beachy waves and not so beachy waves

messy “beach waves” are clearly all the rage right now. so it’s no surprise that pinterest seems to be filled with tutorials on how to get these waves. there are quite a few unconventional methods, but which of these actually work?

i tested a bunch until i found something that worked! (disclaimer- all hair is very different so this was what worked/didn’t work for my hair)

i didn’t actually follow how does she‘s tutorial exactly, but i drew inspiration from the natural beach curls technique.

  • i started with wet hair (straight out of the shower). i liberally applied some of my favorite product on earth (sold at sephora)

  • i divided my hair into pieces and twisted it until it naturally started to spiral. i then pinned all the spirals. (note: the bigger the sections of hair the loser your waves will be)

  • i let the spirals air dry (because i had a long car ride ahead of me and a few hours before i needed to be anywhere), but you could easily blow them dry to expedite the process. after taking the pins out, my hair looked like this (and i was seriously worried)
  • i flipped my hair over and picked through the curls with my fingers. resulting in this:

  • the best part? a few hours later my hair looked just as great (if not better)

but let’s not forget, i tried several other techniques first that did not work so well for me:

1- the most simple method i tried was from pretty gossip. the tutorial for gorgeous soft waves with no heat looked super easy and the best part is it required no harsh heat! however, i found it was way too good to be true. i don’t even have pictures because there was nothing to show but a stringy mess (my hair doesn’t do well when i leave it down to air dry so playing with it while it was air-drying only exacerbated the problem). gorgeous soft waves? not so gorgeous.

UPDATE: i failed to notice that this technique is meant for already curly hair.

2- keeping with the no heat techniques i tried the paper mama‘s headband tutorial next. again, i unfortunately don’t have pictures of this slightly more successful attempt either. i found this somewhat worked, but it definitely didn’t create the beautiful curls she pictured. a few things to note about this technique.

  • i tried this once with my hair wet and only the sides dried (almost) by morning so you should definitely do it with dry hair
  • as to be expected the curls start wherever you place the headband. this looks great from the front, but the curls started really low in the back! (since the headband sits so low in the back). i found it created an odd shape
  • the curls are VERY irregular with a definite kink where the headband was

UPDATE: after finding this headband from lululemon, i decided to give this technique another try. as noted before, my biggest issues with this were how low the curls started in the back and the line the headband created. i figured the two pieces to the headband would help break up this line and hopefully help me get more of the top half of my hair curled.

as you can see, i sectioned off half of my hair so that it went under the first part of the band and over the second. this allow me to create 2 rows of curls.

i unfortunately didn’t capture the final result (i will make sure to update if i do this again). the headband made a huge difference. much more of my hair was curled. i still didn’t get the “waves” above that i was going for (it was still more of bouncy curls than beachy waves). however, i got lots of compliments on how much body my hair had that day. i would definitely recommend this technique if you are looking for messy curls.

3- i refer to this technique as the one the spread like wild fire. i’ve seen this same picture a million (ok i might exaggerate a little) times. in this technique oh so pretty tried something she had seen on pinterest (similar to us). her review (“i think this method worked okay”) was actually pretty spot on, but i guess most people pin it before reading it.

here’s what i did:

  • braided my hair loosely (bigger braids are better)

  • twisted the braid away from my face and applied heat using my straightener (i clamped the straightener on the twist, unclamped, rotated slightly, clamped again, and repeated)
  • after applying heat to the entire twist in a rotating clamp motion i released the twist to find an awkwardly kinked braid


  • after separating out my hair i had the final result – frizzy, inconsistent, kinky “waves” on the bottom half of my hair (some might appreciate this look but it definitely wasn’t what i was going for and it didn’t last long)

4- the next technique i tried on my quest for beachy waves was very similar. only the wonder forest’s tutorial for messy chunky beach waves require you twist your hair into a spiral twist before applying heat using a straightener

i really liked the volume that these waves created. however, i still felt the waves were really inconsistent. for some reason these didn’t last nearly as long as when i let my hair dry in the spirals. within a few hours you couldn’t even tell i had curled it.

6 thoughts on “beachy waves and not so beachy waves

  1. Hi! It’s Pretty Gossip~
    So glad you found my hair tutorial, so sad it didn’t work for you. 😦 Looks like you have straight hair, which is probably why it didn’t work for you. My tutorial was really meant for people who just wanted to enhance their existing waves. I was born with naturally straight hair (currently have a perm which is why my hair is wavy), so I understand the frustration! I’ve tried all the other methods you tried and they don’t result in pretty curls… BUT I have a solution! It’s how I used to give my hair waves without heat (before my perm). I’ll do a tutorial for that soon, so be sure to visit again! xoxo.

  2. oh no. i don’t know how i missed that. i must not have read carefully. please let me know when you post your tutorial for no heat (no perm) waves! i’d love to try it and update.

  3. I LOVE YOU for posting this!!! I’ve tried for YEARS to get my hair to stay curly – even somewhat wavy – and always failed. The twisting is perfect. I’ve done it 2 days in a row and gotten so many compliments. And it lasts all day. And doesn’t damage your hair. Genius. Thanks for your demo!!!

  4. You know what I’ve noticed? (And, not gonna lie, this is from picking up fiber arts in the past few years and blocking things- it’s the same principle!) Heat does not work for any kind of styling that you want to last any amount of time. To get any kind of texture to “stick”, hair needs to be wet and then dry the way you want it to look (hence your results with the air-dried twists and sleeping on just-washed-braids, both of which I’ve used in the past for pretty good results, and my hair is down-to-my-butt long, heavy, and stick straight). I think someone told me somewhere that hair has no memory until it’s about 90% dry, and THEN what you do matters.

    Keep on with your Pinterest-testing self!

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