Lavender Festival in Imlay City Guide the Official Festival Guide by Annie Fairfax

How to Curl Hair Perfectly + Get Mermaid Waves

Dreaming of wavy, mermaid curls this summer? Here are my step by step instructions to follow + some awesome hair care tips to help keep your hair looking gorgeously tousled all summer long! This tutorial is geared towards people who, like me, have long, coarse & curly hair, but I’ll also add tips on extending styles and curling naturally straight hair later in the post! Think of it as a choose your own adventure type post.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a (very) small commission. The revenue generated from this helps maintain my site and allows me to continue creating beautiful content for you. Any items marked “c/o” means they were given to me to review, style and share with you. Know that I never link to items I don’t absolutely love and highly recommend to you – thank you! 

You can check out my hair care tips post here!

If you prefer to watch me demonstrate how I style my hair, I just uploaded a mermaid curl tutorial to YT, which you can find below!


Step 1: Wash & dry hair + wash your hands! I always wash my hands before styling my hair. I find that my hair stays clean longer, which means that my style lasts longer as well, if I start with a fresh, clean slate. Brush hair thoroughly.

I prefer to allow my hair to air dry, because it makes my hair shinier and softer than blow drying. It’s good to let your hair dry naturally once in awhile, so it can take less damage from heat. If you prefer blow drying, or if you’re in a rush, this blow drier is the best I’ve ever used, has tons of settings, and dries my hair quickly with minimal damage.

This detangler spray works wonders! I spray the detangler throughout my hair, carefully comb my hair with a wide tooth comb while it’s still wet (I use this one, but any will do), starting from the bottom, and then I brush my hair back & wear a cotton headband so my baby hairs will dry straighter and I won’t have to straighten them as much while styling. You do not want to see what my hair looks like if I skip this step haha.

Step 2: Use a mini-straightener to straighten baby hairs. Minis produce less heat, so they don’t damage delicate baby hairs, plus they allow you to get right to the root. If your hair is already straight, skip this step.

Step 3: Section off hair, just above the ear. Clip up the top portion using a large styling clip (or two if you have a lot of hair like I do!). You should now have roughly 2/3 of your hair clipped up on top of your head, and 1/3 hanging free. The hanging section is the section we will start on!

Step 4: Take a 1″ section of hair, and using the lowest heat setting that will work for your hair (for me, this is the highest heat setting on my curling iron), wrap hair counterclockwise around your curling iron/styling wand (perfect for longer haired girls!), and hold until the hair becomes hot. You may have to do some trial and error here, but for thin hair, 3-5 seconds should be enough, and thicker hair may need 5-10 seconds of heat. I hold my irons at a 45° angle.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 around your head. For a more natural look, switch up the direction you curl your hair in. For even more variety, you can use a few different size curling irons, or open/close the clamp of your curling iron the way I do in my video above. This will prevent your curls from looking too uniform, giving the perfect beachy look to your hair.

Step 6: Once you’ve finished your first section, repeat steps 3-5 throughout the rest of your hair, working in small sections. I curl my hair starting with the bottom layers up to my roots, and as I get closer to the “surface” of my hair, I only curl about midway, as I explain in the video.

Step 7: If you need to, touch up the baby hairs/top of your head with a straightener to give it a sleeker look once you’ve finished curling. If you want to maintain the volume, either skip this step, or use a volumizing spray along with it.

Finish it off: I typically finish my look by running my fingers through my curls a few times to loosen them up, and then I spritz on a shine spray & this awesome texture spray, also made just for mermaids!
If you want even looser curls, run your wide tooth comb through your curls to break them up a bit more.

If you have thinner hair, or have trouble keeping your hair curly:
-Try styling your hair a day or two after washing it. The natural oils in your hair can give you more hold, but your style won’t last as long. If you do this, try using a dry shampoo to extend your style(this one is organic, smells amazing, and is made specifically for us mermaids!
-Before styling, use a heat protectant spray, to prevent breakage or other heat damage. I like this one and this one!
-Use mini-clips as shown in the video to cool curls & lock them in.
-I only use hair spray in the summer, but if your hair doesn’t want to stay curly, try spraying each individual curl with a quick burst of product, or spray each layer as you go. When I do use hairspray, I use this one because it prevents fly aways & frizz, while keeping my style flexible.
-For more serious hold, use something like this, which also thickens hair, or this extra firm hold hairspray!
-If your absolutely will not curl, that’s okay! You can do an up do to give the illusion of curlier hair as well, if all else fails. I knew a girl in high school who no matter what she did, her hair could only hold limp, lifeless curls after she fried it and weighed it down with tons of product. It wasn’t a good look. Embrace the hair you have, work with what you’ve got, and learn to love it! Everyone in my high school had beautiful, sleek, stick straight hair and that was the style to have. I have a tough time getting my hair to stay straight, and in the summer or with any amount of humidity it seems downright impossible, so I had to learn to embrace the hair I have. Never forget that you’re beautiful just the way you are! <3

Thank you so much for reading, I know that was a lot, but hopefully this helps, and I can impart some of my hair experience (I went through literal years of trial and error haha).

Let me know what you thought of this in the comments below, and share your tips for beachy hair in the comments below!

xAnnie Fairfax
aka @anniewearsit



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  1. savannah stone says:

    This is so helpful ! My curls never turn out right, hopefully this will help!

    1. I’m so glad it helped! I struggled to curl my hair until I watched a hair tutorial and modified it to work for my hair type! If you curl your hair with this method, please tag me!

    2. Jessica Malinowski says:

      I have a hard time with curls too’

  2. Jessica Malinowski says:

    Beautiful waves!

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