How to Get Effortless Natural Hair Waves

Last updated on November 11th, 2023 at 11:22 am

One of the most effortless styling techniques you can do is to create natural hair waves in your hair. This type of loose curl is so soft & feminine looking and can be done any time of year. You don’t have to wait for summer to do the beachy waves look (in case that’s the time of year you associate with the style).

natural hair waves

The best part is you don’t need a hair stylist to help you do it. Follow the tips below to help you create the beautiful wavy textured hair you want.

In this easy guide, you’ll find all the tips you need to create this low manipulation hairstyle.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The type of hair needed to create natural waves (including texture, curl pattern and length)
  • The different techniques that can be used to create the style
  • Why use minimal heat, including heatless hair tools
  • Best practices for creating wavy hair
  • How to prep your hair for waves
  • The preferred method to create free flowing waves (with a minimum amount of heat)
  • Alternatives to the preferred method
  • How to maintain your waves over night

Why Hair Type, Length, and Hair Texture Don’t Matter

Before we get into the how of achieving beautiful beachy like waves, let’s address the elephant in the room.

It does not matter what your curl pattern is. You can have wavy hair or straight hair. Having super long hair also does not matter. You can have short hair or long hair.

You can do this effortless style on any hair type and almost any hair length. The best thing about this style is the success of it really depends on the result you are personally going for.

Do you want natural hair waves that are just a loosening of your own natural curls? 

Or, would you prefer the look of soft curls that are much more stretched?

If you have curly hair and are looking to achieve a much looser wave, you will need to blow your hair out to get rid of your hair’s natural texture.

blow out hair using the ReVair

If you have naturally straight hair, you can achieve near perfect waves (nothing is actually perfect in this world) in as little as an hour, but only with a heat styling tool.

All The Ways to Get That Wave Pattern You Want

There are quite a few ways to do natural looking waves. Some ways work better than others depending on your hair type. Before we get into the best ways to achieve the desired look based on your hair texture, let’s take a look at the many methods at your disposal: 

  • Using a heatless hair tool:
  • Using one of many hot tools:
    • curling iron with a large barrel
    • curling wand
  • Using a specific technique:
    • finger shaping waves on straightened hair sprayed with a sea salt spray
    • twisting or braiding straightened or blown out hair
    • braiding straightened and slightly damp hair (not wet hair) in 1-2 braids. Don’t remove the braids until you have completely dry hair.
    • large bantu knots done on straightened hair
cute bantu knot out hairstyle
Bantu Knot Out

For Best Results on Various Lengths of Hair

In spite of the different ways of creating waves on your hair, it’s really best to try 1 or 2 to see which method yields the best results in your eyes.

To start, your hair should be at least neck length for best results. You don’t need super long hair but you don’t want it to be too short either. Your hair needs to, at least be able to lay flat when straightened or stretched. If you don’t have enough length, you can add hair extensions. Then, treat those extensions like you would your natural hair.

However, if you are going to use any amount of heat, use extensions made from human hair.

Best Practices for Creating Natural Hair Waves

Regardless of what technique you use, heat, no heat, minimal heat, there are some additional key points to consider. I like to call these best practices.

Below you’ll find the best practices, tips and the steps I recommend for those with natural hair and straight hair.

  • Make sure the ends of your hair are in good condition. If your ends are split and fried looking, the style will look raggedy.
  • Ensure all of the hair at the top of your head is super smooth – laid. Frizzy hair in your crown will ruin the look. It may give more of an actual messy walking on the beach type of lookI and that’s fine if that’s what you’re going for.

    However, you don’t need a tutorial for frizzy curls. You can achieve that by just laying on your hair unprotected around the house. Assuming frizz is not what you’re going for but if it’s an issue of concern, you may need to use a bit of a frizz control product to tame the strands in that section of your hair so it lays flat.
  • Use a product that will help to “set” the hairstyle. An example of such a product is the sea salt spray mentioned above. This type of product adds texture, a little bit of hold and body to the hair. Sea salt sprays give volume by plumping your hair up.

