Mermaid waves are having a moment – this is how to create them at home

zendaya and Khloe kardashian on a mermaid background

Things are getting nautical in the world of hair.

Not only have we seen a rise in octopus hair (a mullet with softer tentacle-like layers), but now mermaid waves are also having a moment.

Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, Khloé Kardashian and Lizzo are just a few celebrities who have been sporting the style recently – while over on TikTok, the hairstyle has been tagged more than 5.2 million times.

What sets the mermaid variety apart from regular beachy waves is the fact they are longer and structured, rather than bouncy.

‘While it is a fairly natural style, it differs from beach waves as the style is supposed to look more finished and intentional, with the curls giving a more uniform movement in an S-shape,’ explains hair expert Nicole Petty from Milk + Blush.

The texture is a little different too. Rather than glossy and windswept, these mermaid waves aim to resemble hair that’s been dipped in the sea and then has dried in the sun – in the style typically seen on the sea creatures themselves.

If you’re keen to give them a go, there are a number of ways you can try at home – including with a three-barrel curler.

There are many tutorials of how to achieve this on TikTok, such as this one from @demsmoore.

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Nicole Petty adds: ‘Unlike previously when this style was popular, this time around it’s a requirement to have extra-long and extra voluminous locks.

‘However, if you haven’t already got the hair length required to create the perfect mermaid hair, then don’t worry, you can always invest in extensions to add length and volume.

‘Clip-in hair extensions are the most versatile and cost-effective option and are the perfect solution to temporary longer, thicker locks – while maintaining a healthy scalp and hair.

‘They are the safest, most comfortable, and quickest method for obtaining a hairstyle glow-up with the least commitment required compared to alternative techniques.’

If you have long hair, or simply want to experiment with the style on shorter hair, here’s how to achieve mermaid waves at home using a regular curler.

1. Prep the hair

Nicole says: ‘Start by washing your hair and using a clarifying shampoo and a heat protectant to ensure the hair is in its best condition and protected from any heat tools you may use.

‘For those with straight hair, follow this up by leaving your hair to dry naturally or for those with naturally curly hair, blow-dry it.’

2. Set the hair

‘Sparingly, spray curl hold hairspray onto your locks and dry with a hairdryer to create a more matted effect,’ continues Nicole.

‘Then separate your hair from the crown to the back of your ear and start splitting it into sections, starting at the bottom.’

3. Get the tools out

Nicole says: ‘Hold your curling wand parallel to the ground, working on one section at a time.

‘For the best results, twist the section as you wrap it around the iron, hold for three to five seconds before unwrapping, then cup the curl into your hand to set the shape and pull the end for a loose, wavy look. Repeat this on all sections, from front to back, and then on the top section of your hair.’

4. Shake it and secure it

Next up, Nicole says to shake your hair to blend the sections before lightly combing out to create a less dramatic curl.

She adds: ‘Then finish it off by spraying a flexible hold hairspray all over the look to secure it in place for the day.’

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