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A blast of sunshine, however fleeting, is all it takes it for summer to be promoted to the subject of my one-track mind. Glimmery body oils, glowy skin tints and pleasingly tiny, travel-friendly SPFs, I'm fully ready to embrace an out-of-office attitude.

But leaning into laidback summer beauty is perfectly possible even if you're not on holiday. Contrary to its name, an ocean dip isn't actually a prerequisite to achieving eternally cool beach waves.

What are beach waves?

Model with beachy waves © Launchmetrics Spotlight
The sea-kissed look is adored by supermodels and It-girls alike

A celebrity hair favourite, the beach wave look is all about pretty, sea-inspired texture. Returning year upon year, the appeal lies in the illusion of Cali Girl effortlessness, along the lines of 'I woke up like this'.

"The idea is that you shouldn't look like you've been touched by a hairdresser," explains internationally acclaimed hair extraordinaire Luke Hersheson. Insouciant, loose S-shape pieces are a "timeless classic" now, having received the supermodel seal of approval. "It's Kate Moss, Gisele, an invention of the early noughties, and it's never gone away."

But what does the perfect beach wave look actually entail, according to the hair tastemaker? "It's like an undone wave, fairly flat at the roots, straight-ish towards the ends with nice, believable movement through the mid-lengths."

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How to achieve beach waves

Model with beachy waves © Launchmetrics Spotlight
The look is languid and distinctly sexy

Challenge accepted. In the absence of a getaway, laidback, sea-kissed texture is the next best thing. As with many seemingly effortless beauty looks – no-makeup makeup and messy hair both spring to mind – beach waves do actually require a little styling nous.

  •  Prep & Prime

 Starting with freshly washed hair, one of the easiest ways to create beach waves is by swerving the blow dryer. If you are blessed with natural movement, Luke recommends leaning into it and allowing your hair to air-dry. "Straighter hair, or hair that has a natural movement to it, is the easiest hair type to get into that texture." 

He advises running a multi-use styling cream through the lengths of your hair to "bring out some separation", and simultaneously smooth frizz. Curly hair, on the other hand, is "a bit more complex to get to that point", according to Luke, tending to need straightening out first before the waves are put in.

Do I need a salt spray?

Sea salt sprays are great for replicating that post-ocean bounce and volume that you typically get on holiday, but interestingly, Luke actually prefers to go without, disliking the crunchy, slightly dry feeling that it can create. 

Instead, he swears by the Air Dry Spray, a creation of his trailblazing family-led hair brand, Hershesons. Packed with hydrating aloe vera and moisture-locking gum arabic, this nifty formula aims to deliver "easy-breezy definition and tousle", without the coarseness synonymous with old-school salty volumisers.

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Model with beachy waves © Launchmetrics Spotlight
If you're lucky enough to have natural movement, Luke recommends embracing it
  • Tools Of The Trade

A curling wand is indispensable – especially one with a barrel that allows you to tailor the shape. The beach look is all about loose, S-shaped waves, and according to Luke, the key is to keep things sporadic and unfussy. 

"The trick is not to do all of it, so it doesn't start to look too done," he explains. "Obviously if you've got really straight hair, you're going to need to tong more of it, but what you don't want to do is tong every single piece of hair on your head – you want to do the odd piece here and there, and you want to use as much of your natural movement as possible."

Half of the battle is creating a wave that lasts – there's nothing more infinitely annoying than styling your hair, only to find that it has dropped before you've even reached your destination. Hershesons' new The Wand, speedy-heating and fitted with a 25mm ceramic-coated barrel, is designed to overcome this common beauty woe, and can be set to a lower temperature (80°C) for use on finer sections for a super-flattering result. "Pull out the waves a little bit with your fingers," Luke advises. "Work with a few pieces around the face so you get that face-framing effect."