Don't let Instagram fool you: those effortless "I woke up like this" beach waves require some work. Luckily, there are easy methods you can use at home to create that textured and tousled look, without actually going to the beach. For celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon, Ryan Trygstad, a great beach wave strikes the balance between preparation and products.
"Creating beach waves at home is all about prepping the hair with product and using a diffuser or letting hair air dry before adding texture with an iron or curling wand," he explains. "The more irregular random waves that result from air drying and ironing are what makes the hair look beachy. A few straight ends here and there and casual, wavy pieces throughout."
Not all beach waves are made equal. But Trygstad, who counts celebs like Emma Roberts and Laura Dern as clients, has a simple criteria. "Beach waves would be described as an elongated wave," he adds. "The shape of the wave usually follows a more natural wave pattern with straighter ends. The style should like you’ve dipped in the ocean and dried your hair in the sun."
Ahead, Trygstad breaks down his favorite easy ways to achieve beach waves.
Flat iron braids.
One of the quickest ways to get an easy wave is with a flat iron. Start off by creating two three-strand braids and secure with hair ties. "Using a flat iron on the medium heat setting, press the iron open and closed along the braid, working from the top-bottom," Trygstad advises.
Use a wave iron.
The Beach Waver is a favorite tool to create waves. "Its unique design creates more of an elongated wave versus a curl," Trygstad explains. "Use a lightweight, matte hair spray, like R+Co. Outer Space sprayed throughout before ironing."
Grab your curling iron.
Trygstad's favorite method is using a good ol' curling iron. "I like to diffuse the hair first and then add beach waves with a curling wand. 1 1/4 is my favorite size curling iron-a bigger iron will prevent the hair from getting too curly. I love using Apres Beach by Oribe, Cold-pressed Watermelon Spray by R+Co or Bumble and Bumble Surf." For a quick beachy look, take two-inch, large sections to create loose waves. "This is also a great way to bring dimension in hair color to life," he adds.
Sleep on it.
Get waves with no heat or damage. Before bedtime, divide hair into two braids and secure with hair ties. Sleep and release braids in the morning. "Braiding hair before bed will add texture while you sleep," Trygstad says.