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Style & Living Beauty

Everything You Need to Create Perfectly Imperfect Beach Waves

...even if the nearest beach is a 3-hour plane-ride away.

By Katherine Kluznik

 Styling your hair each morning should involve stepping out the door of your $60 million Malibu beach house, bounding through the powdery sand into the surf and emerging with perfectly tousled beach waves. Reality, though, more likely involves waking up from this fantasy scenario, realizing it was a just a dream, sighing, and heading to the bathroom to get your not-so-perfectly tousled bed-head sorted.

Transforming your hair into beachy tresses that look like you’re the proud owner of beach-front property, however, isn’t as difficult as it seems — if, that is, you approach your styling with an appropriately easy-breezy attitude. “There’s a timeless, carefree sexiness about beach waves. It’s not about the beach. It’s about what the beach represents — fun and freedom,” says hairstylist Fae Norris, of L.A.'s Neighborhood Salon, who shared with Most Wanted her five favorite products and tips for looking like you’ve just been splashing seaside, even if the nearest beach is a 3-hour plane ride away.

Verb Ghost Oil

Why Norris loves it: “Styling leads to thirsty hair. By putting a little oil down before doing anything else you’re giving your hair a protective drink — and for beachy hair this is particularly important. Water evaporating on the hair without an oil or cream will dry it out.

"My go-to is Verb Ghost Oil because it’s not greasy, only takes a couple pumps to provide hydration and it has a lovely scent. Unlike some oils, it’s not too heavy for fine hair and keeps waves and curls bouncy.

"It also mixes really well with salt sprays and clays to keep them from becoming drying or gritty.”

Pro tip: “Applying post-wash works really great, but I’ve found a workaround on non-wash days. First, get the hair just slightly damp (about 20 percent) using wet fingers or even a leave-in conditioner like the awesome Bumble and Bumble Tonic. Rub 2-3 pumps of Ghost Oil in your hands and twist a few 2-in. sections in alternating directions. From there, air dry or section hair (messily) into four to six twisted buns and secure until dry. The last step, which holds true of any beach wave, is to tousle!”

Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray

Why Norris loves it: “This is THE desert island hair product. It literally doubles the amount of hair for gals or guys who are fine or thinning, soaking up oil and transforming it into volume on day two or three. It also eliminates frizz on thicker textures while delivering the perfect beach hair for all. There are a lot of salt-water sprays on the market but this one takes the (vanilla-scented) cake."

Pro tip: “Just a few sprays at the roots, on wet or dry hair, hitting it with a blow dryer (using a diffuser attachment [below] to minimize frizz) while twisting and scrunching will deliver the biggest, beachiest results on all hair lengths and types.”

Kevin.Murphy Easy Rider

Why Norris loves it: “Along with your chosen salt spray, a bit of this cream works wonderfully on both wet and dry hair. It strengthens, brings out curls and adds definition and shine. Another upside is that it’s great for your hair. This is one we can’t keep on the shelves.”

Pro tip: “Cocktail it in your hands with a few pumps of salt spray and twist random sections of the hair in alternating directions while scrunching. Bam! Perfectly imperfect beach hair.”

Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser

Why Norris loves it: “What I love about the Bio Ionic Diffuser is that it fits the widest variety of dryers, is lightweight, and doesn't pop off when it gets too hot. It also dries hair extra fast with minimal frizz. When used with the right products, even the straightest of strands will morph into the bounciest of waves.”

Pro tip: “If big hair and volume is the goal, flip your head upside down and dry the roots first. Avoid brushing or raking the hair with your fingers. If you break up the waves and curls, frizz can be the result.

"Here’s a trick that works great if you’re strapped for time in the morning or are trying to limit the heat styling: Wash hair at night and air-dry as much as possible before hitting the pillow. In the morning, give it a few sprays of leave-in conditioner, water and salt spray. Shape into place by twisting in different directions, then hit it with the diffuser for a few minutes. You’re good to go."

BaBylissPro Nano Titanium 1-1/4-in. Curling Iron

Why Norris loves it: “Stop me if I gush, but I LOVE this product. It's got a plethora of heat settings, which makes it safe and effective for just about everyone, and it's a fantastic value. It will last forever and a day with straight-up abuse.

"I find the 1 1/4-in barrel size to be perfect for curling, smoothing, flipping and beach waving. Catch a tutorial on YouTube and you can learn to recreate anything from old-school Hollywood glamour to '80s hair-band mullets.

"I keep one at home, one at work, and have travelled around the world with it. It also turns into a great microphone when you’re singing in front of the mirror.”

Pro tip: “After air drying or diffusing, many people experience either flat spots or frizz. The easiest way to spiff it up is to curl it back, forward, run a few ends under, and maybe leave a few out. 

"Try wrapping a couple of tendrils around the barrel, starting with the root and smoothing it out with your fingers a bit while it’s still warm. Even just four to six well-placed waves will bring some intention, definition and shine to the style. A quick, light hand looks the beachiest. Randomness is the key.  

"If you already have some curl, try sliding a few sections through. Starting at the root will soften a wave and deliver some shine. I personally like to straighten the pieces around the face and cheeks a bit, but this is a tool that lets you do you. Highly recommended."

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