The Wavy Hair Products that Nail The Perfect Bend

Are you all about red-carpet glam or have more of a brunch-to-beach aesthetic? Get a product that helps you achieve your dream wavy look.

Although summer is definitely the time beachy hair gets to reign in the spotlight, it’s a look that we’re undeniably, unabashedly in love with all year round. Its sex appeal lies in appearing unfussy, tousled, carefree—all things of (mostly) natural occurrence during those hot, lazy days in the middle of the year. As for the rest of it, well, that’s where wavy hair products come in.

Regardless of how high the mercury hits—or our actual proximity to, well, real water—waves will always remain in high demand. They’re a versatile hairstyle with a remarkably wide range: We’ve got your full, voluptuous barrels that are for fans of the polished look (and reality TV glam), and we’ve also got your tousled, messy-cool wave, signature of beach bunnies and second-day stylers everywhere.

Texturizers, as well as those with ocean-mimicking ingredients like sea salt, have become the products of choice for those who aren’t quite lucky enough to get it straight from the source. There’s quite a bit of nuance to them though, so scroll on down to see which wavy hair products will best get you your bend of choice:

Polished vs. Messy, Plus the Wavy Hair Products You Need for Both

sculpted wavy hair products
Well-defined (and perfectly aligned!) bends are the trademark of a polished wave.

1. Polished Curls

Those who love a sculpted, high-polish look should choose hair care products that help do away with frizz and flyaways—nothing provides a bigger buzzkill to those red-carpet waves than some visible dryness. Starting in the shower is also ideal, as a well moisturized mane helps set the stage for a seamless curling process afterward. We love the frizz-fighting benefits in TRESemmé Flawless Curls Shampoo and TRESemme Flawless Curls Conditioner, a system that hydrates the driest parts of your hair (a.k.a. where you need it most), all the while helping detangle and fight frizz. Genius!

For styling, shaping gels and creams are your best bet. After washing, blow-dry and apply a dime-sized amount of TRESemmé Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream from mid-lengths to ends, ensuring an even level of coverage. Proceed to curl with a medium- to large-barreled iron, holding it horizontally for a more structured wave (here’s how!).

messy wavy hair products
Made for brunch fans and second-day washers alike. Photo credit:

2. Messy

Ahhh… who doesn’t love a cute, super-texturized beachy wave? Lots of products out now promise to simulate that matte, salty curl you get after a day out in the ocean—but without the damage or the crunch, which, honestly, we can all do without. And since we’re also not about to be washing our heads with real salt water anytime soon, a system that gives similar volumizing benefits, while providing a bit of texture and lift, is our next best bet. We love Suave Professionals Sea Mineral Infusion Shampoo and Suave Professionals Sea Mineral Infusion Conditioner, a system infused with rich minerals from the sea that gives a natural bounce. TRESemmé Perfectly (un)Done Shampoo and TRESemme Perfectly (un) Done Conditioner, another wave-supporting system, is silicone-free and is infused with Sea Kelp extract to gently cleanse without added weight.

For that famous messy beach wave, the trick is to texturize and massage in a bit of “grit” before drying. Spray on your texturizer of choice—we’re obsessed with Nexxus New York Salon Care Hydra-Light Leave In Conditioning Foam, which is enriched with Deep Sea Mineral to softly shape hair while also (!) preventing flyaways—on damp hair and rough-dry with your blow-dryer on medium, tousling hair along the way. Next, wrap sections of your hair vertically around a thin- to medium-barreled curling iron, releasing after a few seconds. Go in different directions for a more authentic haphazard effect. Done!

Want to learn how to create curls with just wavy hair products and no heat? Check out these heatless looks that are perfect for hot weather (or lazy days!).