In theory, a beachy wave is one of the world’s easiest, most fuss-free styles. But in reality, it takes a little finessing to get the tousled look just right (unless you’re born really, really lucky). Enter Herbal Essences celebrity stylist Charles Baker Strahan. After the Grammys, Strahan taught us some quick tricks for better-looking loose waves. These three are super easy to replicate at home.
First start with some mousse, which helps “hold wave as your hair goes from wet to dry,” says Strahan. His technique for applying it gets the ideal amount of product at your scalp versus your ends. It goes like this: dispense a little into your palm, and rub hands together lightly. Then, rather than rubbing your product-coated palms all over your scalp, use your palms as reservoirs, and dip your fingertips in. Use the bit on fingertips to massage mousse in at the scalp, and as you pull the hands through toward ends, let more of the product (from the palms) coat the ends. Strahan recommends Herbal Essences NAKED Volumizing Soufflé ($6.99), which gives hold without weighing down locks.
All you need to try this move is a curling iron. Take a strand of hair (about 1 to 1.5 inches wide) and, holding the iron vertically, wrap around the barrel of the iron. Don’t use the clamp. Hold for a few seconds, then release. At this point, your strand is probably a little springier than you want it to be, so while it’s still hot, pull it gently down for a few seconds. Voilà! Less coil action. Repeat around the head, until you’re happy with the effect. For a more punk-rock feel, leave the very ends of hair loose in the wrap-around-the-barrel step.
This technique takes advantage of the basic properties of heat styling. More specifically, explains Strahan, the fact that “heat changes the shape of the hair, and coolness sets it there.” To do it, start with dry hair, brush out lightly, and spritz with a flexible-hold styling spray. Using a curling iron, follow the same method described above: wrap a small section around the barrel, skipping the clamp, and hold for few seconds. After releasing, re-coil hair by wrapping around your fingers, until it’s sort of collapsed on its side, against the scalp. Pin into place. Repeat until all hair is set, and keep it there until locks are completely cool to the touch (it won’t take long!). Let it down, spritz again with light-hold styling or hair spray, and—if you want a more polished, uniform wave—brush through lightly.
Try one, two, or all three for perfect waves! And if you try two and three and find that your hair isn’t holding the wave as well as you want, Strahan has a simple fix: “try an iron with a smaller barrel.”
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