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Here's How to Achieve Those Mermaid Waves You've Been Seeing Everywhere

You can easily DIY this hairstyle on your own!
Here's How to Achieve Those Mermaid Waves You've Been Seeing Everywhere
IMAGE Instagram/nadine, Koji Arboleda for
You can easily DIY this hairstyle on your own!

It's funny that we associate flawlessly wavy hair to mermaids, when in retrospect, curls that perfect don't stand a chance once they’re submerged in water. We actually won't blame Ariel if keeping her locks perfectly waved was one of the reasons why she wanted to become human. Because if we had "mermaid hair" naturally, we’d want to know how to keep it for as long as possible, too.

But alas, we weren't all blessed with mythical creature-level curls. Some of us have to do the work to get them, which may sound tedious, but we swear it's easier than asking an underwater witch for legs. In fact, here are some stunning photos of mermaid waves to give you some motivation:

Now that you’re set on the look you want, let’s break down the exact ways for you to get them. Ahead, we break down three methods, from the easy and heatless to a technique straight from a pro:


How to Create Wavy Mermaid Hair

1. Overnight braids

This technique will literally take you the whole night (or day), but it's simplest of all, not to mention that it doesn't involve any heat!

Start with freshly-washed hair that's damp or completely dry. As long as it's no longer dripping wet, you can go ahead and part your hair in the middle to start working on your braids. To keep things simple, use a classic braiding technique (the one with three sections that you cross over in the middle) from your roots to the last inch of your hair. This will help replicate the effect of a 1/2-inch iron quite well, compared to more complicated types of braids.

Once you’re done with one side, secure the ends with an elastic and do the same braid on the other side of your hair. Keep the braids on for as long as possible (eight to 12 hours is a good range) and when you're ready, remove the elastic and gently shake your strands out of the braid. Brush out the waves to loosen them a little and then add some hold with hairspray so it lasts all day!

Recommended Videos

All that said, don't feel restricted by this technique. There are a ton of heatless ways to get this look inspired by overnight braids. Here's a tutorial by YouTuber Jessica Vu, where she wraps her hair around a robe belt in a braid-like style. Watch the video below:

2. With a curling iron

If you need your waves stat, it's totally possible to style it yourself like a pro. We asked celebrity hairstylist Mong Amado to tell us the step-by-step process he used to achieve Andrea Brillantes' waves on her Preview cover, and with some practice, you can perfect your technique at home!

andrea brillantes preview
PHOTO BY Koji Arboleda for

Step 1: Spray a volumizing product from root to tip and blow dry.

This product can be a texturizing spray, dry shampoo, sea salt spray, or anything in your collection that gives your hair that extra oomph. Once applied, massage the product roughly all over your strands and blow dry with the cold air setting.

Step 2: Section, curl, and set.

Section your crown area into a middle part, and then start curling your hair with a 1/2-inch barrel curling iron. Mong suggests curling downwards to nail the mermaid wave effect! When you're done, set the look with a light spritzing of hairspray. Try to avoid spraying too much to keep your locks from turning crunchy!

Step 3: Brush and style.

It's a good rule of thumb to brush out your curls after styling to give yourself a more natural-looking wave. Note that Andrea's waves here are looser than your usual mermaid wave, so feel free to skip the brush if you want a tigher curl. To finish, style your hair as needed, whether it be polishing your hair line or tucking some areas behind your ear.


3. With a waver

Sorry for not bringing it up earlier, but there's actually a type of iron made precisely for creating this kind of texture on the hair called a waver. It's also often called a three barrel curling iron, since it's quite literally a tool with three big curling irons lumped together. Instead of wrapping your locks around the barrel though, you clip it inside and press, molding waves into your strands in a jiffy. For a mermaid wave look, you can use the same steps above except replace the curling iron with a waver.

Watch the video below to see how it works!

Shop the wavers below to try the look at home:

triple barrel curling iron

Triple Barrel Curling Iron, P1800, SUESH,

babyliss waver
PHOTO BY Beautymnl

Deep Barrel Waver, P4865, BABYLISS, Beautymnl

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