How To Get Vacation-Ready Mermaid Hair

Although they were thought to be kindly omens in some mythological traditions, most cultures historically believed that mermaids could stir up life-threatening storms while dragging sailors to certain death at the bottom of the sea (via Ocean Info). Stories of these watery goddesses began circulating as far back as 1000 BC, according to Mermaids of Earth. Over the years, pictures of these alluring sirens with long, fish-like tails are often depicted in a similar manner: as beautiful creatures whose long, wavy hair barely conceals their buxom figures. 


From any vantage point, it's a far cry from the sweet, demure Disney portrayal but for one trait: the mermaids' wind-swept hair — a result of it getting wet and then being whipped dry by the wind as the mermaids recline on beaches or rocky outcroppings.

If you want to replicate "mermaid hair," it should reflect two crucial elements. First, it should draw inspiration from the "beach style" look, which is loose and carefree. Think of it as an organized, messy look, which just may be the happiest oxymoron you and your hair have ever encountered. Second, mermaid hair is wavy, Meraki Lane says. If you have naturally wavy hair, this means you're at least halfway there to emulating the vacation-ready mermaid look. But if your hair needs a little help, no one will be the wiser if you turn to either heatless or heated methods to achieve this look that could turn the head of any sailor.


Heatless methods any mermaid would love

You don't have to be a scheming mermaid to know that styling your hair often pivots on how much time you have available. With that in mind, note that any of these heatless tactics can either be achieved with damp hair that dries into luscious waves overnight or can be molded on the spot, perhaps with a blow dryer assist.


For example, consider braiding your hair in two sections. Applying a styling lotion or mousse beforehand can give the waves extra staying power. Make the braids low and loose so that you end up with waves and not kinks, Better not Younger recommends. Heatless hair rollers are a fine alternative, though you may unwind them to find more curl than wave. If so, soften the curls by running your fingers through your hair (first) or "brushing down" the curls with a comb or brush.

Creating a headful of pin curls with damp hair can be a particularly fun method, though you should plan to experiment with how many sections to create. All Things Hair offers a helpful reminder: the thicker the sections, the looser the waves. Be sure the pin curls are fully dry before you remove all those hair pins. 


Finally, scrunching damp hair is practically a must-know method. It's simple, too, achieved by grabbing handfuls of hair from the ends and squeezing them up to your scalp. It's also a terrific way to restore waves that may sag during the day.

Turn up the heat and wrap away

You may be secretly blanching at the thought of using a curling iron to create mermaid waves. (Are you cheating?) If so, it may help to know that creating waves is different from creating curls. Instead of clamping your hair on the iron to begin the wind-up, you wrap sections of hair around the barrel instead — starting near the handle and spiraling down toward the end (via A Beautiful Mess). As soon as you unfurl the first section of hair, you should be struck by how wrapping results in loose waves. This makes sense because you're not using a curling iron in the "traditional way" — clamping down on the hair for a secure hold and then tightly rolling the iron up your hair shaft. 


As you know, all curling irons are not created equal; they're defined by the width of the barrel. Your three best choices, Blowout Studio says, probably are the 1-inch, 1¼-inch, and 1½-inch irons. The smaller the barrel, the smaller the curl or the wave. The result will also depend on the length and other characteristics of your hair, so it may be wise not to banish an iron to the back of your bathroom cabinet until you've tried it.

Whichever iron you choose, let your hair cool down before tossing your head a few times and maybe supplying your own kindly omen: a few pumps of holding spray that any mermaid would envy.