I was not blessed with Victoria’s Secret Angel hair. In fact, in its natural state, my hair is painfully boring – not too straight, but not quite wavy enough to be interesting. It just kind of hangs there looking sad. It took me years (and a fair amount of trial-and-error) to figure out how to create the right amount of volume and style in my fine, limp hair, but I’ve finally gotten quite comfortable creating these loose beach waves. And today, I’ll show you how you can too.
Now, remember, my hair is naturally very bland and not altogether too cooperative, so I find that I need to keep a few tricks up my sleeve. My can’t-live-without styling products are this heat protectant (which not only guards your hair against hot styling tools, but also helps it hold a style), and this hair iron (this affordable curler is an industry standard). The other products in my arsenal are a good sea salt spray to create some texture if you hair isn’t quite “dirty” enough, a decent hair spray (I’m always switching it up and trying new ones), and curl clips to hold the curls until they cool.
Step 1: I plug in and turn on my iron. I use either my 1” or my 1 ¼” curling iron, depending on how loose I want my curls. For this tutorial, I’m using my 1 ¼” iron. I style with pretty high heat, but it’s best for your hair to use the lowest heat possible that will still allow it to hold a curl. My boring hair is stubborn, so I have to crank the heat up. If you’re not sure what setting you need, start on a lower heat. You can always turn it hotter if you find your style isn’t holding.
Step 2: Ideally, I’ll start with what my hair stylist calls “Day Old Dirty Hair.” I find that if I style with squeaky clean hair, it doesn’t hold as well. But don’t worry – that’s where a good sea salt spray comes in handy. I spritz this on my hair (wet or dry) and tousle it through my strands until my hair has some grab to it.
Step 3: Then, I section off the top half of my hair and clip it up out of the way so I can concentrate on the bottom half.
Step 4: I spritz my absolute favorite Iron Guard Heat Protectant all over the bottom portion of my hair and let it sit for a minute.
Step 5: Then, I start with 1”-2” sections of hair and wrap it around the curling iron. I start curling several inches down my hair shaft and leave out the last few inches by the ends as well. This keeps my style looking wavy and not overly curly. For my face-framing strands, I wrap away from my face and hold for several seconds until I feel that my hair is hot to the touch. Without dropping the curl, I remove my curling iron and clip the curl in place using these curl clips. If your hair is more responsive to heat styling, you may not need to clip your curls in place. I find that my hair will hold a curl much longer if I let it cool while in the clips.
I realized after shooting this tutorial that I hold the curling iron in the STRANGEST position, but there’s a method to my madness. I find my curls are shaped best at this ridiculous angle. Like I said, lots of trial-and-error!
Step 6: I, then, grab the next 1”-2” section and wrap around the curling iron again, this time wrapping toward my face. I clip it in place, and continue around the lower portion of my hair until all the hair is curled, alternating wrapping away from and toward my face.
Step 7: Before moving to the next section, I dust my hair with a light amount of hairspray.
Step 8: Next, I let down the middle portion of my hair, reserving one last strip down the center of my hair in a clip (this is the “Mohawk” section). Styling this separately helps me get a little extra boost of volume. I curl this mid-section the same way I did the bottom portion, always remembering to curl the face-framing hair away from my face.
Step 9: Finally, I work on the top section, curling and clipping the same way as before.
Step 10: Once all the hair is up in clips, I do one more dusting of hairspray, enjoying the fact that I look a little crazypants.
Step 11: I like to allow my hair to cool in these crazy looking helpful curl clips for a few minutes. I’ll use this time to get dressed or do my makeup. Once my hair has cooled, I carefully remove each clip, starting with the bottom section and working my way around and up.
Step 12: Once my hair is free from all clips, I do one final blast of hairspray (I told you my hair was stubborn, right? And with this Miami humidity, it’s an unfortunate necessity).
Step 13: Lastly, I tousle my hair a bit to rough it up. I’m careful not to comb my fingers through my hair, as that will break up the curls and start to look frizzy. This is the part where I get to do my favorite Taylor Swift meets Willow Smith hair flip. I probably enjoy this step a little too much. (“I whip my hair back and forth…”) Were you singing along with me? This is why we’re friends.
That’s it! If I can boost a little life into my lame, limp hair, you definitely can too!
Was this tutorial helpful? Think you can try it out on your own? Have any helpful tips, tricks, or products to share with me?
Soon, I’ll share a tutorial of how I achieve these loose waves with a flat iron, so make sure you check back often! Better yet, have you signed up to be the first to hear about my updates and exclusive promos? Subscribe and you’ll never miss a post! Thanks so much for reading and following along with me!
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Photos by Stephanie Pernas, A Sparkle Factor