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Five years ago I got my first ever blowout at a Drybar in Soho with a friend for her birthday and became obsessed. I walked — no strutted — out of the salon with newfound confidence. My usually frizzy and wavy hair that is extremely prone to tangles was perfectly tamed, voluminous curls cascading down my back like I’d just walked out of a shampoo ad. I had long fried my hair with a straightener in an effort to wrangle it, but this new ‘do was a far cry from the limp strands I was usually left with after running the flat iron over it several times.
Chasing that same high, I continued to find reasons to book blowouts for the next year. Everything from fancy dinners and big work meetings to casual rooftop barbecues became excuses to plop down in the salon chair and emerge with flowing, beachy waves. Unfortunately, it also put a big dent in my wallet that was simply not sustainable. Determined to recreate the look myself at home, I tried everything from jumbo overnight rollers to curling wands to no avail. Until I discovered the Beachwaver.
I knew I’d finally found my ultimate weapon when I waltzed into work one day after trying out the Beachwaver that morning and my colleague looked up from her desk, did a double-take, and said, “Your hair looks amazing! Did you get a blowout?”
What the Beachwaver does
The Beachwaver is a deceptively simple curling iron tool. Like many other curling irons, it features a classic barrel that you can buy in three different sizes (.75 inches, 1 inch, or 1.25 inches), a small clamp that holds each strand in place, an on/off button, and plus/minus buttons to adjust the temperature anywhere from 290 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where it differs from your standard curling iron is with the addition of three more buttons: two arrows pointing right and left, a Home button, and a fast/slow adjustable switch. The Beachwaver has automatic rotation and with the simple push of the right or left arrow, it will rotate the barrel for you in your preferred direction for identical curls every time with minimal effort. Place a strand into the clamp, press one button, and watch your hair zip around the barrel before unclamping to reveal a flawless spiral. Use the home button to set the barrel back to its starting position, and you’re ready to move on to the next strand. It’s that easy.
How to use the Beachwaver
Because I have very long and thick hair and prefer the look of looser, beachy curls, I use the largest barrel size, the S1.25. However, those with thinner hair or who prefer tighter curls may like the S1 or S.75. I like my curls to all go the same direction and always twist them using the right button, but this is simply a matter of personal preference and what you want the end hairstyle to look like.
Similarly, I either use the small clamp all the way at the ends of my hair for more traditional curls, or start it up a couple of inches for more casual beach waves similar to what you might get if you use a curling wand.
I find I get the best results when I start with a heat protectant spray and blow dry my hair straight with the Revlon One Step first. I set the curling iron to about 390 degrees Fahrenheit, hold the iron vertically rather than horizontally, and keep the curling iron on each strand for roughly eight seconds before letting it go. However, the heat and time for each curl will largely depend on your hair type. If you have thinner hair you can likely use less heat and hold each curl for less time.
I work through my hair in sections and use styling clips like these to keep strands I’ve already curled out of the way. I have a lot of hair and it takes me roughly 15 minutes to curl my entire head. After, I leave the curls untouched for about 20 to 30 minutes to set (usually while I do my makeup and get dressed). Then I turn my hair upside down and gently comb my fingers through to separate the curls slightly. Lastly, I add a bit of smoothing serum to touch up the frizz and fly-aways. And voila!
I’ve also found that the Beachwaver tends to make my curls last longer than other tools I’ve used. My hair often still looks pristine after a windy day walking around the streets of New York. And, if I twist my hair into a loose bun at night, it even looks great the next day. However, this again depends on hair type and how well your hair holds a curl.
It does take a bit of practice to become completely comfortable with the Beachwaver and make it a speedy process. The same coworker who complimented my hair when I first tried this curling iron promptly bought one herself when I revealed my secret. After her first two uses, she lamented that she was not getting the same results. However, about a month later she too was raving about it, having gotten the hang of it.
Over the years I’ve tried my Beachwaver out on many friends with varying hair types and it’s worked like a charm on most of them. But, I have one friend with incredibly fine hair that’s prone to being oily and it did not work at all on her.
The bottom line
The Beachwaver is a rotating curling iron that makes it easy to get same-size spiral curls and waves with minimal effort. It does take some getting used to at first, but the S1.25 has revolutionized my hair routine and made it possible for me to style my thick, long hair into salon-worthy styles from the comfort of my home.