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Heatless Beach Waves: 6 Easy Steps To Voluminous Hair Overnight

Learn the double braiding trick that creates natural-looking wavy texture


Curious about heatless beach waves? You might know the tried-and-true method of braiding wet hair before going to bed. But this standard technique can end up with waves that look too contrived. So we turned to Dana Ionato, colorist at Sally Hershberger NoMad, who is known for her lived in waves that are a result of overnight braids — but with a twist to yield more natural, looser waves. Here, all you need to know about heatless beach waves and the simple step-by-step guide for getting voluminous texture that can be done well beyond the summer months.

How heatless beach waves flatter women over 50

“Beach waves are flattering for women over 50 because they can contour the face, such as the eyes, cheekbones and neck with the waves,” says Scott Fabian, a hairstylist also at Sally Hershberger NoMad Salon. To add to this…

The benefits of heatless beach waves

1. Heatless beach waves are easy to create

The benefits of beach waves are numerous. “This is a look that’s easy to maintain due to the carefree and effortless appearance, and minimal maintenance is needed whether you have it up in a loose bun or ponytail it can easily be shaken out and still look like and simple touched up with your fingers or favorite styling product,” notes Fabian.

2. Heatless beach waves make hair appear more voluminous

Woman with heatless beach waves

Beach waves give the hair volume and the illusion of being thicker. “A wave or a curl will always add body and volume to the hair as compared with straighter styles,” says Fabian says. “The ‘S’ shape of a beach wave will instantly give the appearance of more hair because each section will sit on top or above the previous one.”

Related: The Secret to High Volume ‘Summer Hair’ All Year Long: Sea Salt Spray

3. Heatless beach waves give hair a break from hot tools

“Heatless is always going to be a better option for styling your hair, however I know some people’s hair texture (curly or straight) needs a little more heat to smooth and make it stay longer!” explains Fabian. “Finding the right heatless wave method is ideal — some finer straight textures might have to start out with a little tighter wave so as it falls out, you still have movement in the hair,” he says. “And curly or wavy textures might want to go looser so the hair doesn’t get and stay too tightly curled. I always recommend talking to your stylist about what they think would work best for you and your hair.”

Related: How To Create Sock Curls + More Heatless Styles That Add Volume to Fine Hair

How to create heatless beach waves

Don’t be tempted to simply do one braid and call it a day. Why? “It feels like one singular braid should do the trick, but I promise it doesn’t,” advises Ionato. It’s because of where the braid bends and dividing it up makes it tighter. “So when you wake up, if you split your ponytail into two stacked, vertical braids, it’ll have more of a beachy wave and keeping the braids pointed down helps when you sleep and move around so that it doesn’t get too frizzy,” she explains. Here, her simple how to.

Step 1. Prep hair

Blow out your hair. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be smoothed out a bit if you have natural texture. We like T3 Aire 360 for this to get it done quickly. A rough dry and then some smoothing with the round brush attachment should do the trick.

Step 2. Place hair in a ponytail

Brush your hair into a ponytail at the nape of your neck with a tight elastic.

Step 3. Divide hair in the tail

Hairstylist showing how to create heatless beach waves
Dana Ionato

Divide your ponytail horizontally keeping the top 1.5 inches out for the top braid.

Step 4. Make the braids

Create two braids, a top one and bottom one from that same ponytail. Start by braiding one up over your head when you bend over, pulling on the hair to get it tight, says Ionato. “The key is making sure you pull on each braid as you go down the line, making sure there are no flyaways in any of the sections,” she says. Leave an inch or two out of the braid at the bottom when you secure your hair tie for an undone look. Then, braid the second braid with the leftover hair on the bottom and do the same thing.

Hairstylist sharing how to create heatless beach waves
Dana Ionato

Step 5. Sleep and undo in the morning

Go to bed with hair in the braids. Tip: Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can cut down on frizz. The next morning when you wake up, take hair out of the braids.

Step 6. Finish with a few products

Ionato says to spray some dry shampoo (it sops up any oil on the scalp and boosts volume) on your roots and add some oil (it boosts hydration and shine) to your ends. Two to try: We like Colab Dry Shampoo and Hask Repairing Hair Oil.

See more hair care tips:

Hairstylists Share the 5 Easy Steps It Takes to Cut Your Own Bangs at Home

Trichologist Reveals the Top Hair Myths and What to Do Instead for a Thick, Healthy Head of Hair

How to Protect Your Hair and Scalp From the Sun, Plus the Products That Make It Easy

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