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

Perfect Spacebuns, Heatless Waves TUTORIAL

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 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

  2. 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

  3. 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 :]

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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! 🙂

  10. 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. 🙂


  11. 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!


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