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illustration by Moomoi

Beach Hair: How to Protect It, How to Style It, How to Fake It

Learn how best to nail the holy grail of “beach hair”: protecting it from damage, styling it with minimal fuss and faking it come nightfall.

Leisurely summer days make us yearn for low-maintenance hair, a do that requires minimal time but does not look messy. Unfortunately, salt water and heat are hardly the duo to conjure up this fantasy. So how best to nail the holy grail of “beach hair?” i.e., protecting it from damage, styling it with minimal fuss and faking it come nightfall?

How to protect it

“When the summer holiday comes around, many people make the mistake of applying oil to the hair, but oil plus sun actually equals fried hair,” explains stylist Harry Casey. “Instead, opt for a conditioning mask. Firstly, it’ll give you better UV protection because it won’t fry hair and, combined with summer heat, it’s almost like giving yourself a steam treatment. Put in a tablespoon and work it through mid-length and ends.

“Summer is the worst time for people’s hair due to all of the added aggressors like chlorine and sun – plus they’ve got other things on their mind, like enjoying their holiday. Blondes need to be particularly meticulous and use toners and a daily UV spray (regardless of whether you’re on holiday).”

For Coloured Hair: Schwarzkopf Goodbye Yellow

Schwarzkopf’s newest range is a must for any blonde heading on holiday.  Formulated with a pH of 4.5, its carefully selected blue and purple pigments adhere to hair, banishing signs of brassiness and helping to maintain colour between appointments.

For Fragile Hair: The Ouai Treatment Mask

Delivered in beach-bag handy sachets, this mask has gained a cult following due to its ability to turn damaged hair back into its former silky self.

For Everyone: Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil

For hair that smells like summer – this is an invisible, water-resistant mist with UV filters that last for up to 16 hours. Spritz onto dry or damp hair (and always reapply after swimming).

How to style it

If your usual routine involves a hairdryer and heated styling tool, the idea of achieving a fuss-free style on the beach or by the pool can be daunting. Unite Hair’s Creative Director Gary Baker’s hack makes it super simple. “Take a product to the pool or beach to leave in your hair (I’d recommend Unite’s Beach Day or for curlier hair Boing Curl Define – both will take away unwanted frizz and leave you with natural tousled hair). Work through damp hair and loosely braid. Leave to dry in the sun or air dry, undo and drag fingers through in a claw fashion for instant beach waves.”

For Straight Hair: Playa Endless Summer Spray

Straight hair needs all the help it can get to look “beachy” rather than messy. Playa’s spray contains Southern Californian sea salt, UV filters and conditioning marine collagen to add texture to hair.

For Curly Hair: Unite Boing Curl Define

This lightweight cream helps to define waves and curls by adding a hit of moisture that helps to control frizz and hold curls in place.

How to fake it

“The big secret behind that ultimate tousled hair look is making sure you only use a little conditioner and opt for products that add texture to your hair,” explains London’s favourite blow-dry spot Duck & Dry. “Find yourself a great sea salt spray or mousse depending on your hair type and apply sparingly through hair from root to end while wet. Then towel dry the hair/rough blow dry it to achieve that casually undone look. To give the illusion of a fuller wave, tong the hair but avoid uniformity, take random sections and curl for 3-4 seconds. Then finish the look by separating the curls and spraying a texture spray from the ends up. Finish the look with a light hair spray.”

The Cleanser: Number 4 L’eau de mare shampoo

Make up for only using a small amount of conditioner by using a moisturizing shampoo like Number 4’s, which contains B5 to add shine and improve condition.

The Spray: Oribe Apres Beach Wave Spray

Part-texturizer, part-conditioning spray, this helps to define waves or add body. Plus it leaves it shiny and touchable (without the usual tell-tale crunch of other texturisers) and can be applied to wet or dry hair.

The Tool: T3 Loose Waves Barrel

T3’s Loose Waves Barrel has been designed to replicate beach-worthy curls. Take medium sized sections and wave in alternate directions for natural looking texture and movement that is perfect for summer.

illustration by Moomooi

Amy Wilson Wyles

A native Londoner, Amy discovered her love for health & beauty while working at Harper’s Bazaar in New York before returning home to work for Conde Nast, Shortlist Media and Net-a-Porter. Eight years later, the mission remains the same: to discover the products and treatments that really work.

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