I've always thought of my summer style as being somewhat akin to Amanda Seyfried's in Mamma Mia!. Like her character in the movie, I spend most of my time near the water (whether beach or pool), wearing little to no makeup, and letting my hair do its own thing. Recently, however, I've come to realize that that's wishful thinking, kind of like how spending a whole summer singing ABBA songs on a Greek island is wishful thinking. Instead of the windswept mermaid waves I dream of, exposure to chlorine and salt water results in a flat, dull, and tangled mess. That's fine by me if I'm lazing around on the sand for the rest of the day, but I prefer to undertake some sort of styling otherwise.
By "styling," I don't mean that I pull out heat tools and hair spray. Not even close. Sometimes it's as simple as stashing a cute and convenient hair accessory in my beach bag or plaiting my hair post-swim. The key to a perfect summer hairstyle, I've found, is simplicity—something that has an effortless and fun-loving Mamma Mia! vibe but still keeps my hair secured up and off of my face.
Let's start with one that's almost too easy. While your hair is still a tad damp, wrap it up in a messy, looped topknot. Instead of securing it with a traditional hair tie, opt for a brightly colored scrunchie. This Solid and Striped Scrunchie ($26 for a set of 6) comes in multiple colors and patterns that match some of the brand's most popular swimsuits. Don't worry about getting it just right. The whole point is that it looks messy and undone.
Instead of a single braid, try separating your hair into four equal parts and braiding each one down. It requires little to no effort and results in this cool-girl look. Leave the ends to puff out freely for contrast. If you have time to spare, add a rose-petal lip by pressing a little bit of RMS Lip Shine in Content ($25) onto your pout using your ring finger. It's a similar rich berry red color.
Speaking of hair accessories, take inspiration from Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth of the blog Honey & Silk, and pin half of your hair back with a single hair clip. It's quick, easy, and simple, yet it looks romantic and refined. Head over to her page to see the exact one she used. We like using Madewell's Chunky Circle Hair Clip ($13).
Sometimes the perfect beach-to-brunch hairstyle is as simple as a traditional three-strand plait. Add a headband (like this fresh linen one) if you please, or wear as is. Just don't forget to run a little of Ouai Hair Oil ($28) through your mid-lengths and ends before beginning the braid. It will give it a glossy shine while it nourishes dry, sun-damaged hair.
If the classic French braid feels a tad been-there-done-that to you, then try a French braid ponytail hybrid, as demonstrated on the La Perla runway. It's a simple twist on the traditional that gives a fresh effect. Instead of braiding the lengths of your hair all the way down, stop at the nape of your neck and tie off with a hair tie. That's it.
If you have curly hair, show off your natural texture by parting it laterally and tying the top half up into a tousled ponytail like blogger Erica Lavelanet does here. Add a curl-defining product, like Ouidad Curl Recovery Defining Styling Souffle ($26).
Girls with box braids (or anyone really) can go for a simple wrapped bun. It's a classic look that we love. Just do as Miss France, Alicia Aylies, did at this year's French Open and add gold beads or hair rings. They glint beautifully in the sun and put a luxurious twist on a traditional look.
Do as blogger Vic Styles does and update a standard low ponytail with a bright bold scarf. If it's wrapped securely around your hair, you don't even need a hair tie. It's low-maintenance and effortlessly chic. We like Urban Outfitters Large Silky Square Scarf ($12).
I know. This is yet another braid, but braids are easy and summery, so why not? These braided pigtails are updated by threading a hair ribbon through each plait. It's simpler than it looks, too. Start by clipping in a hair ribbon on either side of your head, part your hair into three sections, and braid. That's it. Tie it off with a clear elastic at the end and you're all set.
Wet-look hair is one of the buzziest trends of 2018. It makes sense for summer, too, since it gives off an "I just came from the beach" vibe, which, if you're like me, then you actually did. It might seem complicated and hard to pull off, but it's not. For proof, watch a tutorial from Kim Kardashian West's hairstylist.
Next, check out the 17 best vegan hair products to save your summer strands. Seriously, Byrdie editors (and everyone else) swear by them.