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The Perfect Beach Curl

Balayage Beach Curl, Platinum Blonde with Pink

When it comes to hair styling -- in case you haven'y noticed -- straight hair is OUT and texture,Texture, TEXTURE is IN! For those of you not blessed with the perfect beach curl-meets-Victoria’s-Secret-model hair, here’s a few tips on how to get that look pronto!

First, be sure you’re using a color safe shampoo and a very hydrating daily conditioner, as well as a deep conditioning hair masque at least once a week (Joico is my brand of choice, and their Moisture Recovery Hydrating Balm is the bee's knees). You want to keep your color true to tone (as in brass-free) and to keep that length healthy, shiny, and supple. Also, if you haven't joined the Olaplex band-wagon, just trust me, you need to get on board. You’ll be hitting your hair with high heat daily, so make sure it doesn’t look fried, dry, or frizzy.

Next, apply a root boost foam to your roots at the crown and sides of your hair, as well as a great heat protecting serum to the length. I recommend Big Sexy Hair’s Root Pump Plus as well as CHI’s Silk Infusion. You really can’t go wrong with either of these, they’re SO worth the investment.

Flip your head upside down, and using a bit of tension, focus on the roots and blow dry your hair pulling your hair at the mid-shaft down towards the floor. This is a quick way to build in some all-day volume. After the roots are dry, continue to work the heat throughout the rest of your head, and be sure your hair is 100% dry from root to tip. Finally, clip up all of your hair, leaving out a 2″ section at the nape.

Selecting the appropriate hot tool is key, and diameter is everything. If you're a wand girl, consider treating yo' self to the Sultra’s Bombshell Cone Wand. Take half of the hair you have sectioned off and wrap it around the wand. Be sure to use the glove because this sucker is HOT. You’ll want to make sure that the tip of the wand is always facing down and that you’re starting your wrap at the base — this will ensure that the curl is always facing the right direction. Hold the end of the strand you’re working with your gloved hand (this replaces the clip function of a traditional curling iron), and keep the entire strand on the heat for about 10 sections, a little more or less depending on how coarse your hair is (more time) and if it’s been lightened (less time). Release the hair from your gloved hand and voila!, you have a perfect beach curl.

If you're like me (read: old school) and a curling iron is your weapon of choice, here's a couple of things to consider. First, if your hair is between chin length and your collar bone, you will want an iron that's 1 1/4" in diameter. If your hair is longer than your collar bone, you need an iron that is 1 3/4" in diameter. Second, the iron needs to be ceramic, not metal. Ceramic -- in my experience -- is more gentle to the hair (less friction), heats more evenly, and is easier to clean.

When curling with an iron, be sure to only curl a section no thicker than the width of your iron. That's how you know how much hair to grab, and it ensures you won't have to re-curl the section again and again to get it to take. Open the clip and place the iron about half-way down the section. Close the clamp and do a full rotation. About 5 seconds later, quickly open and close the clamp using small movements, and move it down the section while twisting more hair on to the barrel. You should hear a quick click-click-click sound if you're doing it right. Repeat this process until you've got about 2" of hair still hanging out of then end of the curling iron. It is imperative to leave the ends of the strand out of the curling iron. You want to leave them straight and unfinished -- this piece makes the difference between beachy curls (yay!) and sausage curls (boo!). Finally, open the clip all the way to release your hair from the iron -- voila, you've got a curl!

It’s important to remember, when curling hair with either a wand or iron, to always alternate your curl direction clockwise/counter-clockwise; this strategy ensures that your curls will not stack inside themselves and you’ll get the maximum amount of volume possible. Continue to let down sections about 2″ in width and take the appropriate width subsections when curling. You also want to make sure that all sections directly on the sides of your face curl back from your face (Farrah Fawcette-esque) so that you’ve have symmetry. Finally, before your curl the top section, sprinkle in a little powder volumizer through the crown so that you can get flexible, reworkable volume all day. As for a recommendation, I can never say enough great stuff about Big Sexy Hair’s Pow! Powder Play Volumizing Powder.

After you’ve completed your curls, wait to make sure they’ve all cooled to room temperature before you run your fingers through your hair. The high heat from the wand/iron will make sure that even though you’ve broken up the curls, they’ll stay all day. Don’t forget to rough up your hair at the crown to activate the powder volumizer!

Finish the look with my favorite NOT-salt spray, Tigi’s Sugar Shock. Sugar Shock will define your curls, give you a beachy texture, and add shine — and because this is a sugar-based product, it won’t dry your hair out the way a salt-based spray would. Plus, it kinda smells like cotton candy, so it’s a win all the way around. Or, if you need a stronger hold, consider Paul Mitchel's Spray Wax or a light mist of Big Sexy Hair's Spray and Play hairspray.

If you have any questions, be sure to comment below. Or better yet, post some brag photos if you try out this look at home — let me know how it goes!

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