How To Create Perfect Waves (In Your Sleep)

By Jenn Rose Smith

Spend the night in these braids and wake up with perfect beach waves.

Trying to create undone, natural, bohemian looking waves with a curling iron is actually a bit of a paradox — and yet we still find ourselves plugging in at the mirror again and again. Our team is constantly talking about finding good alternatives to heat-styling our hair, so we reached out to stylist Erica Rae to learn her favorite technique for creating natural looking waves sans curling iron. “All my clients want that ‘I just woke up like this’ hair right now,” she says. “And the best part about this overnight method is that you literally do wake up with perfect waves!” The secret to Erica’s technique is setting the braids with just a touch of heat from a flat-iron before going to bed. She also tells clients to leave the braids undone on the ends to avoid unnatural creasing from hair ties. “This technique works for all hair types, and works especially well with textured or coarse hair like Brigette’s,” she says. Read on to see Brigette’s hair transformed into the perfect beachy waves and learn Erica’s time/energy/hair-saving technique:

Spend the night in these braids and wake up with perfect beach waves.


  1. Start with DRY hair, clean or dirty, and start by sectioning the hair into four large sections. You can part the sections from ear to ear and down the middle. In the morning when you take the braids down you can move your part to where ever you prefer.
  2. Clip all four large sections away using any kind of clip.
  3. Split your first large section in half by taking a horizontal part.
  4. Separate the two small sections.
  5. Take the top small section and braid it into a regular three strand braid, leaving the ends loose.
  6. Braid the remaining bottom small section.
  7. Use this method to braid small sections from the three remaining large sections of hair.
  8. Next, use a flat iron and press the braids with high heat and firm pressure. This is the most important step. If you have super straight hair that doesn’t curl well, you might want to repeat this step an extra time.
  9. Once you’ve completed each braid you can then clip the braid up and away with a bobby pin. You can also just leave them hanging. You can now sleep with these braids and undo them in the morning for beachy waves.

Spend the night in these braids and wake up with perfect beach waves.

ERICA’S PRO TIP: This technique works best overnight, but you can also perform it in a hurry by stepping up the heat factor. Wrap foil around the braids before hitting them with the flat iron. This will make the heat a bit more intense and will also trap the heat. Remove the foils once they have cooled down. Note: only do the foil step if you are wanting to do this style in a hurry. Braid away and sleep tight!

Spend the night in these braids and wake up with perfect beach waves.photographed by jessica attie