Ouai's Wave Spray is seriously good, as are all Ouai products. The founder, Jen Atkin, has a knack for creating a vibe with all her clients' hair that is at once both super cool and laid back. Thankfully, her product line brings that aesthetic to us because, sadly, unless you're a Kardashian, Jenner, or Chrissy Teigen, getting an appointment with Atkin is just not going to happen.
I tried the spray on my naturally wavy hair to see if it could give me the loose, sexy beach hair of my dreams.
Pros + Cons
- Refines waves and adds body
- Can be used with or without heat
- Formulated without drying salt
- Doesn't create waves in straight hair
- May weigh down fine hair
The Bottom Line: Wave-defining texture and shine
Ouai's Wave Spray is best for adding texture and shine to wavy or curly hair types. Rice protein gives body and weight to hair, while panthenol, glycerin, and coconut water smooth frizz and add shine.
Ouai Wave Spray
Best for: Wavy or curly hair
Uses: Adds hold and texture for beachy waves
Star Rating: 4/5
Potential allergens: Yes—corn protein, corn starch
Active ingredients: Rice protein, coconut water, jasmine flower extract, ginger root extract, and more.
Clean?: No—contains BHT and dyes
About the brand: Meaning "yes" in French, Ouai embodies that Parisian cool-girl, nonchalant aesthetic without trying too hard. The always-chic, sulfate-free line contains strengthening proteins to give damaged hair types a boost.
About My Hair
My hair dries naturally wavy and is on the thicker side.
The Feel: Smooth, not sticky
An ingenious formula that uses rice protein instead of the usual sea salt, the Wave Spray doesn't leave strands crusty, sticky, or dried out. It also doesn't weigh down hair, get lost in thicker textures, or cause damage to color-treated hair.
It's lightweight and doesn't leave hair feeling tacky.
The Scent: A surprising floral blend
No matter how good the formula might be, the scent can either make a product and catapult it to cult-favorite status or, unfortunately, it can break it. When it comes to the fragrance of this spray, Atkin didn't go with the obvious choice.
Most wave sprays designed for creating beach hair smell like a tropical vacation (i.e., coconuts), but the unexpected hint of soft florals in this one is not at all cheesy or overpowering. The blend of notes, which the brand calls North Bondi, is strong enough to refresh your hair on day two, but not too pungent that it'll overtake your other fragrances.
The notes are: bergamot, Italian lemon, rose de mai, magnolia, lily, blackberry, violet, cedarwood, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, and white musk, according to Ouai.
Ouai Wave Spray contains several key ingredients that make it an effective volumizing treatment for most hair types:
Carrot, ginger root, and jasmine flower extracts: All are said to make hair thicker, shinier, and stronger—thanks to the heavy dose of minerals and antioxidants in each.
Coconut water: Your favorite beverage to chug after an all-nighter or intense workout also has benefits when applied topically to your hair. It's (unsurprisingly) hydrating, and has antifungal properties as well.
Rice protein: To add volume and thickness to hair, rice and other proteins from corn and yeast are included in Ouai's Wave Spray. This is the ingredient that replaces salt, used to create waves in most other texturizing sprays.
The Weight: Light as air
Unlike some sprays that leave hair feeling sticky and weighed down, Ouai Wave Spray keeps things light. The rice protein adds texture without any sticky, salty residue—a plus if your strands are on the thinner side.
If you're looking to add volume, you can also spritz your roots and gently tease your hair to give extra lift.
Interactions: Avoid oils
Since you likely want to enhance your texture with this spray, avoid using a heavy leave-in conditioning treatment or oil along with it. You don't want to weigh down hair, and the Wave Spray already contains smoothing ingredients to tame frizz and dryness.
How to Apply
Ouai's Wave Spray creates undone hair at its best, which means you can spritz towel-dried strands and leave them to dry naturally safe in the knowledge that this product has your back.
But if air-drying your hair isn't your style, it also works well as a texturizing spray on dry hair. Start by giving your hair a slight bend with a curling wand (the GHD Curve Soft Curl Iron, $199, is brilliant at creating natural-looking waves and curls), then follow up with Wave Spray all over to give it a cool, undone texture or direct it at the roots to boost the volume.
You can even use the mist on day-old dry hair to revive or reactivate your hairstyle, and the formula is light enough that it won't weigh down your strands or leave behind sticky product residue. In other words, no matter if you're looking to dry your hair, style it with heat, or refresh it the next day, with this spray, it's buh-bye, bad hair days.
The Results: Soft, never-sticky waves
My hair looks more cool-girl bedhead, less dragged through a hedge, and that's definitely worth shouting about.
Ouai's Wave Spray teased my strands into perfectly loose beachy waves. My hair looks more cool-girl bedhead, less dragged through a hedge, and that's definitely worth shouting about.
Although it could work on straighter hair types to create texture and grit on otherwise slippery strands, I've found this definitely does work best to enhance naturally wavy and curly hair types. This helps to enhance the texture, dull the frizz and tame my naturally wavy, air-dried hair for a more refined style. It could potentially weigh down finer, straighter hair types.
The Value: On point
Between its quality ingredient list and efficacy, Ouai's Wave Spray is fairly priced at $26 for 4.9 oz There's also a mini size for just $12, so you can try it before you commit to the full-size product.
Ouai Wave Spray vs R+Co Sail Soft Wave Spray
Like Ouai's product, R+Co's Sail Soft Wave Spray gives lightweight hold and shine. It's a bit more expensive—$29 for 5 oz—and has a heady scent blend that includes notes of juniper berries, leather, and blood orange.
But it contains sea kelp extract to amplify waves, and flower and herbal extracts that tame hair instead of keratin like Ouai's spray. R+Co also includes witch hazel, which can be drying.
Our Verdict: A win for waves
Ouai's Wave Spray is great for enhancing wavy and curly textures with body and shine sans frizz. The unexpected floral scent buys time between shampoos, and it's a good value with a mini option as well.