Laid-back, California-girl hair can be yours, with secrets from celebrity stylist Jen Atkin. (Hint: It's virtually effortless.)
"If you think about it, surfer girls don't really fuss over their hair," says celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, creator of Ouai Haircare and founder of maneaddicts.com. "Their low-maintenance look is not only completely on-trend, it also saves precious minutes in our super-busy days." Here, Atkin (whose clients include Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) shares her best tips for creating beachy, frizz-free waves regardless of your hair's texture.
Embrace wave spray
"For women with some natural texture, I'm all about applying wave spray to damp hair and letting it air-dry," says Atkin. She's a fan of Ouai Wave Spray, which is made with rice protein, not salt, so it doesn't dry out hair. "I use it pre- and post-styling to get a piecey, lived-in texture."
Once you apply the product, "you can twist random strands to create more defined pieces," she says. "When hair is dry, just scrunch in a little more spray and you're good to go."
Blow-dry the right way
Don't have wavy hair? "You can still surprise yourself," says Atkin. "My mission is to bring back the old-school technique of using light mousse and a diffuser." She recommends starting with a dollop of mousse at your roots, and working it all the way out to the ends of your hair. "Rough-dry for five minutes, holding your blow-dryer from above so you don't get major flyaways." Next, twist face-framing pieces away while blow-drying downward.
Last step: "Instead of attaching the diffuser to your dryer, hold it in your opposite hand and use it to gently cup hair while blow drying; this sets soft waves without frizz."
Use a curling iron
Atkin is a fan of the Harry Josh Pro Tools 2-in-2 Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron 1-Inch. "The rod is longer than most, meaning you can style more hair at a time and work so much faster," she says. "I wrap sections around the barrel while it's closed—no funky dents that way."
Invest in a better brush
Tame waves with a brush that won't break the bank. "The Sonia Kashuk Tools Hair Brush is the kid sister of the Mason Pearson," says Atkin. "You can fit it in your purse. It's especially great for blow-drying bangs."
No time for an elaborate blow-dry? "A friend taught me a trick she does with her lob on her commute," says Atkin. "She'll spritz wave spray throughout, add mousse at the roots and do a center part. Then she'll put her hair in a low pony, but rather than pulling the tail through, she makes it into a little bun nub, so an inch of her hair is out."
The result? "When she gets to work, she's got this cool bend in the midshaft of her hair, with straight ends."
Go longer without washing your hair
Atkin has a "four-day rule" with her hair: "I try to go four days without washing," she says. "I usually wear it down on the second day with a little dry shampoo. Third day, I'll do a low center-part bun, and the fourth day is always a sleek, no part face-lift bun."