How to Make Beach Waves With a Curling Iron Like Pro

Beach waves are a fairly popular and versatile styling that suits everyone. It’s quite simple, but at the same time, it easily makes the usual look more playful.

You can do it with curling irons, curlers, and straighteners or even achieve the desired effect without using heat-based tools.

In this article, I will tell you in detail how to make beach waves with a curling iron and share hairstylist tips on how to protect locks and make styling last longer.

Guide on How to Make Beach Waves With a Curling Iron

Your main task in making such styling is to achieve the carelessness effect as if your hair has always looked like this, and you did not put any effort. To create waves with a curling iron, you need to wash your strands, heat protect them, divide them into sections, and curl them away from your face.

beach waves brown hair

Hair washing and drying

Styling strands with hot tools requires some preparation. You should thoroughly wash your locks with a shampoo and conditioner perfect for your type.

Choose products that do not weigh down your curls. For example, owners of low-porosity hair should avoid shampoos with high protein content. It is also advisable to use balms-conditioners and not masks, which have a denser texture.

Washing with the right products will help you completely get rid of the sprays or gels that you applied earlier and remove grease from the scalp and at the roots.

Residues of these substances will not only interfere with the desired effect during styling but can also ruin your tool. Along with regular hair washing, you should not forget about the need to clean your curling iron and other devices periodically.

Before styling, make sure your locks are completely dried. You can let your hair dry naturally, but it can take longer if you have thick or non-porous hair. If you do not have extra time, use a hairdryer.

In the process of drying, comb the strands through with your fingers, untangling them. When they are half dry, take a brush and gently run it through the hair. The brush bristles should be made from natural materials. For example, boar bristles will add extra shine to your strands.

On wet locks, styling should not be done in any case. It is due to the processes that occur inside hair when heated. Most appliances, especially professional ones, can heat up to several hundred degrees.

By applying them to wet strands, you heat the moisture inside to a boil. Of course, it entails hair structure destruction. Always dry your curls completely to avoid possible damage.

hair being dried

Heat protection: Which one to choose

With too much use of styling tools and insufficient heat protection, you risk getting overdried, brittle, dull hair, which is also too frizzy. Since styling devices can reach enormous temperatures, the strands should be protected from negative effects. Thermal protection products fall into two main categories:

  • washable ones: shampoos, conditioners, masks, and balms;
  • leave-in ones: oils, sprays, mousses, and gels.

The latter work more effectively because they envelop the hair from all sides, smoothing the cuticle, creating a protective barrier, and preventing moisture from evaporating. I recommend that the composition combine amino acids, vitamins, sugars, silicones, and polymer compounds.

Heat protectants should be used before styling, as some ingredients become active when heated. They should be applied evenly along the entire hair length, leaving the roots untreated so as not to weigh them down.

Styling: How to do beach waves with a curling iron

You thoroughly washed the locks and prepared them for styling. Here is how to get beach waves using a curling iron. By the way, to create a slightly careless and messy effect, I recommend choosing devices with thick barrels, from 1 inch and more. It will make your curls look bigger and more natural.

Step 1: Divide your hair into sections

Brush your hair thoroughly and divide it into several large sections. There may be four or more if you have very thick locks. Secure three of them with hairpins or elastic bands so that they do not interfere with you, and proceed to style the first part.

It should also be divided into several strands, no more than 2 inches wide each. I recommend starting at the back of the head and gradually moving towards the forehead.

Step 2: Start curling

Heat the tool to the desired temperature. Choose a mode depending on your hair type and structure. If you have dyed or damaged locks, you should set the heat to low. If you have unruly or coarse hair, choosing the highest possible temperature settings is better for the ideal result.

curling iron at work on brown hair

Take a heated device and wind one of the strands onto the barrel (from the tips to the roots). At the same time, make sure that the tool is located diagonally relative to the floor, so the curls will be less tight, and there are no clamp marks.

Hold for five seconds and release the lock. Treat the rest of the sections in this way. Since your task is to create a natural and slightly casual look, you can style the strands in different directions.

If you want the style to last longer or have really heavy locks, you can secure each curl with a bobby pin while it’s still warm. When you are done with all the hair, remove the pins.

Step 3: Fix the result

Of course, hairpins alone are not enough for the result to last on your hair for as long as possible. Wait until all the strands have cooled down and treat them with a fixing spray.

Apply more if you have naturally straight locks that don’t hold styling up well. By the way, homemade sprays with the addition of salt are perfect for these purposes. After applying the spray, wait some more time until it dries completely.


Next, you need to brush the strands with a comb with large teeth; you can also do it just with your fingers. It will break up the curls and give them a more natural look. Shake your hair so that the locks lie on your shoulders casually.

During combing, you may notice that the waves become a little frizzy. You can apply a shine spray or natural oil to remove this effect. It will tame your hair a little and give it a finished look.

Creating loose beach waves is about the same for hair of different lengths. Those with long or medium locks will have to spend a little more time styling.

And if you have short or shoulder-length strands, choose not too thick devices (about 1 inch wide), but avoid too thin so as not to get tight “angelic” curls. They will not be easy to make loose and messy.

beach waves hair

FAQ on How to Use Curling Iron for Beachy Waves

Although there are a huge variety of methods and techniques, I consider the curling iron to be the best way to get beach waves. If you master it properly, you will never be disappointed with the result. To learn more about using this tool, read my FAQ.

How to make beach waves with a curling iron with short hair?

Although styling short hair is a little more difficult, it does not mean that beach waves cannot be done on them. Take a small tool, ¾- or 1-inch wide, and divide your hair into vertical sections.

Start processing from the back of the head and gradually move to the temples. Hold your device diagonally or perpendicular to the floor for more natural curls. Pick a section near the roots, pull the curler to the ends, and wind the strand completely. Repeat it with each part.

Can you get beach waves with a spiral curling iron?

Yes, actually, it can be even easier than with classic models. The principle is largely similar, except for one detail. Spiral barrels do not have clamps, so you need to hold the end of a strand with your hand. Be extremely careful during the procedure to not burn fingers, but rather use heat-protective gloves.

What size curling iron do you use for beachy waves?

Choosing the right size depends on the hair length. Always remember that the smaller the diameter, the tighter the curls will be. If you want to create loose natural waves, you should choose devices with thick barrels.

For example, those with long to medium strands should try 1 ¼ to 2 inches thick tools. If you have a bob or shoulder-length strands, you’d better take a 1-inch or ¾-inch device. Avoid thin instruments, as they will give curls that are too tight.

Easy Beach Waves With Hair Styler

Natural hair textures have maintained their popularity over several seasons. If you don’t already know how to make beach waves with a curling iron, it’s time to start mastering it.

I hope I sorted out all the nuances in my guide, and you can achieve the perfect result. If you still have issues, please let me know in the comment section.

And if you are a master at creating loose waves, share your secrets! How do you manage to achieve the perfect balance between coiffed and messy hair?

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