How To:
Beachy Waves

With summer just a few months away, beachy waves will become the style of choice for those of us who take refuge at the beach – and those of us who want to look as though we’ve spent the weekend with our head in the ocean. So, we asked celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, who has worked with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Emmy Rossum, and Lea Michele, and creator of the newest hair phenom, the Beachwaver, to offer up her tips on creating the perfect beachy waves.

“This look can range from naturally “scrunched hair” to gorgeous red carpet waves.  The “Beachy” look refers to a cool, undone wave that comes from a natural pattern, whether it is created with salt from the sea or from a 1″ curling iron.  The pattern of waves must go away from your face to look natural and sexy.  This is what separates gorgeous waves from banana curls!

To get the look:

1) Start by using a deep conditioner, like Aussie’s 3-Minute Miracle in the shower and combing through with a large-toothed comb.  This will allow you to towel-dry your hair without having to brush out your natural waves.  TIP: Using the towel and a setting mousse (or sugar water!) flip hair to one side and scrunch up with the towel to get the natural wave pattern started

2) Loosely Twist hair away from face on both sides and into 3 + buns (based on how tight you want the waves!), one on top for volume and the others on each side for movement.  TIP: Use large 2″ bobby pins to avoid kinks created by ponytail holders!  TIP: For best way to naturally dry, wear buns to sleep or place them close to the back for a “day to evening” look that can removed at night. 

3) To complete the look once dry, use the Beachwaver to enhance the wave pattern and add a more “polished” look.  TIP: By selecting left or right, this curling makes it easy to take flat natural waves to gorgeous “Giselle” waves by creating a more enhanced pattern by rotating for you!

“While teaching women how to create waves on their own hair, I would say “hold the iron upside down and wrap the hair backwards and away from the face”, but the directions seemed too complicated for such a simple style.  I had the idea to turn the iron around and have it rotate for you, going in both directions, to simply create gorgeous waves at home and so the idea for the beachwaver was born!  It was a true passion project for me and took two years to bring the idea from sketch to reality. ”

When it comes to hair type and texture, not all hair is created equal. So, we asked Sarah to give tips on how to make the wave for each type of hair:

Pin straight – The most important step to getting gorgeous waves that last on pin straight hair is the foundation!  The hair need a product with a strong polymer to lock in the style.  Try a product like Aussie’s Aussome Volume Spray Gel.  Spritz on damp hair before twisting into buns.
Super curly – To prep for super curly hair to have a soft wave, it is important to moisturize the hair with a heat protectant shine spray.  Then blowdry each section from the root to smooth out the kinks and polish the ends. Finish with a 1″ curling iron, like the Beachwaver, to really lock in the new wave pattern, and add an anti-frizz cream to lay the cuticle down and keep the look smooth!
Naturally wavy – Naturally wavy hair just needs a soft setting foundation, like a mousse + leave-in conditioner.  This will wave perfectly with a little towel drying and loose buns!
Thin hair – When working with thin hair, it is important to use a strong volumizing spray at the roots, but it needs to be blown out immediately to avoid product build-up and separation.  Using a round brush to smooth it out, along with the product, will lift the fine hair and add instant volume!
Thick hair – Prepping thick hair for waves is all about sectioning.  Separate the hair into smaller sections (or more buns!) when setting the hair.  To keep this style looking good, add a shine serum to reflect the light.


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  1. Becca @ The Beauty Sample
    April 26, 2012

    I SO need this thing. I love love love the look of beachy waves and, living in So-Cal, I feel like I SHOULD know how to create the perfect beach hair. But sadly, I don’t–I’ve tried many, many times and just cannot curl my hair to save my life. This tool looks awesome!

  2. Cate
    April 27, 2012

    This tutorial was sooo helpful! I can’t wait to try it out!

  3. Exactly the time i am looking something for my think hair for the upcoming summer, i normally don’t require/use the flat iron as i am already having beautiful think and straight hair so i don’t really need them :) BTW there are great flat irons for the rest of the people having my opposite hair LOL

  4. Dancerslovehair
    October 14, 2014

    loved it worked perfectly!!! have very thick hair and can’t wait to do it again!!! thanks!

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