How to Create Beach Waves With A Flat Iron

You’ve spent a long day at the beach: playing on the sand, laying in the sun, putting on sunscreen, and swimming in the ocean. Now it’s time to pack up your towel, head home, and take a shower.

It’s not just the sand and beach-scented memories you’ll be rinsing off, you’ll also have to sacrifice the fantastic way your hair looks and feels after it’s been whipped around all day in the breezy beach weather.

Cheer up! You can recreate your beach waves any time without ever stepping foot on the sand! All you need is a flat iron, a comb, hair clips, and your choice of styling products.


How to Achieve Beachy Waves With Flat Iron

beach wave hair


Prepare Your Hair

Beach waves usually look best on hair that has not been washed with shampoo for at least a day; the scalp’s natural oils moisten the hair shaft and will help protect it from the intense heat of a flat iron. Another way to protect your hair is to use a heat protectant spray.

If your hair is naturally thick and wavy to begin with, run it through your flat iron first. You can work quickly with large sections of hair; it doesn’t have to be perfectly straight, just flattened.

If you’re starting with naturally straight hair that doesn’t easily hold a curl, use some mousse, texture spray, or styling gel along with the flat iron.


Always Seek Imperfection and Asymmetry

The key to creating the non-uniform pattern that’s typical of beachy waves is to select random sections of hair and use a flat iron to curl them in an alternating forward and backward direction, so they don’t all clump together.



  • Part your hair in the center or the side, and section it off with scrunchies or hair clips.
  • Work your way around the circumference of your head, wrapping 1-2-inch sections of your hair around the flat iron to create the individual waves. Alternate between bigger and smaller sections of hair.
  • Twist the flat-iron just one 180° angle for each curl section; if you turn it more than that, you’ll end up with boing-boing ringlets, and not angular beachy waves.
  • Curl your hair in a pattern of three sections in a forward direction and the next three in a backward direction.
  • If you have layered hair, alternate the pattern, so the top waves curl in the opposite direction of the lower ones.
  • No matter where you end up as you go around the head, make sure the first few waves toward the front of your face curl in the backward direction (away from your face).


When You’re Finished Curling

  • To create an extra “beachy” look, revisit all the curls, and make sure the end sections are straight by running the flat iron over just those areas.
  • Finger-comb all the hair to make it look more “undone.” Don’t use a brush or a comb.
  • If there are sections that are too “bouncy,” pass them through the flat iron (in big sections of 4-5 inches) with light pressure to flatten them out. Pay special attention to the roots, which should lay closer to the head than the rest of the beachy waves.
  • Ensure your waves stay in place by scrunching them with styling mousse or hairspray.

Beach waves look fantastic on hair of all lengths, from pixie cuts to waist-length locks. Even if you live inland and never get to the seashore, that doesn’t mean you can’t style your hair with lots of these sultry, carefree waves.