Beach waves. What’s not to love about them, right? They’re the perfect balance between straight and curly that adds movement and volume to your hair while drawing attention to your cheekbones and eyes. So gorgeous, and all you need to create this beautiful look is a curling or flat iron!

Whether you have long locks or are rocking a short bob, curling and flat irons can get you those beautiful waves in no time, leading to an effortless look that you can flaunt just as comfortably at the beach as you can on a date night.

If you’re wondering how to get beach waves with a curling iron or a flat iron, you’re in the right place! Here’s a guide to achieving those perfect waves with your styling tools.

How to Get Beach Waves with a Curling Iron

Your curling iron is the easiest and most obvious choice for those effortless waves. Before getting started, though, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools in your armory—after all, the right tools get you the best results!

What You’ll Need

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • A Curling Wand or Iron: For the best curls, use a 25-millimeter wand or a 1-inch curling iron. This size is the “one size fits all”, working just as well on long, heavy hair as it does on short, light hair.

If you’re long haired and worried that the small wand will give you tight curls, fret not! You can simply run your fingers through the curls to loosen/break them up.

  • Sectioning Clips: When curling your hair, you’re going to be working in sections. Unless you’ve magically figured out how to work with all that hair getting in the way, you’ll need clips to hold back your sectioned-off hair.
  • Texture Spray: Texture sprays are dry, volumizing sprays that add texture and grit to your hair. These sprays are heaven sent for all our fine-haired friends, letting you achieve the curls you want without weighing down your hair, while also adding definition and keeping away the frizz.

You can also use texture sprays to refresh your curls between wash days—and some of them also smell so good!

  • Hairspray: Hairspray isn’t compulsory, but it certainly makes a difference to the result. Using hairspray will set your curls and prevent humidity and moisture from frizzing up those curls you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
  • Beach Wave Spray: Instead of a texture spray, you can opt for a beach wave spray. This is essentially just sea salt spray that adds texture and volume to your curls, making you look like you just got out of the ocean after a quick dip.

Now that we have everything we need, here’s how to go about creating those curls.

Prep Your Hair

Just like an artist preps their canvas, your hair needs to be prepped for the best results. Make sure your hair is completely dry.

The waves turn out best when your hair is blow-dried straight; you can use a paddle brush to make sure the ends don’t flip out too much. This way, you can even leave a couple of inches of the ends out of the curling, resulting in a more natural, messy, and effortless look.

Section Your Hair

As mentioned earlier, sectioning your hair is important as that ensures you’re getting every part of it. Create small sections, working your way up from the bottom of your neck. For thick hair, about four or five sections will do.

Curling Your Hair

Now, onto the main part—curling your hair.

We’ve found that waves look best when you create them in alternate directions, starting with waves curling away from your face. Remember to leave out a couple of inches from the ends of these sections for that effortless, undone look.

For this, you’ll need a straight blowout, as mentioned earlier, but if you can’t achieve this, use the curling iron all the way to the end. Then, pull out the last section of your hair while it’s still clamped in the curler. This helps straighten the ends out a bit.

You could start curling your hair at the top of your head first, close to the roots, for a better hold. Clamp mid-way up the hair section and start curling towards the root.

Loosening Your Curls

Once you’ve worked your way all around your head, finger-comb your curls. The aim is to break up the curls as much as possible; not doing this will leave you with tight, defined, showy curls.

Don’t use a brush, though—this will break up your curls too much and also cause your hair to frizz up.

Sealing the Deal

Finish off your waves with whichever products you prefer. We recommend going with the texture spray and following it up with the beach wave spray.

When using the texture spray, spray from the roots to mid-way down your hair for a light hold and matte texture. Allow your hair to dry before you spritz it with your beach spray. This will leave you with shiny, well-separated waves.

When you want to refresh your curls, simply use the texture spray again as you did the first time to reintroduce volume and definition.

How to Get Beach Waves with a Flat Iron

Sometimes, though you want the perfect beach waves, a curling iron may not be the way to go—they can be annoying and time consuming!

That’s when flat irons come to the rescue. Not only are they easier to use but they absolutely nail the “I just woke up with these curls” look.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need pretty much the same things that you needed for creating waves with a curling iron, except, of course, you’ll need a flat iron instead of a curler! A 1.25-inch iron works for all hair lengths.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to use heat protectant spray so that your hair doesn’t suffer heat damage.

Here’s how you can create beach waves with a flat iron.

Prep Your Hair

Beach waves are best created with a flat iron on dry hair. If you’re using it, now is also the time to apply your heat protectant spray. Make sure you spray completely from the roots to the ends.

Section Your Hair

Just as we did with the curling iron, we’re going to section hair. Create a section with the hair on top of your head and clip this up. Next, create a section that extends from one ear tip to the other and clip this up as well. Finally, create a section at the nape.

There’s no hard and fast rule to creating sections—you can create as many as you want and work your way up from the nape to the crown instead of working your way down. If you’ve got thick hair or want more defined curls, you will need to create more sections.

If you haven’t sprayed your heat protectant on yet, you can do so now. In fact, the sections will make it easier to cover ground.

Curling Your Hair

Hold your iron parallel to the section of hair you’re working on. Pass the section through the open iron. We’re not yet closing the iron—merely passing the hair through at this point.

Flip the iron 180 degrees while it’s still open. Working your way down your hair, close your iron gently. At this point, remember that if you’re working your way down fast, you’re going to end up with lesser curls, and vice versa. Additionally, if you’ve got thick, stubborn hair, you may need to apply sufficient tension to create waves.

Keep repeating the close-open-flip all the way to the ends of your hair. Repeat this with each section. While curling, think about whether you want the curls facing away from your face or toward it and factor this in while curling.

It’s okay to not work too much on the sections at the crown. This only adds to the messy look. Focus on the part from mid-way to the end.

Loosening Your Curls

Just as we did with our curling curls, we’re going to break our flat iron curls with a bit of finger-combing. Rake your fingers through your hair to break up the curls and give your hair a more tousled, beachy look.

Again, remember not to use a brush.

Sealing the Deal

To keep your waves intact for as long as possible, seal them with hairspray or texture spray, followed by sea salt spray.

Tips for Creating the Perfect Waves

  • Start with dry hair and a straight blowout for the best results.
  • Leave a couple of inches at the ends of your hair uncurled for the perfect beachy look.
  • Always work with sectioned hair. Make as many sections as you need.
  • Use a heat protectant spray to protect your hair from heat damage caused by your curling wand or flat iron.
  • If you’ve got very fine hair, prep your hair with some dry shampoo.
  • If you’re crunched for time, start with braided hair. Spritz this with heat protectant spray and run your flat iron over your braid a few times. Undo your braid et voila! Perfectly crimped beach waves.
  • To protect your waves and make sure they don’t disappear overnight, create loose pin curls with inch-wide sections of your hair and use bobby pins to keep them in place. Gently remove these when you wake up and you’ll find your waves nearly intact.

Beach waves are so ridiculously easy to create and so ridiculously gorgeous! With enough practice, you can create these waves in as little as 7-10 minutes. So, beach day or date night, whip out your curling wand or flat iron and get to creating those perfect beach waves.