3 Easy Ways to Get Beachy Hair Without Hitting the Sand

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Gisele rocking beach waves hairstyle
Photoshot / Avalon

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

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!

36 thoughts on “3 Easy Ways to Get Beachy Hair Without Hitting the Sand”

  1. 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!

  2. 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. 🙂


  3. 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! 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 :]

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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 :/

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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:)!

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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

  21. 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 :)!

  22. 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.

  23. 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?


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