drybar mirror pic

The whole point of beachy waves is that they’re relaxed…easy. The hope is that a bit of salt spray and a few crunching motions, you’ll like a mermaid on land. And for long-haired ladies, it sometimes works out that way. But for most of us short-haired girls, the reality is a little more complicated. As I grow out my short, above-the-shoulder length hair, I wanted to learn how to achieve the only hairstyle I ever covet on shorter locks, so I went to the blowout pros at Drybar to find out the small alterations to make for short hair to get the job done.

And while most of us won’t use the techniques they use at Drybar, where the goal is a lasting blowout—think, a tiny-barrelled blowdry brush to manually curl the hair before any hot tools are used—I learned all sorts of at-home DIY tricks to make the look work.

hair in progress

How to get the look at home:

Once my hair was washed, Coco, my drybar instructor at the blowout bar’s Upper West Side location, applied Drybar’s Texas Tea Volumizing Spray ($26) which goes in wet. A tip: mousse is too sticky for most hair textures, so a spray volumizer is a safer bet to keep things light and airy. After all, the look is all about being casual and undone, regardless of how false that really is. (aka: nobody on Instagram needs to know).

texas tea volumizing spray

A relief: for replicating the look at home, Coco actually suggests letting it air dry, as blowouts can give a smoother look than the rough, effortlessness a Mai Tai blowout is all about. Apply some Drybar Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray, ($25) to your hands and run it through your hair as it dries.

mai tai

One of the most important things you might have never thought about: (I definitely hadn’t)—pay attention to the width of the barrel of your curling iron. A 1-inch will work for most shorter hair, but if you want slightly more curl, you could also go for a ¾ inch option. Too big (aka, 1.25) and the barrel will barely wrap around a shorter ‘do—too thin and you’ll have Shirley Temple curls—aka, way too tight for a natural look. The most important thing, Coco explains, is to make sure that your hair has some sort of bend—especially at the end. Put your hair in the curling iron, letting a little hang out at the end, about an inch or so. Release the curl and pull at it from the bottom of your hair to loosen it up. Et voilà.

For a 1-inch curling iron, Drybar’s The Three-Day Bender ($135), which features nanoionic technology to boost shine and reduce frizz, plus a rotating clamp which makes curling a bit more dummy-proof.

the three day bender

To go smaller, the obvious choice is from Hot Tools (you probably know their flatirons already)—the Hot Tools 24K Gold Spring Curling Iron ($29.95) comes in a ¾ inch barrel, making it easy to get more curl on short locks. This affordable iron features a 24K gold plated barrel, which speeds the circulation of heat, and thus enhances heat up and heat recovery.

hot tools

You only have to curl from the middle of your head. You don’t want the top to be curly—just to have some volume and edge. That can be easily achieved by spraying Drybar’s Triple Sec 3-in-1, $26, to the top-half of your hair, which volumizes, texturizes, and acts like a dry shampoo—after all, a bit of grit in your hair isn’t a bad thing for this look, so you can save on some hair washing. And that’s that—even as the temperatures drop you can have hair that looks like you’ve literally just come out of the ocean.

triple sec