Loose waves, soft waves, beachy waves...whatever you know them as, this wavy hair look is one of the most coveted hairstyles, and for good reason: they look effortless, cool, and sophisticated all at the same time. It's also a hairstyle that works on most hair types and lengths–yep, even short hair or mid-length hair–another reason for its popularity.
The funny part: it actually takes a little bit of work to get this ultimate “effortless cool girl” hairstyle. Just like the “no makeup makeup” look, it’s all about technique and using the right tools and products. Daunted? Don't be–we've got you covered. Keep reading for everything you’ll need and an easy hair stylist-approved step-by-step tutorial for getting romantic, loose waves in no time.
Before you start styling, it’s important to have all of your products and tools handy:
A Leave-in Conditioner: When hair is hydrated, it always looks healthier, shinier, and bouncier. Use a leave-in conditioner, like IPSY editor favorite CAKE BEAUTY Mane Manage'r 3 in 1 Leave In Conditioner, to detangle and nourish wet hair. We love how lightweight this one is: it's perfect for even fine hair or coarser curly hair.
Heat Protectant: Protecting your hair from heat damage is another key way to keep your hair healthy and prevent dryness and dullness. ALTERNA HAIRCARE Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Leave-In Heat Protection Spray is a great option—in addition to preventing damage, the included caviar extract (fancy!) helps strengthen strands and seal hair’s cuticle. Plus, it reduces frizz and is safe for color-treated hair.
A Round Brush: Before you get to curling, you’ll want to blow dry your hair with a good round brush to add texture and movement. F.A.R.A.H BRUSHES Round Hair Brush is a good one to try—it’s an ideal size and has a non-slip handle for more control and a better grip when smoothing strands.
Sectioning Clips: When both blow-drying and curling hair, you need to work on one small section at a time for the best results. CAKE BEAUTY The Grip Clip Dry Styling Hair Clips help you pull the rest of your hair up and away so you can focus on the section at hand.
A 1.3-1.5 Inch Curling Iron: A good curling iron is essential to getting the perfect loose waves. FOXYBAE Rose Gold 7 in 1 Curling Wand lets you customize your curls by including multiple size barrels for different looks. For this look, you want a medium size barrel (1.3-1.5 inches) to create loose curls (using a smaller one would give you tighter curls). And anything bigger than that will just create body in your hair, not actual waves.
Now onto the good stuff: how to actually create this super-desirable style. Breno Miranda, a stylist at Mizu Louis Licari Salon in New York City, shared some tricks to get it right.
Apply leave-in conditioner all over damp strands, especially mid-shaft to ends, to detangle and hydrate your hair.
Gently spritz a heat protectant onto your hair and keep this product handy. You’ll want to continue to spray onto each section throughout the process as you blow dry and then curl, since you're using a lot of heat to style.
Rough dry hair with a blowdryer and your fingers, flipping your head over to get all the hair underneath dry as well. Once your hair is mostly dry, take a round brush and blow dry small sections of your hair at a time to smooth it out. Make sure your hair is fully dry before moving on to the next step.
Take your sectioning clips and section out the top, sides, and back of your hair. You’ll want to curl hair in sections that are approximately 1.5 inches thick.
Starting with the bottom layer, twirl a section of your hair around the iron away from your face, while holding the iron at a 45 degree angle downward. Make sure to leave the last inch or two at the end out of the iron to keep the waves natural looking, says Miranda. Hold for about 10 seconds and release that section. Continue this method with other sections from the bottom layer, then sides and last, the top and front sections of hair.
Once hair has cooled, shake your head a little to loosen up waves and get some movement in your style. For a more beachy textured look, use a texture spray, like EVA NYC Surf's Up! Texture Spray, all over strands and gently run your fingers through the curls to break them up slightly. If you want to keep the look slightly more polished, use a flexible hold hairspray, like R+CO Outer Space Flexible Hairspray, to set the style.
Are you a loose waves fan? Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take the beauty quiz now to get started. And don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.