Perfect White Tee: Everlane’s Cotton Box Cut Pocket Tee (Runs TTS, but it’s cropped, FYI! I’m also obsessed with their cotton v-neck, it’s my favorite tee, hands down! I’ll be doing a full post comparing a bunch of white tees soon!) Jeans: Abercrombie (yes, another pair that is my newest obsession! I can’t be stopped! Their jeans are TOO GOOD! I also have the high-waisted skinnies in dark wash and they are truly magical pants.) Sunnies: Ray Ban (these are the 53mm, they also come in a smaller 50mm size!) Lipstick: NARS in Apoline
If you’ve been hanging out with me for awhile, you know that I am VERY much a hair minimalist. Most of this stems from pure laziness, and the other part is due to the fact that I’m a freak about keeping my hair damage-free. The best way to do this is to avoid over-processing it, so I stay away from hair dryers as much as possible and keep my hot tool usage to a minimum whenever I can. Plus, I love the look of easy, messy beach waves. You know what a Francophile I am–is there anything more French girl than a messy, perfectly imperfect bedhead?
Anyway, being the major air-drying advocate that I am, I’ve received a TON of questions on exactly HOW I do the whole air drying thing. Many of you say your hair looks too frizzy, gets too tangled, gets too flat, or dries in ridiculous directions. (I feel you!)
I’m happy to report–I think this method will change your life!
Now, I cannot take credit for all of these tips I’m about to share–I actually learned the “braid” method from my friend Meg. I send everyone over to her tutorial because it’s amazing and I have to give credit where credit is due–thank you Meg for sharing this with all of us! If you have thin or fine hair, definitely check it out because she shares tips that work well for fine hair specifically. (You also have to follow her on Instagram because her insta stories of her little boy, James, are the best thing you’ve ever seen!)
Anyway, let’s get into how to do this thing, yeah?
How to get beach waves using my easy air-dry method!
Step 1: Finger-comb your hair with conditioner IN THE SHOWER
This step is crucial. You do NOT want to brush your hair right before you air-dry. Your hair will be FRIZZ CITY. I always comb my fingers through my hair in the shower while my conditioner is in–this will remove any tangles but wont cause the frizz that brushing or combing it beforehand will. Also, after your hair is dry, don’t comb it then either.
If you have SUPER fine hair and are worried about it being tangly, try combing it with a wide-tooth comb like this one before you get in the shower. That should keep tangles at bay but still reduce the amount of frizz that you’d usually get from brushing right before air-drying. (Can you tell, I’m really pro not brushing your hair? 😂) I swear it looks so much better that way!
By the way, if you’re curious, I use Beautycounter’s Everyday Shampoo & Conditioner. They are sulfate-free and much less harsh on your hair! I’ve tried other sulfate shampoos and really didn’t like them because they didn’t clean or lather well, but this one really does! I LOVE them and did a whole review of the shampoo, conditioner and bodywash in this post!
Step 2: Dry with a microfiber towel
This is also key–microfiber towels really help reduce the frizz because they’re much easier on the hair! I use a microfiber turbin that I picked up at Walgreens a couple years back, but you can also order them on Amazon! Meg also shared a genius trick–you can also use an old t-shirt! Make sure all the excess water is out of your hair before putting in your product.
Step 3: Apply a leave-in conditioner cream, followed by sea salt spray
Regardless of what I’m doing with my hair post-shower, I always put in a moisturizing hair cream. I’m obsessed with this one from Christophe Robin as well as R&Co’s High Dive moisture shine cream. I love both of these brands because they’re free of the main dirty offenders like parabens, phthalates and sulfates (granted they are not 100% “clean” by some standards, they’re much better than a lot of other products!) You guys also RAVE about It’s a 10’s Miracle Leave In Treatment–especially those who get tangly hair–and it’s a drugstore buy! Huzzah!
Whatever moisture cream you decide to go with, follow it up with a good mist Beautycounter’s Sea Salt spray which I am obsessed with. I’ve tried a lot of other sea salt sprays and I like this one the best–it even beats out Bumble & Bumble’s! It’s so affordable–and it’s 100% clean, too–as are all of Beautycounter’s products!
Step 4: Pull into a VERY LOOSE french braid
Here’s the secret to perfect waves every time–just pull your hair into a VERY LOOSE french braid, using very big sections. The smaller the sections of hair you use, the thinner your waves will be–I like big, wide waves (I don’t love the super piecey look, but if you do, use smaller sections!) Secure with an elastic, and then go back and pull it even looser. It’s okay if a few pieces stick out!
How you do this will depend on your own hair–if I have a quick second, I’ll blow dry just my roots because I have a cowlick and I also think blow-drying the roots prevents your hair from getting as greasy for whatever reason (meaning I can go longer in between shampoos). I know I always say to avoid blow-drying your hair to avoid damage–but your ends incur the most damage–a quick blast of heat isn’t going to hurt your roots!
If I’m not blow-drying my hair, I pull it straight back (no part) because I have a weirdo cowlick around my forehead, and if it dries in this pulled-back method, it helps to tame it and when I take it out, it will fall nicely.
(Yes, you will look like George Washington. It’s okay. So do I.)
If you don’t have a cowlick, you can totally part your hair and/or do a regular braid (it doesn’t have to be a french braid if that’s too complicated for you, but I like the way it looks as a result of the french braid because then the waves start further up). If you do this method, make sure that you part your hair the way you want it BEFORE you braid it. You don’t want to be messing with it once it’s dry or else it may mess up your waves.
Step 5: Undo braid while hair is still slightly damp, let dry the rest of the way
This step is most important. You want to remove the braid while your hair is still damp. You don’t want it to completely dry in the braid, otherwise it will be really kinky and weird and you won’t get that effortless beach waves/french girl sex hair look we’re going for. Simply undo the braid, and give your head a shake from side to side, but do NOTHING MORE.
Leave it alone, and let it finish drying. You’re done!
Remember, you don’t want it to look perfect. It will take all your will power to not run your fingers through your hair, but DON’T DO IT. Don’t brush it once it’s dry, either! Leave it be!
Okay so, that’s it. You’re done. So easy, right? 😂
Optional tweaks–perfecting your beach waves:
These are totally optional–sometimes my hair needs a few extra touches, sometimes it doesn’t! Here are three extra tweaks I’ll add when needed:
Finish off with texture spray:
I absolutely LOVE Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray which is a great way to finish it off, or give it a refresher when you wake up in the morning. (I love Oribe because it’s another “cleaned up” brand that doesn’t contain parabens.) Honestly, you may not even need this if you use Beautycounter’s Sea Salt spray because it does add a bunch of texture already, but I always like to use one of these on second or third day hair once the texture from the Sea Salt spray has faded. It also smells AMAZING. I use it after I curl my hair as well!
Add some shine:
If you find that your ends are dry or could use some shine, try Oribe’s Apres Beach wave and shine spray. I’ve also been loving Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Oil (I got a sample that I use whenever I travel!) Make sure to ONLY apply oil to the ends–otherwise it will weigh your hair down and make it greasy!
Add Dry Shampoo for volume:
Living Proof is probably my #1 favorite hair product because it does so many things–not only does it soak up extra grease on your roots, but it helps to add volume in your hair if it typically gets too flat with air-drying. If you still need more volume, tease the roots a bit with a teasing brush! This is another cleaner brand that is oil-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free and phthalate-free!
To recap, here are the products you’ll want for this air drying tutorial:
1. Microfiber towel (optional, but recommended)