The 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – the first show that was broadcast to the public – featured models such as Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks with long, jet-straight hair. But as the show grew in scale and popularity, the one hairstyle that constantly stood out throughout the years was the enviable beachy waves that the models would sport walking down the glittered runway, with the wind in their hair.
Victoria’s Secret even had an official hair tool called the Beachwaver S1 (a rotating curling iron) created by celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa who founded the hair tool company, Beachwaver Co., in the 2015 edition of the Fashion Show. That shows how iconic the beachy waves look is.
Here are three ways to get that effortless-looking (we say that because achieving the look requires some serious effort) glamorous waves.
1. Get a perm
Beachy waves run the gamut from loose waves to tighter curls, so you need to choose the correct perm depending on how tight you want your curls to be. For a softer look with looser curls, Japanese perms are the way to go. If you want more voluminous hair, go for a Korean perm.
These are the two more common perms to help you get beachy waves – there are others as well, depending on what the salon offers. But because how a perm turns out depends on many factors such as the texture and condition of your hair, the skill of your hairdresser, the type of perming solution used, and even the temperature used to perm your hair, you should have a clear consultation with your hairdresser before committing to the treatment.
2. Braid your hair
If you’re looking for a less permanent way to get beachy waves, braiding your hair and keeping them in place for an hour, or better yet, overnight, will help you achieve those loose, beachy curls. We find that braiding the hair while it’s damp yields more defined curls – but you should dry your hair roots and scalp before braiding, because dampness can cause scalp irritation and encourage bacterial and fungal growth.
The best way is to blow-dry the roots of your hair and scalp, then braid your hair, then blow-dry everything before going to bed. You should also apply a lightweight styling cream before sectioning your hair and braiding them – the styling cream will help hold the curls, and more sections usually mean tighter-looking curls.
After you take out the hair ties the next morning, run your fingers through your hair and scrunch a light hair wax into the ends to help with the texture and hold. Spritz on some hairspray to keep flyaways at bay and to prevent midday frizziness.
3. Tong your hair
It’s the most reliable way to get defined and runway-worthy beachy waves, but it also requires the most effort – and loads of practice before you can do it right.
Use a heated tong and wrap sections of your hair around the curler. The curls should spiral away from your face at the sides to frame your face better. If the curls spiral inwards, towards your face, it can make your face look bigger and shorter because of the volume and shape it creates. For the rest of your hair, you can work the spiral in whichever direction feels more intuitive to you. Once you’ve got the curls in place, work some hair wax and finger comb through to create texture and to hold the curls in place.
Or you could just get the Beachwaver S1 (if you’re going to the US, or if you get someone there to bring it back to you, because they don’t ship internationally) which makes achieving the sexy curls look like a walk in the park. Don’t believe? Watch this video where celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa shows you just how easy it is to recreate the look.