    This type of hair styling product works really well for those with fine hair. However, proceed with caution when using setting sprays made with salt water. You certainly don’t want to use them too often. They can be quite drying, as it is designed to absorb the natural oils from hair.
  • Don’t forget to use a heat protectant if you will be using heat on your hair. Many heat protectants contain silicones which is good for maintaining smooth hair. You’ll just need to shampoo your hair thorough to remove them.
  • Lastly, always give your hair enough time to dry and/or to “set.” Keeping your curling tools, twists, or braids in your hair over night is usually a sufficient amount of time..

How to Prep Your Hair for Waves

Because you will more than likely be using some form of heat on your hair, you want to prep your hair by giving it the moisture and strength it needs to remain balanced and healthy. This is especially important if you have naturally fragile or color-treated hair.

Prep your hair for the most beautiful natural hair waves by following these seven steps:

  1. Wash and Deep Condition: no matter what hairstyle you do, it’s important to always work with freshly washed and deep conditioned hair.
  2. Use a Hair Mask with Silk Protein: a deep conditioning hair mask with a light protein like silk protein like this one from Ominira Naturals, will help your hair to be strong yet moisturized.
  3. If you have thin hair that’s low in density, use a treatment made with rice protein. Rice protein increases hair volume.
  4. Thoroughly rinse your hair of whatever conditioner or treatment you use. Then, remove excess water from your hair with a microfiber towel or other hair towel.
  5. Apply a leave-in conditioner that’s not heavily formulated with oils to your towel-dried hair.
  6. Seal the moisture into your hair with a very light weight oil that will quickly absorb into your hair. Argan oil is a good choice but use it sparingly. Too much oil in your hair products (while great for sealing protective styles) will weigh the hair down. Waves are supposed to be light and free flowing. If your hair is long, you’ll also get bouncy curls but not if you apply too much oil to your hair.
  7. The final step (and likely the most important step) in the prep is to use a wide-toothed comb to make sure your hair is thorougly detangled. Fully detangled hair will give you the smoothest results.

Steps to Achieve Gorgeous Waves With Minimal Heat (The Preferred Method)

Once you adequately prep your hair by cleansing, conditioning and detangling it, you want to use the right products to produce the most natural-looking curls.

Using one of the hot tools mentioned above creates fast results, That’s why they are so popular. However, it can be quite damaging to your hair, especially natural hair. 

So, if you want to avoid the risk of heat damage, you’ll want to use the lowest heat possible. If you have completely straight hair, you won’t even need to use heat.

straight fine natural hair

Here are the steps you can take to get natural loose waves that also shows off your length:

  1. Working with small sections of hair, blow your hair out with a warm (not hot) blow dryer like the RevAir (best tool ever for quick no damage blow outs). If you don’t have a RevAir (why not?!), you can use a hair dryer with a concentrator nozzle on it to blow out one section of hair at a time.
  2. Use the heatless curling rod headband (This is the boss for creating natural waves!)

If you don’t have the heatless curling rod headband like above, you can grab it for under $10 on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can use flexi rods or Waveformers. If you don’t have any of the hair tools mentioned, there are two substitute methods that will also work well on fully stretched hair:

  1. Twist in medium sized twists without using a product that would cause your hair to revert.
  2. Loosely braid your hair in extra large size braids

Whichever alternate method you use, it’s a good idea to allow it to set over night. If you take your twists or braid out too soon, you’ll have flat hair with very little wave.

I’ve done this beachy look so many times and it’s very easy to maintain.

Maintaining Natural Waves Over Night

The best way to really maintain your waves over night is to use one of the heatless hair tools above, twist or do overnight braids on your straightened hair. Any other method will cause you to loose most of your wave pattern.

If your hair is extremely long (waist length or longer), you can maintain the wavy curl definition with pin curls.

pin curls to preserve natural hair waves

Some may feel the temptation to use heat tools like a flat iron followed by another heat styler like a curling rod to revive the waves but just know that heat damage is a real thing. Protect your hair’s moisture and protein levels by avoiding the use of constant heat on your hair.

Natural hair waves are such an effortless look and what’s really great about the style for those with naturally tight curls is when done on straightened hair, it helps prevent tangles that lead to hair breakage. The ends of the hair aren’t encouraged to coil up on themselves like when the hair is in its natural state. That’s a win and helps with length retention.

how to do beachy waves

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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