How to get surfer hair - summer 2019’s most-wanted hair trend

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Amber Voller
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Street style picture - surfer girl hair and beach waves

With these backstage tricks and texture-boosting products for every hair type, scoring spring/summer 2019’s ‘cool girl’ beachy waves and curls couldn’t be easier.

It’s the return of ‘salt spray’ season – the spell of sea-soaked sun-drenched tousled hair that epitomises summer. Need some inspiration? Whether you’re coveting fully-loaded ‘surfer girl cool’ or a subtle nod to a post-beach aesthetic, the S/S 2019 shows offered something for everyone.

From Chanel and Roksanda to Alberta Ferretti and Alexa Chung, effortless waves were the only style to be seen with. Etro models even accessorised with printed surf boards.

If a quick ‘braid and go’ technique is your favourite way to create texture and movement, you’ve got the pros’ seal of approval. At Roksanda, stylist James Pecis for L’Oreal Professionnel created three low plaits (one at the back and one at each side), massaged each to loosen it a little then gently clamped it with straighteners before leaving to cool and set.

Over at Alberta Ferretti, the vibe was just as carefree. “It’s a very pretty, cool look on the girls today. It’s very natural, almost like the girls just got off the beach and put on these beautiful clothes. It has a little tom-boyishness to it because there’s an irreverence – almost like they didn’t worry about it, they just happened to have gorgeous hair,” explains Redken global creative director Guido Palau.

Prefer your waves to look more polished and considered? Take a leaf out of Sam McKnight’s book. Backstage at Chanel, in a look he dubbed ‘rich beach,’ he added a hefty dose of gloss then pinned models’ waves into a half-up half-down style, fastened with a pearl-adorned ribbon hair accessory.

At Michael Kors, stylist Orlando Pita conjured up an après-surf mood for a bevy of different models, including Bella Hadid, Binx Walton and Zoe Thaets (below), proving you don’t need a straight, blonde mane as a canvas. 

The one thing every ‘do had in common? No beach required. Here are the best products for faking it whatever your hair type… 

Model Zoe Thaets at Michael Kors SS19
  • Best shampoo for surfer girl hair

    IGK Hair 2 in 1 Shampoo and Texturizer

    IGK Hair 1995 2-in-1 Shampoo and Texturizer

    The best Cali-girl texture starts in the shower. If your hair’s fine, limp and prone to looking flat – no matter how many body-boosting products you apply – consider this innovative shampoo a real saviour.

    Leave it on for two minutes before rinsing and skip conditioner. Spiked with special bentonite clay, it absorbs oils while lending a certain grip and firmness. Once dry, you’ll notice your hair’s less soft and slippy with a little grit. Rock it alone or follow with a styling product.


  • Best surfer girl hair spray for hold

    L’Oreal Professionnel Tecni.ART Pli Thermo-Modelling Spray

    You’ll rarely spot a stylist’s kit that doesn’t include this multi-tasking heat-activated wonder spray. It’s a true backstage staple, used as the first styling step for almost every wavy ‘do.

    Offering shape memory, grip and hold as well as volume and root lift, it acts like a make-up primer for your tresses.

    Saturate towel-dried hair, blow-dry then continue the styling process. Whatever you apply subsequently will perform more effectively. And your finished look? Expect it to last and last.


  • Best texturising mousse for surfer girl hair

    Umberto Giannini Mermaid Hair Volume Mousse

    Umberto Giannini Mermaid Hair Volume Mousse

    Pro hairstylists love using mousses for building body and coaxing out hair’s natural twirls. Forget anything you thought about them making hair crispy and stiff, this foam’s formulated with coconut oil to inject rich, swishy volume.

    If your hair’s naturally straight, work it through then dry with a diffuser. If you’re naturally curly or wavy and simply want a boost, it’s the dream for you, too. 

    Scrunch a ping-pong ball-sized blob right through and leave to air-dry. It even boasts UV filters for protection against damage. Prepare to be surprised at how much natural movement you really have.


  • Best all-rounder sea salt spray for surfer girl hair

    Sachajuan Ocean Mist Spray

    Sachajuan Ocean Mist

    This tousle-cheating spritz has a cult following in the hair world and for good reason. It lends hair a covetable mermaid-worthy finish without a pesky fuzzy halo.

    It works on both wet and dry hair and no matter how much you load on, you won’t get a crunchy, gritty feel. 

    Consider it a Malibu break in a bottle. 


  • Best value salt spray for surfer girl hair

    Bleach London Swamp Spritz

    Bleach London Swamp Spritz

    Caroline Flack’s in the fan club for this more affordable texture-maker. Housed in a whopping 200ml bottle and considering it’s got the know-how of the Bleach London salons’ founders behind it, you get plenty of bang for your buck.

    Veil it all over damp or towel-dried locks and leave to air-dry to dial up the lived-in aesthetic. It won’t leave hair feeling crispy or sticky.


  • Best surfer girl hair mist for shine

    Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist

    Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist

    This was McKnight’s secret weapon for the Chanel girls’ uber-chic lustrous take on beach waves. It’s lighter than most texturising sprays so hair never looks over-styled or stiff and you’ll still be able to run your fingers right through it.

    Just shake well and spritz onto dry hair. Incredible gloss-giving skills aside, it smells divine – a blend of frankincense, cedar and juniper, created by perfumer Lyn Harris.


  • Best surfer girl hair paste for short hair

    Redken Dry Texture Shampoo Paste 05

    Guido Palau proved you don’t need super-long hair to work undone waves. For the Coach models with bobs, he turned to this genius double-duty product. A hybrid of a dry shampoo and a styling paste, it absorbs oil while delivering a re-workable hold and ‘piecey’ effect.

    Palau rubbed a little between his fingers, evenly dispersed it – concentrating on the roots and scalp area – then added the remaining amount to the ends. It’s a game-changer if you’ve just had a cut and your usual texturisers aren’t doing the job.


  • Best surfer girl hair product for Afro hair

    Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion Spray

    Got textured curly hair? Most salt sprays will be your hair’s worst enemy but this oil-infused version of the cult Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, £20, is just the ticket for a ‘just stepped out of the ocean’ mood. 

    Loaded with coconut and passion fruit oils, it keeps hair nourished and sheeny while still cheating that all-important ‘sea-tossed’ effect. Just use plenty of leave-in conditioner first – along with your usual gel or creme – if your curls are prone to feeling dry and frazzled.


  • Best heated tool for surfer girl hair

    ghd Curve Creative Curl Wand

    Even naturally wavy locks sometimes need a helping hand on the movement front and this tool is your shortcut. For the most natural effect, rough dry your hair. Then take random sections and wrap around the barrel, working in different directions and leaving the ends straight to prevent them from looking overly uniform.

    Once curled, take each section of hair at the end and lightly pull and shake for a softer, more undone result before lightly misting with hairspray.


  • Best lightening spray for surfer girl hair

    Ouai Haircare Sun of a Beach Ombre Spray

    A beach-baked mane isn’t just about texture – colour should look delicately touched by the sun, too. This spray promises to enhance all hair colours, whether natural or pre-dyed, although you’ll see the most dramatic effects if you’re blonde.

    Masterminded by hair legend Jen Atkin, it gets to work minutes after sun exposure, leaving hair subtly lighter and brighter without a hint of brassiness. Coconut water and castor oil stop it from stripping. Simply spray onto clean, damp locks and gently comb through.


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Others: Getty Images and courtesy of brands.