Hair & Makeup

How To Do The Hair Trend Everyone’s Wearing This Summer

What started out as pre-Raphaelite waves at the Met Gala became the season’s mermaid hair trend at the Cannes Film Festival – just featuring a softer, more versatile bend. Here, MALENA HARBERS shares the expert hacks to create this super-simple summer hairstyle, with or without tools

Making waves: Kaia Gerber, Hoyeon Jung and Phoebe Dynevor

Cut back on prep work

“You don’t need a lot of hair products to create mermaid waves, so they’re really easy to style – plus, it means they’ll feel natural in the summer heat, when your hair is prone to getting sweaty and sticky,” says celebrity hairstylist Christian Wood, who created Phoebe Dynevor’s mermaid hair for the Met Gala. The key, he says, it to start with freshly washed, clean hair; no further products (besides a heat-protector, if you’re using tools) are strictly necessary. “If you have wavy/curly hair or a bit of frizz around your hairline, you can smooth your hair first with a blow dryer or a straightening iron, but it doesn’t need to be super-sleek.”

Use a waving tool

“A triple-barrel waving iron works for all hair types and textures,” says Wood. “To create Phoebe Dynevor’s Met Gala waves, I started at the roots to create a gorgeous lift, then took the iron down to the ends of her hair, clamping each section without overlapping.” He suggests dividing your mane into two-inch-thick sections and spritzing each one with hairspray for added hold before using the waver. Do it in the mirror for ease and don’t hold the iron longer than five seconds on each section. “People often think the longer you hold the heat on your hair, the more the wave will hold, but it actually creates an unnatural mark instead.”

The no-heat alternative

You can create the same look with braids, but Wood cautions that it’s more difficult to control the outcome. Start with dry hair and a center parting, then “if you have fine strands, create two braids, starting each one loosely at the scalp and plaiting them all the way down to the ends to give you that root-to-tip wave you get from the tool. Secure it with a silk hair tie and leave it in overnight,” says Wood. For thicker hair, opt for about four to six braids in total, depending on the thickness of your hair. “If you’re prone to fluffiness, run some smoothing serum through before braiding.”

Add polish

“This season, the look is a sleeker mermaid wave than the loose or textured versions of past years,” says Wood. “So, try not to make your waves too messy in order to keep this element of polish.” Here’s where the right finishing product is key. “Once your hair is completely set, mist a very light surf spray all over to give it hold and the tiniest amount of texture. I also like to take a very small amount of dry oil, run it through my fingers and then use them as a comb to make the waves slightly bitty and add a glossy shine.”

Embrace your natural texture

While this look works best on longer hair that’s all one length, you can tweak it to work with a short bob, a layered cut or curly hair, too. “You’ll get more of a beachy look with shorter hair – just like you will if you use the iron on top of natural curls or kinks,” says Wood. The smoother your hair is at the start, the more polished the finish, so it all depends on how much time you have and how you want to interpret the trend. “It’s always nice to have an abbreviated version of any look if that works best for your natural hair type,” adds Wood.


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