. 19
    June 17th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    These are all great ideas!

    My personal favorite is to do this:

    1. Shower in the evening before bed.
    3. Apply mousse to wet hair.
    2. Braid hair into very tight braids (two or three). French braids work best because you can start higher up.
    4. Sleep with the braids in.
    5. Wake up, take braids out.

    You don’t have to add any product in the morning! You can literally take the braids out and go!

  20. 20
    June 19th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Would you please tell me who is the girl that is in the picture of the right, on the first three?
    Thank you so much :]

  21. 21
    June 19th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    i think that while the first thing you think of when you hear beachy waves is blondes, it looks absolutely great on brunettes as well. My hair is naturally jet black and since my hair is curly i used to do the beachy waves all the time, even in winter, and i would get compliments all the time. I think braids work better for retexturing curly hair just make sure they’re not too tight, then you end up with a 90’s crimped look, ive made that mistake before it looks really unnatural. Opposite of beach waves lol

  22. 22
    June 19th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Jo – it’s Mary-Kate Olsen

  23. 23
    June 21st, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I love beachy waves! Fortunately, i was blessed with the easy to straighten, or air dry hair for natural beach locks. I’ve found the absolute BEST mousse currenly
    Is Suave Captivating Curls. It comes in a silver bottle with green high lights
    And is no more t

  24. 24
    June 21st, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I love beachy waves! I’m so happy my hair is wavy. It gets frizzy without styling it, but it’s easier to get than perfectly straight hair or curls!

  25. 25
    June 23rd, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    thank you Sarah :)

  26. 26
    June 28th, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Terrific article!!!!! Thank u very much for it!!!

  27. 27
    July 5th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I tried shaina ‘s own beach spray!!!’s hair’s now wavy and looks awesome..thx for the tip!! xoxo

  28. 28
    July 14th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    i Love it.. I have straight hair, so it is difficult for me to get the beachy hair… I will try these tips out though, excited to try out the sea-salt..

  29. 29
    July 28th, 2011 at 5:37 am

    The salt spray method works great! I also put my hair in lose french braids sometimes, but it gives a different form of waves.
    I also love the bus as well. I have curly hair but it frizzes when I go out, so I have to use one of the above methods to keep my hair tame.
    Thanks for the great advice!
    This might sound weird, but how do you use one of the wavers? I can’t seem to use it correctly :/

  30. 30
    September 8th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    i’ve never tried salt spray. i just usually braid my hair into 3 sections after washing it at night and when i style it in the morning all i do is take out the braids and spritz some Garnier Fructis wave enhancing spray and tada…beachy waves

  31. 31
    November 22nd, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Another way that I have found to get waves is to braid sections of hair and go over it with a straightener. You’ll need a heat protectant. I have the 3-barrel waver and both of these methods work well with my hair.

  32. 32
    January 13th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    hi ive got curly hair, not the really tight curls (except closer to my ears) or anything but i was wondering which method would be best for my hair type, also my hairs really thin and practically black :) would appreciate the help

  33. 33
    January 13th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    oh jeez i forgot to say even though my hairs thin it still looks thicker when i leave it curly and also it frizzes quite a bit

  34. 34
    January 20th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Is it possible to take a shower with the buns in? I have blond fairly thick and long hair so a lot of the time my hair falls out! And how long till it would dry? Ooh also what is the Bumble&Bumble surf spray?!

  35. 35
    March 16th, 2012 at 7:17 am

    iv got this weird hair its so straight at time but gets wavy at times how do i balance straight hair

  36. 36
    March 23rd, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Okay, Im going right now to try it, luckily am on spring break so I got nothing to lose. Wish me luck, haha.

  37. 37
    April 11th, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I do the bun thing all the time, works better if you use butterfly clips to hold them in place cause hair ties can leave the ends of your hair all kinked and frizzy. Try using those twister things at night too, can’t remember what they are called. They are sort of padded wire that you roll your hair up in and twist them up. They give you a natural curl, carefully which way you twist them, I’ve had an oddly curled one which wouldn’t stay down one day lol :)

  38. 38
    April 15th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I love the sea salt spray! Just a question, does more sea salt give more curls or looser waves? It would be great to have loose waves:)!

  39. 39
    April 18th, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve been dieting to do this, it I don’t get how I’m supposed to do the buns! What’s the technique?

  40. 40
    May 7th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I have extrememly thick hair and I can not make this work for me! :(

  41. 41
    May 12th, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Emma – It should bring out the waves in your hair, but it all depends on your hair type (: Salt spray is something like a texturising spray, gives roughness and definition

    Kristyn – I have that problem too, one of the things I use to get shape into my hair is one of these|cat:18831244|prd:18831244 towel turban, if you twist it tightly it can help to add body! Theyre available in a lot of places, and a lot cheaper than they are on

  42. 42
    May 27th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I am so going to make my own salt spray! Great post! xoxo Demmy

  43. 43
    July 5th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    When I do the buns it falls out after a hour or two and gel makes my hair very greasy and yucky. How can I get them to stay??

