How To Get Mermaid Waves (AKA The Hottest Summer Hair Trend)


mermaid hairSource: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images

Long mermaid waves will forever be a summer vibe, but for 2021, they’re set to be THE summer hair trend. All of our fave celebs have been seen sporting the trend, from the Kardashians to Lizzo and Winnie Harlow. However, unlike previous summer seasons, they’ve moved from the beach onto the red carpet and into everyday city life. Just ask Zendaya, who slayed mermaid waves (effortlessly) at the Oscars. The best part is they’re super easy to achieve at home; you can even get the look without using heat, according to celeb hairstylist Chris Appleton. Here’s everything you need to know…

How To Get Mermaid Waves Without (lots of) Heat


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A post shared by Chris Appleton (@chrisappleton1)

One of our favorite things about mermaid waves is you can easily achieve them without (or little) heat styling. Chris Appleton, the man behind the touseled hair of Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, and J.Lo, recently spilled his fave technique for mermaid waves:

“If you have long hair, section your hair into a middle parting and braid two low braids on each side, ensuring you keep your roots flat. Then, go to sleep with them braided or go over dry hair with a flat iron to create the perfect undone, on-trend waves.” With this style, Chris insists, “It’s important to keep the roots flat, so there’s not too much volume, but there’s still that beautiful undone texture on the ends.”

To elevate this style, add a high gloss finish, which is another huge hair trend RN. Celeb hairstylist Dom Seeley recommends using Color Wow Extra MIST-ical Shine Spray, $20, as it’s quick and easy to use yet still delivers a high level of shine. He explains, “I love this product as it’s super lightweight, it’s instant, non-greasy, and has an incredibly realistic shine. It also contains heat protectant and melts into hair when used with flat or curling irons.”

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If you’ve already been blessed with curly hair but still want to achieve mermaid waves without heat styling, try this clipping technique. It’s quick and easy and only requires a strong-hold mouse and some clips.

How To Achieve Mermaid Waves With Heat

You may have seen a variety of different mermaid wave tutorials on social media, and the truth is, there are so many ways to DIY the style at home. Here’s a quick breakdown of our fave options.

Option 1: Use A Wave Styler

The easiest way to create mermaid waves is by using a crimper with large tongues. This will effortlessly create the perfect bend for mermaid curls. Our go-to tool is the Mermade Hair Mermade Pro Waver 32MM, $63, as it’s made with ionic ceramic barrels to protect the hair from damage. Plus, the extra-large triple barrels mean there’s no need for winding, rolling, twisting, or pulling the hair, thereby minimizing damage.

As always, whenever using heat-styling tools, it’s important to prep and protect your locks. We’re currently obsessed with the Color Wow Dream Cocktail Coconut-Infused, $25, which was also recommended by Dom Seeley. He explains why he loves it, “The formula is instantly absorbed and doesn’t leave any residue or feel heavy – it’s the best prep for heat-styling. It’s actually classed as a supplement for your hair, so it’s like a vitamin dose for both inside and outside the hair follicle.”

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A post shared by Jackie Aina (@jackieaina)

To increase the longevity of your mermaid locks, take note from Jackie Aina, who clips the hair where she wants the bend of the wave to sit. We love to use these Mermade Hair Mermade Hair Clips, $7, as they’re lightweight, so they won’t pull down or straighten the curl.

Option 2: Use Your Flat Iron

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If you don’t want to splash out on a new tool, you can use your straighteners to achieve mermaid waves. Celebrity hairstylist Sabrina Porsche shares her easy step-by-step tutorial above. Just remember to twist your wrist away from your face, so the hair feeds over (not under) the flat iron. Also, be aware that the smaller the section, the curlier your hair will be.

Now you know how to get the look, here’s some serious summer hairspo…

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A post shared by Kylie 🤍 (@kyliejenner)

Side note: You don’t need waist-length locks for this lock. It also looks hella cute on shorter cuts.

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A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating)

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A post shared by Justine Skye (@justineskye)

For more hair care tips, check out 7 hairstyling mistakes you could be making.