You know how they say the living should be easy in the summertime? We wholeheartedly agree and feel there’s no better season to embrace the freedom of unwashed hair than summer. Fit for warm weather days, sauna hair is here, and it’s a fresh take on the wet look trend but with a spa-like, hair-loving aspect. We tapped stylist Rebecca Murphy to guide us on everything sauna hair and give us a quick breakdown of recreating this beach-kissed ‘do.
“I love sauna hair, especially for a vacation,” says Murphy. “Whether running around town or off to an event, you can dress sauna hair up or down.”
Sounds too good to be true? Believe it! Peep her tutorial below, then read on to learn more.
What is sauna hair?
Like a mermaid who just emerged from the sea (or a gal who just completed an intense pilates class), sauna hair is a purposeful, subtly sweaty-looking hairstyle that works with unkempt hair and not against it.
“It’s a wearable messy look, perfect for an on-the-go girl or a pulled-together vacation style,” adds Murphy. “It’s great for summer, especially when you’re getting out of the pool, but have dinner next. You can make it messy or pulled together to fit your look. A flowy dress with gold earrings and minimal other jewelry gives a beautiful, carefree edge.”
What is sauna hair vs. a wet look?
The most significant differences between sauna hair and your typical wet look are the finished texture and the styling products used. Wet looks typically require loads of gel and wax to get your strands looking the right amount of saturated, and these stylers don’t offer many hair-nourishing benefits. On the other hand, sauna hair aims to be more damp and sweaty-looking, plus conditions the hair through the use of hair masks and oils.
What do you need to create a sauna hairstyle?
For some trending hairstyles, we tend to avoid layering on too many heavy hair products at once, but that’s exactly what you need to achieve sauna hair. Think deep conditioners you’d normally wear at night, high-hold gels that not even a windy car ride could disturb, hair oils we often turn to for slugging, and more. From all these products, you can create a customized recipe for your hair that’ll give it hold, shine, and the perfect amount of faux sweatiness.
As we mentioned before, ease of styling is not the only upside to sauna hair—you can actually improve your hair’s health, too. When you apply masks, creams, or oils, the hot, humid weather can help it penetrate more deeply into your strands for the ultimate self-care moment that hardly requires any R&R on the couch (though you can totally do that, too!).
How do I create sauna hair?
Now that you know what sauna hair is all about, you’re likely wondering how to best style the look.
Begin with unwashed hair.
When you begin styling, hair shouldn’t be wet but a few days old. After all, sauna hair aims to work with what you’ve got going on, saving you time from showering and hot tool styling.
If you’re reading this while standing in your bathroom in a towel, not to worry. You can air-dry or rough-dry your hair (don’t forget the heat protectant!) until it’s about 60 percent wet before delving in.
Apply a mask.
Murphy loves styling sauna hair on her three-day-old locks, starting with Matrix’s Food For Soft Rich Hydrating Treatment Mask applied through the roots to the ends of the hair so it appears slightly damp. The formula is filled with hydrating ingredients like avocado oil and the skincare favorite hyaluronic acid.
And as a bonus: “It smells fruity and tropical while being very moisturizing and smoothing,” the stylist raves. “It’s great for dry hair, especially during summer.”
Layer on some hold.
Now that your hair is thoroughly saturated with all that goodness, you’ll want to lock it all in to create some structure.
Alternate between using these buildable formulas through the mid-lengths to ends of the hair (apply as much or as little as you’d like depending on how damp you want your hair to appear), gently shaping and scrunching the style with your fingers to add more volume. This will weigh your hair down enough to give it that wet and beachy look yet leave locks moveable and crunch-free.
Top off with hair oil.
Finally, use an oil through your mid-lengths to ends for some extra moisture and wetness. Murphy turns to Matrix’s Food For Soft Multi-Use Hair Oil Serum to complement the range’s mask.
How do you make sauna hair appear purposeful?
As with all things messy hairstyles, there’s a fine line between effortless chic and just-rolled-out-of-bed.
“Sauna-inspired hairstyling should be as fun or sophisticated as you’d like,” says Murphy. “Try it messy and sleek to see which you prefer for your style and face shape. Intentional pieces pulled out, but tamed, helps give shape to the look, and adding accessories can make it appear more polished,” notes Murphy.
She recommends using a pomade or a creme to help define any pulled-out pieces, especially if you’re styling an updo.
So what are you waiting for? Summer is here, and it’s time to make sauna hair your new laid-back go-to!