5 Ways to Get Big Beachy Waves

By Leah Williams •  Updated: 04/17/22

Beach waves are the quintessential summer hairstyle. It looks carefree and effortless. Plus, it goes with may outfits and is suitable to wear in places other than the beach.

How do you get big, beachy waves? Lucky Curl spills the secrets of getting this coveted hair style depending on what tools and resources you have at hand. These five surefire ways to create waves give you the confidence to hold your head high.

Beach Waves, Explained

First things first, let’s get to the bottom of what exactly beach waves are. “Beach waves are defined as undone, natural-looking curls that have a bit of texture and volume,” says hairstylist Paul Labrecque.

Indeed, the beach wave is among the most requested hairstyle among professional stylists. Beach waves are an easy way to add interest to naturally straight hair or make short hair more fun.

It also enhances the natural curl pattern of wavy or curly hair that has been previously straightened.

Prepping your hair for perfect beach waves

The first step to creating beach waves is prep. “When you have the right products in your hair, it makes a difference in how your style will turn out and how long it will last,” says Paul.

He recommends using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to get your strands nice and full before styling. If you have a fine hair texture, this step is essential.

Apply a heat protectant throughout your strands once your hair is clean and conditioned. This step will help keep your hair healthy and prevent damage from heat styling if you choose to use hot tools.

5 Different Ways to Get Big Beachy Waves

The Pin Curl with Heat Method

Start by spraying your damp hair with a heat priming product, and then use a one inch curling iron to curl sections of hair away from your face. As you wind each section, twist the hair around your finger to create a loop and secure the ends with a bobby pin.

Repeat this process until all of your hair length is pinned, then let it cool completely before releasing the pins. Run your fingers through your curls for looser waves once your curls have cooled. Finish with a light mist of hairspray.

The Overnight Buns

If you have time to spare, this method is for you. Start by spraying your hair with a wave-enhancing product like Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion ($27). Section your hair and roll it into a bun. Secure each with a hair tie.

Leave your hair to air-dry, or let the buns stay overnight. Gently unravel in the morning for gorgeous waves, and add a few spritzes of texturizing spray. Voila! You’ve got overnight beach waves.

Headband beach waves

You can get beach waves with the headband method. Start by getting a piece of cloth (an old t-shirt cut into a long strip will do) long enough to wind around your head, like a headband. Great for gals with long hair!

Clip the middle part into the top of your head, then start winding your hair in sections around your head, like a crown. Repeat on the other side. This way, the loose beach wave looks like natural hair as the wave begins closer to your head.

Alternatively, you can achieve a beachy wave by starting to wind your hair around your nape instead of the side of your face. The perfect waves will then start from your chin to the ends and have a natural texture.

Braided Waves

This method is excellent if you’re short on time but still want long-lasting waves. Prep your dry hair with a product that helps form waves, like a curl mousse or lotion. Section hair into two-inch parts and braid.

The tighter you braid, the tighter the waves will be. You can add texture by braiding some sections loosely and others tightly. Secure each braid with an elastic and let your hair air dry or sleep on it overnight.

Remove the hair ties and gently scrunch through your waves to break them up in the morning. Set your loose waves with a mist of hair spray or sea salt spray for beach hair that won’t budge.

Use a curling iron/curling wand.

This is the common way to get classic beach waves, but it’s also the most time-consuming. Start curling by spraying your damp hair with a heat protectant. Use a medium barrel curling iron to curl one-inch sections of hair away from your face.

As you curl each section, twist the ends around the barrel of the curling iron to create spirals. Do this in alternate directions. Once all of your hair is curled, run your fingers through it to break up the shape and add volume. Give your hair a toss with a finishing spray, and you’re all set.

With this method, you can curl your mid-lengths and leave your ends straight for a more carefree look. You can also do this with a flat iron. A flat iron creates big beachy waves just like a big-barrel curling wand or curling iron does, but it takes practice to perfect.

There you have it! Five different ways to get beach waves. Try out one (or all) of these methods the next time you want to achieve this effortless look.

These methods work with most hair types so that everyone can create beach waves.

After the perfect styling tool to create this look? Check out our article on the best curling iron for beach waves.

Leah Williams

Leah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.

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