how to

beach wave fails and how to avoid them

vintage hair salon
model posing
Becca King
Community Manager

Beach waves are to summer what florals are to spring, not groundbreaking, but essential nonetheless. I have spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to perfect this inherently imperfect, supposedly “effortless” style. Searching for wavy hair hacks that are a greater time suck than curling your hair in the traditional sense has become common practice, and our inner DIY-savvy hair stylists fall down a YouTube tutorial rabbit hole trying to fix something that isn’t broken. For proof of the phenomenon, see the many “messy bun” tutorials on the internet, or anyone who has made wine ice cubes to cook with because breaking out a measuring cup is too difficult or conventional. In my opinion, a hair “hack” should not be more time consuming than the original ritual, but I’ll admit the novelty factor is enticing. I’ve made the mistake of rejecting my ancient hairspray-coated crimper and flat iron (yes, you CAN curl your hair with a straightener) in favor of complicated sock curls, and an array of styling products I didn’t know how to use. Spoiler alert - it wasn’t worth it. Allow me, the ghost of hair mistakes past, to walk you through the cringe inducing styles I’ve proudly worn in public, and how I’ve managed to redeem myself.

    Sock Curls

    How to: Section hair and mist with water. Take a small section and twist from root to end. Wrap the strand of hair you twisted around a sock as if it were a traditional hair curler. Tie the sock into a knot around hair to hold in place. Repeat until your entire head is wrapped and wear overnight. If you're a visual person, check out this video.

    To this day, I blame this hack for my obscene abundance of socks seeing as long hair will require at least 5 on each side of the head. That being said, the process of creating each wrap curl was no faster than using a curling wand. The theoretical plus side to this technique is that there is no heat necessary, but whoever is afraid to use heat obviously hasn’t tried The Shield. In the creator’s defense, the socks are more comfortable to sleep on than traditional plastic curlers, but I found them limiting because the sections of hair had to be extremely small for the curl to hold. The frizzy, spiral curls this hack gave me were reminiscent of a Shirley Temple running through the Amazon.


    How to: Time to lay out every styling product you think you know how to use. Spray either a mousse or hair gel (or both) into the palm of your hand and work through damp or dry hair from roots to tips. Once there desired texture is achieved, finish with a strong hold hairspray. Don’t let go of the nossel until your hair is crunchy. If your strands feel like pins and needles, congratulations, you’ve mastered the style.

    In my opinion, “scrunching” your hair was the precursor to the high-fashion wet hair look. If someone would have told my 13-year-old self to comb my hair back with all of the product I had in it, I would have had the same style as all of the Kardashian women. In an interview with Byrdie, Nick Arrojo of Arrojo NYC said "A good wet look combines beachy vibes, grungy toughness, and eye-catching shine," so you can imagine how scrunching became the wet look’s ugly step-sister.

    Sea Salt Sprays

    How to: Spray into dry hair until desired texture is achieved...then tie hair back because you can’t stand the feeling of salt against your face.

    Speaking as someone who grew up on the east coast, I feel obligated to say that showering after a day at the beach feels good for a reason - you get to purge your skin and hair of sea salt. To apply salt voluntarily brings me back to the days of lying on the floor, coated in sunscreen, waiting for my turn to get in the shower. The only exception? amika’s Bushwick Beach no-salt wave spray.

    As a self-declared maximalist and beauty junkie, I have to make a conscious effort to simplify my routine and reject these questionable techniques. The amika High Tide Deep Waver has replaced a combination of mousses, gels, and beach sprays that I would use to create the same look without heat. One step, no frills, same look. I’ve also accomplished a similar look using a simple 1" curling wand, holding sections of hair for no more than 10 seconds, then passing my fingers through to break up the curls. If I want more texture and grit, I will use the Un.Done volume and matte texture spray to finish. The best part of this look is that the longer the day goes on and the messier it gets, the more natural it looks. So here I am, promising to keep a simple look simple (shocker).

    Here’s to knowing better.

    By Dayna Lawrence, The Strand Contributor
    Images Via Pinterest

    posted: 07/24/2019last modified: 07/24/2019