How To Get Beach Hair Without The Beach, Even When Your Straight Tresses Are Landlocked

This spring and summer, the wild and wavy look of beach hair is definitely in style, but how to get beach hair is another conversation entirely. If you're feeling lazy, or a little pressed for time, it's a style you'll be grateful for, because even with straight hair, these tousled textures are fairly easy to achieve. Of course, ladies with naturally loose waves and curls have a leg up on the rest of us when it comes to beach hair, but that's alright. Since I happen to be working with some pretty straight, long hair these days, I've compiled a few instructions on how to mimic the effect of a day spent seaside, without ever having to touch the sand.

Before diving into making waves (haha... eh... erm... excuse me), one consideration you'll want to make is whether you want to look full on mermaid, or a little more polished. Different techniques are going to give you either the subtle, wind blown look, the curly Birth of Venus painting effect, or an earnest wave. And, all of them take varying amounts of time, so planning ahead and knowing what your day entails will be worth your while. Because while the mermaid look is fun and relatively easy, it may not be suited for a full day at the office and drinks afterward — it's not an overly professional look, and in my experience, only gets more wild as time goes by (you know, like your college roommate after her sixth shot of Jägermeister).

However, some of the other beach hairstyles do have good staying power, and if planned right, can be changed throughout your day to add a bit of drama for a big reveal. So, here are a few methods for achieving amazing beach hair, from least prep-time to most.

Subtly Windblown

As I mentioned above, this look is pretty subtle, but also a lot of fun, and pretty easy to achieve. If you're just rolling out of bed and want to start your day with a look that's a bit different from your norm, give this baby a try.

Step 1

You'll want to start with unwashed hair, and depending on how oily your hair runs naturally, you may want to add a bit of dry shampoo in order to create a little extra volume up top. And take a moment to really enjoy massaging your scalp while you're up there. There's nothing like a good scalp massage first thing in the morning... Wait... What were we talking about? Oh, yeah, beach hair.

Step 2

From there, you'll spray a decent cover of sea salt spray over your hair and scrunch it into your locks, maintaining as much lift in your scrunching motion as possible. Then, let your hair dry naturally, and rock your wild mane.

Of course, this look requires the sea salt spray, which adds texture to your hair, and closely mimics the effect of being on a beach all day, since obviously, you're adding salt water directly to your hair. It does tend to feel a bit messy in my opinion, so maybe not the best for formal events, but great for a casual day out and about. And, if you find yourself using the sea salt spray often, remember to treat your hair to some deep conditioning, as overusing the salt can be harsh on your strands.

Another approach for achieving these subtle curls is by setting them with a low chignon. Doing so won't require any product beyond a little mousse, just a little pre-planning.

Step 1

After washing and combing your hair, add a bit of mousse to the length of your tresses, to ensure that the style will hold its shape for a while.

Step 2

Twist your hair into a clean, low chignon.

Step 3

Once your hair has dried, free it from your hair tie (and possibly bobby pins), and finger comb your hair so that the curls fall gently and smoothly.

The Mermaid

If you're looking for unruly ringlets with a lot of bouncy attitude, or wanting to achieve something a little more ethereal, this is a look you'll want to pursue. It takes a little bit longer to put together than the wild and windblown look, but it's not difficult, and chances are you already have the tools and products you'll need.

Step 1

Begin by washing and combing your wet hair. Let your hair dry naturally, or blowdry it to about 70 percent dry.

Step 2

Add a healthy amount of mousse to your locks, applying it by massaging it into your roots for lift and by scrunching the ends of your hair upwards.

Step 3

Flip your head upside down and continue to apply mousse, giving your hair some extra body.

Step 4

Depending on the length and weight of your hair, you may want to add some hairspray to ensure that the curls take. Keep scrunching and massaging your hair to create the big, loose curls.

Step 5

This is more than likely how your hair will look before it dries. It's a little lackluster initially, but as it dries, keep scrunching, and the curls will become more apparent.

Let your hair dry naturally. Then tousle to your taste. Enjoy!

The Wave

These classic waves are fairly easy to create, but they do require some setting time, so they're best for days when you can let your hair work while you sleep, or when you'd like to wear them for an evening event. An upside to making waves this way is that if you plan for it to set during the day, you can feature one daytime look, and one evening look, with little effort at all. This braid technique will give you nearly full length waves, depending on whether you make french braids beginning high in your roots, or standard braids, starting lower in your hair.

Step 1

Begin with wet, clean hair. Add a bit of mousse to the length of your tresses, to ensure that the style will hold its shape for a while.

Step 2

Part your hair and braid it into two (or more, if you want smaller waves) french braids, braiding all the way down the length of your hair. You can also pull your braids up into an updo for a more sophisticated look.

Step 3

Let you hair dry naturally over the next four to eight hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. If you have particularly thick hair, you may want to blow dry it a bit prior to braiding it, in order to shorten the amount of time you need to leave it contained.

Step 4

Once your hair has dried, unbraid it, and let your waves fall free. If you want to ensure your hold, give it a quick spritz of hairspray after you've finger combed through any tangles.

Pretty simple, right? The beach hair look is a fun way to keep your luscious locks summer friendly. Now all you have to do is find time to make it to the beach for real!

Images: Jen Schildgen