How To Get Beach Waves Without Heat

I love going to the beach. The sand under my feet, the cool breeze blowing from the sea, and the waves frolicking over one another. The picture is neatly rounded off with beachy waves cascading down my back.

Well, not exactly cascading down my back as I have a long bob thing going. But even short and medium-length hair can look stunning with soft beach waves.

Let's explore how to get beach waves without using heat for short and medium-length hair. And how you can use your sleep time to create a beachy hairdo.


How to get beach waves without heat for short hair

What you'll need:

  • Damp short hair
  • Texturized spray

Wash your hair, condition it and either air-dry or lightly blow dry your hair. For this method you want your hair to be about 80% dry.

This method I dub the Scrunch-scrunch technique. Detangle your locks and partition them where you like your parting. Section your hair in two halves, from right above your ears to the back of your head. Clip that section on top of your head.

Spray the loose section of your hair, from your roots to your tips, with your favorite texturizing spray. This is an important step as this gives an amazing gritty, tousled texture. Perfect for that, I-am-carefree-and-so-is-my-hair-look.

Use your hand and scrunch your hair. Place your hand at the tips of your hair, twist your hair, then push it up and scrunch it against your scalp. If you have ever used a heat dryer diffuser, you'll know the technique. For a more visual explanation, Shabani shows you how in her informative video. 

  1. Scrunch each section at least 7 to 10 times because you want the waves to last.
  2. Once you've done the one section, loosen the other section, spray with your textured spray and do the same as before. Twist. Push. Scrunch. The more your scrunch, the better the wave.
  3. If your roots look a little flat, spritz the texturizing spray at the roots and give it a few scrunches. You'll see more volume.

Use a little hairspray with more hold, do some touch-ups, and off you go.


How to get beach waves without heat overnight

What you'll need:

  • Damp short hair
  • Leave in conditioner mask/oil/spray (use the one that you love) Please note this is optional
  • Two scrunchies

Wash your hair, condition it (if you're not going to use the conditioner mask), and either air-dry or lightly blow dry your hair. For this method you want your hair to be dampish but not wet.

This method is called the French twist technique. Part your hair where you usually part it. Tie up or clip the other section of your hair to keep it out of the way. Run the conditioner mask through your hair if you feel your hair needs a bit more moisture. Detangle your hair gently.

Take a medium-sized section of your hair and divide this section in two. If you want more definition, use thinner sections, but not too thin. We want beach waves. Not that 80's crimping look.

Twist section 1 over section 2, in the direction away from your face, and add another section of hair to section 1 that you just twisted. Twist section 1 with the added hair over section 2.

Now use section 2 (that you haven't twisted yet), add another section of hair to that section, and twist it around section 1. Repeat this until you get to the nape of your neck. Section. Twist. Add. Repeat.

Once all your hair is twisted up, use a scrunchy to tie the end. If your hair is long enough, make a little bun at the end and tie the scrunch around it.

Do the same with the other side of your head. Go to bed and may you have sweet sleep. In the morning, take out the scrunchies. Run your fingers through your hair. And there you have sturdy beachy waves that will last for more than one day. Check out Miaa Tylerr's video above where she shows you how effortlessly it can be done.


How to get beach waves without heat for medium length hair

What you'll need:

  • Dry medium or long-length hair
  • Two bobby pins
  • Two hair bands
  • Two pieces of cloth, tied together (bandanas would work well)
  • Comb

This method is similar to the Robe curl method but instead of using the robe belt, you use two bandanas or two pieces of cotton cloth tied together. An old soft worn-out T-shirt, cut in two pieces of 22 inches (56cm) squared will also work.

Having medium-length hair myself, I noticed that the robe belt is a bit too bulky for my hair length. And so we improvise to find something that works for medium-length hair. Maryellen shows us how to do it, and even though she has long hair, it will work on medium-length hair as well.

  1. Detangle your hair with your brush. 
  2. Part your hair in a middle or side parting. Beginning from the top of your head, ending at the nape of your neck. Tie up the one section to keep it out of your way.
  3. Using the two bobby pins, fasten the middle of the cloth on your parting, approximately 1.5 inches (4cm) from your hairline at your forehead. The further back you fasten the cloth, the looser the curls will be around your face. If you fasten the cloth closer to your forehead you'll end up with a more voluminous 'bushy' look.

Another point to remember, the tighter you wind your hair around the cloth, the tighter your curls will become.

One directional loose beach waves:

Take a section of hair, loop it away from your face, over the cloth, and loop it back under again so it's facing back under the hair. Grab another piece of hair, add it to the first section of hair, loop it over the cloth and loop it back under again. It's like a french braid but you only use two braids instead of one. One part being the cloth and the other being your hair. Continue with the process all the way to the end of the hair. Grab. Add. Loop. 

Two directional loose beach waves:

If you want to have fewer one-directional spiral beach waves and a more natural look, with the curls curling clockwise and anti-clockwise, do the following. Take a section of hair and part the hair. We'll call this part A for clarity purposes. Wrap part A away from the face, over the front of the belt completing one rotation. The section of hair should end up where it started.

Take another section, we'll call part B, and do the same but this time, switch the rotational direction. Loop it towards your face, over the belt. The section of hair should also end up where it started. 

Think of it this way. You are “braiding or plaiting” your hair as you would a French braid. Except you need to keep the belt as straight as possible as the belt is one of the three sections that you are braiding with.

Take another section of hair and add it to part A. Wrap this section around the belt. Take another section of hair and add it to part B. Wrap this section around the robe belt. Do this until you have no more hair to wrap. 

When you get to the end of your hair, tie it with the hairband and fasten it to your head in a bun using the excess cloth. Alternatively, you can criss-cross the ends at the back of your head (once you've done the other side) and fasten the cloth at the top of your head.

Complete the process on the other side of your head as well. Leave the cloth in for about three to four hours, or you can sleep in it. Remove the cloth gently, run your fingers through your hair, and there you have it: beach waves!


There you have three totally different ways to get those beachy waves you want. May the force be with you as you try out the different methods. I am confident that one of them will work for you. 

Last Updated: April 19, 2021

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