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Between school and work, it can be tough to find time for a day of R&R at the beach. But that doesn’t mean your hair can’t look like it’s been tousled by the wind and surf, not to mention a game of volleyball.

Carefree beach waves are the answer to straight or curly hair that’s beginning to look a little ho-hum. With Regency grad Alison Weeks’ advice you can look like you’ve spent a day in the surf, minus the sand and any lingering bits of seaweed.

Alison said beach waves are the perfect casual look for summer compared to the more formal up-dos popular in winter. As an added bonus, the style weathers humidity and high temperatures well.

“I think beach waves give a perception that you’re low maintenance,” Alison said.

But ironically, and depending on your hair texture, they can take some effort to create. These tips make styling beach waves a cinch.

For straight hair that’s shoulder length and longer:

  1. Wash
  2. When damp, divide the hair in four quadrants.
  3. Twist each quadrant of hair separately into tightly wound buns.
  4. Secure each with bobby pins.
  5. Blow dry the hair.
  6. Once dry, finger-comb to separate the curls.

For curly hair:

Follow the steps listed above, but wind the quadrants of hair extra tight to avoid kinks that can happen when naturally curly hair is wrapped.

Beach waves can also be created by curling hair with a flat iron.

“I think what a lot of people like about beach waves is they are kind of messy. They aren’t perfect,” Alison said.

Dry hair can also be styled into beach waves. The only difference? The dry hair will need heat to help it transform.

Alison recommends wrapping the hair around a barrel curling iron.

After drying or wrapping, use a texturizing spray or hairspray to hold the waves in place. Sometimes a serum may also be needed to tame frizzy hair.

Depending on the texture of the hair, beach waves can have next-day longevity. (Yeah!)

To style:

  1. Spritz some dry shampoo and massage at the roots to soak up any natural oil that may have gathered during the night.
  2. Take the already-dry hair and wrap around a barrel curling iron.
  3. Don’t fret if it looks a little mussed. That’s the point anyway, isn’t it?

Style to try: A low messy bun

Gather hair in a low messy bun at the base of the neck and pull out a few wisps of hair to frame the face. If your hair is long enough, beach waves pulled into a high messy bun looks great too.

About the Cosmo: Alison earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice from UW-Parkside. She went back to school for cosmetology in September 2006 and graduated from Regency Beauty Institute in 2007.

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