Move over beach waves — it's all about 'water waves' in 2022

Think: fluid not forced

BEAUTYcrew Content Producer / April 20 2022

For the longest time, beach waves had us in a firm chokehold as the go-to relaxed yet glam hairstyle. 

For years, we were doing desperate things for that effortless ‘just emerged from the water’ beach hair texture. 

We Googled ‘how to curl hair with a straightener’ relentlessly, and even memorised Hailey Bieber’s beachy wave hair routine to the letter. 

But turns out all our endless toils in the pursuit of good hair were for nought, because as far as 2022 hair trends go, it’s all about ‘water waves’ this year. 

What are ‘water waves’?

The Zoe Report interviewed Barry Lee Moe (AKA the genius behind the hair on Pose and Pam and Tommy) to get the 411 on the lowkey, fluid-form hairstyle.

“Water waves are flat, S-shaped waves that have a loose, graceful appearance, mimicking the motion of waves in the water,” he explained. 

Makes sense really, doesn’t it? 

The defining characteristic that sets them apart from trends like beach waves and mermaid waves is the easy-going, relaxed finish that imitates naturally wavy hair. 

“Water waves are still at the beach in spirit,” Moe added. “But they tend to be more relaxed and smooth, using a flat iron to create movement.” 

Think: Zendaya at the Oscars in 2021.

The light, softly-waved texture of water waves means that a simple gust of wind will allow you to unleash your inner Beyoncé and live out all your wind machine fantasies. Iconic.

Image credit: Getty

Image credit: @beyonce

Image credit: @haileesteinfeld

Water waves are also a no-brainer style for conquering that lived-in look synonymous with festival culture. Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner were twinning at Coachella this year with their silky water waves and baby braids, making it through more than just a few days in the California heat. 

Image credit: @kendalljenner

Image credit: @kendalljenner

How to style ‘water waves’

Moe advised The Zoe Report that using a flat iron in a staircase, S-wave motion with“slow, smooth movements from left to right will help achieve the perfect loose, flowing wave.”

However, the great thing about water waves is that you don’t necessarily need to invest in straighteners to achieve the look. 

According to hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, “braids are the best heat-free way to create the look and don’t require blowing the hair straight with a blowdryer and then using a flat iron.”

“[Simply] create seven to eight small, loose braids all over the head while your hair is still damp,” he instructed in the same article. “Then, when you wake up, release the braids and use a paddle brush to gently brush the strands out.”

Image credit: Getty

Image credit: @glencocoforhair

Image credit: Getty

After a more textured look? Pair your water waves with a few micro braids to add some visual interest to your liquid-like lengths like Megan Fox. 

Image credit: Getty

Image credit: Getty

The perfect accent to your new water waves? Bubble braids. This is how to nail the trend according to a pro. 

Main image credit: Getty

Briar is a Content Producer at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Girlfriend and Beauty Heaven.