  44. 44
    August 8th, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I tried braiding my hair last night and it looks fantastic! :D

  45. 45
    August 21st, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I have naturally wavy hair, but if I wear it in a pony or a bun one day and want to ‘revive’ my waves without using heat for the next day, I’ll use a little bit of cream curl gel or a teeny bit of hair spray, slip an elastic head band on and twist my hair through it so all my hair is folded and twisted into the headband. Then I’ll leave it on overnight or just for a few hours depending on how intense I want the curls!

  46. 46
    August 23rd, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Can you recommend me a good salt spray ? I started to make my own but I’m kind of skill-less :)

  47. 47
    November 10th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Do french braids or regular braids work better to get the 2nd picture look?

  48. 48
    December 20th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Ladies, I used the Sally Hershberger wave spray, and it works wonders! I have long, straight hair, and have been looking for something to get my hair wavy without looking stringy, sticky, or wet, and THIS IS IT!! My hair has perfect waves and looks natural. I definitely recommend using it! It’s a little pricey for such a small bottle, but WELL worth the price. I also tried the twisting hair into buns method, and my hair looked HORRIBLE the next morning. It was frizzy and unmanageable, and looked like I never heard of a hairbrush! Go with the wave spray!! Trust me!

  49. 49
    January 3rd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I bought sea salt spray from Ulta- I have 4′ long blonde think straight hair. I barely sprayed it – 2nd day hair, braided it in 2 pig tails over night- next morning perfect! I Love It! I will be doing this for my beach wedding this month. I put loose curls in front and on top as my hair is long and they stayed 2 days!!!! Hair gets dry but it was beautiful-

  50. 50
    January 17th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I have naturally wavy hair, but I braided my friends hair and we went to bed and when she woke up, her hair was wavy. all you need are rubber bands

  51. 51
    January 31st, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I made my own salt spray an it turned out really well.

  52. 52
    February 22nd, 2013 at 8:04 am

    i have naturally super curly hair that is huge and poofy. Like, super tight riglets. What works best for me is just to quickly straighten it to get it semi straightened. then wrap in super messy bun and the nape of my neck and spray with my homemade sea salt spray. For my spray, i use a 150 ml spray bottle and about 3 teaspoons of sea salt (the saltier the better for me!) mixed with about 3 pumps of John Freida Frizz Ease serum. Leave it in the bun for a minute after getting sprayed, then just lightly comb it out. Seriously this is perfect for those days when you want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

    This also works like day 3 straightened hair, if you have really tight curls like mine.

  53. 53
    March 31st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    @Lizzy can i ask you a question ? when you take your braids out in the morning do you brush your hair?I do and it just falls out.The problem is my hair is reallyyyyy thick and i find it a problem if i dont brush it it the morning.I am not questioning your technique as i think its great,Would just like to know if you or someone else with this technique it would be great!


  54. 54
    July 12th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    i tried the beyond the zone spray from sallys and i have very thin medium length hair (almost shoulder length) i have a side part and it seems to work better on the side with more hair, it just seems to dry straight on the other after i scrunch it a million times

  55. 55
    July 30th, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    First off, this is a great article. Second, my favorite method for beachy tousled hair is to use texturizing spray. I like the Organix Sea Salt Spray. It has argan oil & kelp extract to moisturizing your hair. And it’s super-affordable (especially for college girls on a tight budget–I know because I am one).

  56. 56
    August 3rd, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Ive tried a saltwater sulotion and it works PERFECTLY. My hair is a bit wavy when I

  57. 57
    August 3rd, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    First woman is my favourite actress from “Friends” :)

  58. 58
    January 19th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Salt spray is probably the best option

  59. 59
    October 4th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Heya. I was thinking of adding a link back to your website
    since both of our websites are centered around the same subject.
    Would you prefer I link to you using your site
    address: or website
    title: 3 Easy Ways to Get Beachy Hair Without Hitting the Sand.
    Be sure to let me know at your earliest convenience. Thank you

  60. 60
    December 3rd, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    id love the beach wave look but my natural hair is frizzy with some curl and the rest is extensions (wavy) how can i get the look without having to blow out the top of my head to match the extension hair part?

  61. 61
    December 7th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I would be curious to see what would happen if you used a curling iron with a sea salt spray or other product. Even though the curling iron is supposed to curl (obviously) sometimes I feel like it flattens too much. I guess I need a new curling iron! haha.

    The sea salt spray I like the most is davines. But next I want to try to make my own sea salt spray.

Links to This Article

Leave a Reply


* Comment Rules: CF is a positive place and our comments section is no different. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you're rude, we'll delete your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. For more info, see our Comment Policy. Have fun & thanks for adding to the conversation!


* Want a custom avatar to show up next to your comments? Sign up for a free Gravatar.