If I had to pick just one hairstyle to wear my hair in for the rest of my days, it just might have to be beach waves. The epitome of cool-girl hair when done right, it's a timeless look that remains stylish year in and year out, works for every occasion and looks great on basically everyone. There's just one problem: Despite it being my go-to style request when I get my hair professionally blow-dried, I suck at creating perfect beach waves on my own hair. In fact, after a session with the curling tongs, I'm more often left with '80s-esque prom ringlets than chic waves.
So to help me shake my rather formal approach to DIY waves, I decided it was time to ask an expert for advice. Enter: Adam Reed, who's one half of the iconic haircare brand Percy & Reed. Adam is the go-to stylist for celebs like Ellie Goulding, Diane Kruger and Sophie Dahl. Oh, and he's also on speed dial of the most well-renowned beauty editors in the biz.
From the insider steps that everyone should be following to the products you need to get the look, I caught up with Adam to get the inside scoop on creating the ultimate beach waves at home.
Keep scrolling for his top tips for perfect beach waves and everything you need get the look.
Can any hair type and texture create cool-girl beach waves?
Absolutely. Anyone can create cool-girl beach waves; it all comes down to the prep. If you have curly hair, it's important to smooth first before styling. Try a product like L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Liss Control, which is designed to control and smooth any frizz. After tonging, hold is always essential to avoid the curl losing the beachy look and turning frizzy. L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Fix Design is great for this. It is important to use light products that don't weigh the hair down, as you want it to look soft and tousled rather than heavy and defined.
The Step-by-Step Process
Can you talk us through the steps to creating beach waves, from shampooing to blow-drying to heat styling?
The steps for creating the perfect beach wave are very different depending on hair type. But my three key tips would be to use a good softening shampoo and conditioner, choose the correct prep product for your hair type, and don't over-tong the hair. Beach waves should be natural, soft and subtle, so I suggest taking random pieces of hair and tonging in different directions to achieve the look.
Lock It Down
What products do you recommend to keep waves in place?
I love L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Constructor. It's perfect for finishing and adds texture and flexible hold to the hair. L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Beach Waves is also one to try. You can spray onto dry or damp hair, work through with your fingers, and leave for curly hair types (or spritz before tonging to create beautiful beach waves). Top tip: After tonging, make sure you brush through the curls with fingers and dishevel ends for a messy finish that isn't too polished.
Farewell, Prom Queen
How can you keep the waves looking cool and tousled rather than verging into ringlet territory?
If you have prepped the hair correctly, you should be safe and it will stay the way you originally styled it.
Shop the Best Buys for Getting Beach Waves at Home
For best results, start with a softening shampoo like Reed. This one from Aveda softens even the most damaged of strands, and it smells incredible.
Packed with natural plant and vegetable extracts, this rich conditioner does an amazing job of softening hair and boosting shine.
Reed was keen to stress that it's important to use the right prep product for your hair type. This one is great for fine to coarse strands, helping to smooth and protect hair from heat styling.
Curly hair types can spray this onto damp hair and leave to dry for natural beach waves. Otherwise, spray it onto dry hair before tonging to add texture while you style.
A lightweight spray containing Cornish sea salt for a natural approach to beach waves at home.
Another salt water spray that's great for finer hair types. We love the way it also boosts volume and bulks up strands.
For natural-looking beach waves, opt for a larger-barrel curling tong for a more relaxed finish.
Seal in all of your hard work with this lightweight hair spray.