See photos of beachy waves.
Step 1: Start with the right haircut To get beachy waves, you don't necessarily have to have long hair (check out this amazing shoulder-length cut here and this one, too). What you do need is long layers. Waves won't fall right on hair that's all one length. You need to remove excess weight by getting long layers cut into your hair, no matter the length.
Step 2: Spritz freshly washed, towel-dried hair with texturizing spray I love Bumble and Bumble's Surf Spray and Frederic Fekkai's Beach Waves. Spray all over the head to get a rough texture. If you have thick hair, spray less.
Step 3: Scrunch hair as it dries All of us have some natural wave in our hair and scrunching hair as it dries is the key to finding it. You can either let hair air-dry or use a diffuser on your hair dryer. To properly scrunch hair, hold a section in your palm, then fold it accordian-style (suggests hairstylist Bronwen Melvin in Marie Claire) up towards your scalp, then squeeze. When you release, you should have a perfect little wave in your hair.
Step 4: Create curls with an iron You can skip this step, but if you want even more curl, create haphazard curls with a curling iron. The secret is not to create perfect curls. Wrap random 2-inch thick sections of hair around the fat barrel of a curling iron.
Step 5: Finger comb hair Run your fingers through hair to break up the curls. You can put a bit of shine serum on your fingers to add extra shine, but avoid this step if you have super fine hair. (Shine serum can weigh fine hair down).
Step 6: Set the wave Bend upside down at the waist with your head down and spritz a light holding spray on the roots. Stand back up and spritz the wave lightly to set it.