How To Achieve Runway-Ready Mermaid Waves, According To Hairstylists

By Charlie Colville

4 months ago

The beach look, without the sand between your toes

It’s official – we’re now in the thick of Fashion Week season. And while many of us may be drawn to the shows, street style and big name designers, there’s one thing we can’t stop talking about: the hair. One look in particular reigned supreme at Haute Couture Fashion Week, and has steadily trickling its way down through to ready-to-wear shows and salons. We’re of course talking about mermaid waves. Here’s how to make a splash, according to runway hairstylists.

What Are Mermaid Waves?

‘Mermaid waves refer to a loose, relaxed wave pattern in the hair that often resembles the natural waves found in mermaid-like, beachy hair,’ explains Elena Lavagni, owner and founder of Neville Hair & Beauty. ‘This hairstyle is characterised by soft, flowing waves that create a laid-back and effortlessly chic look. It is less structured from the traditional wavy blow dry and it tend to appear more textured.

‘The trend of mermaid waves has gained popularity because it offers a relaxed and bohemian look, reminiscent of beach-inspired styles,’ she continues. ‘The look is often associated with a carefree and natural vibe, young and fresh a different proposition appealing to those who desire an easygoing and romantic appearance.’

Women's backs showing off hair

Celia Kritharioti Paris Haute Couture Week Jan 2024, courtesy of Neville Hair & Beauty

The Neville team is well-versed in mermaid waves, having refined the hairstyle for Celia Kritharioti’s Haute Couture 2024 runway show earlier this year. Drawing inspiration from the theme of an underwater oasis, the team crafted hair looks that ‘celebrated the elegance, confidence, and mythical allure of mermaid queens.’

Since then, the hairstyle has been spotted on various ready-to-wear runways and on Fashion Week showgoers, and we expect it to grow in popularity as warmer weather settles in later this year. The trend has particularly taken off on TikTok, where creators flock to the app to share their tips and tricks for achieving flawless mermaid waves.

@yuvimaor9 GRWM 🧜🏻‍♀️ #beautytok #mermaidhair #grwm ♬ Maria Maria (feat. The Product G&B) (sped up) – Santana & sped up + slowed

How Do They Differ From Curls Or Beach Waves?

While they look similar, these three hairstyles do indeed differ. As Elena explains, ‘Mermaid waves differ from curls and beach waves in their specific wave pattern. While a wavy blow-dry is characterized by a long vertical curl pattern mermaid waves tend to have an horizontal waive pattern providing a balance of defined yet loose waves.’

How To Ask For This Style In the Salon (& What To Expect)

If you fancy trying out the trend, you can book in an appointment with your hairstylist – who can show you the ropes on how to master the look yourself. Your stylist will more than likely be familiar with mermaid waves, but it’s still important to bring in some reference photos so they have an idea of what exactly you’re after.

And once you’re sat in the chair, the professionals will get to work. ‘To achieve mermaid waves, we use a combination of techniques and tools, such as a large-barrel curling iron, jumbo waver, triple barrel tongs or even a flat iron to create undulating waves,’ says Elena. ‘It’s important to communicate your desired level of wave definition and whether you prefer a more natural or polished look.’

@_fat.jona Summer Hairstyle! 🧜🏼‍♀️ #mermaid #mermaidhair #wavehair #hairstyle ♬ Pray For Me – Sped Up – INDRAGERSN

Do You Need Long Hair For Mermaid Waves?

‘Mermaid waves can suit a variety of hair types and textures, but they may be particularly well-suited for those with medium to long hair,’ says Elena. But those with short hair aren’t out of the game entirely. ‘While longer hair can showcase mermaid waves in a better way, people with shorter hair can still achieve a similar effect – just note that the waves may appear slightly different.’

How To Style Mermaid Waves At Home

Elena lays out some tips for recreating the mermaid waves look at home:

  1. Tools: ‘You can use a large-barrel curling iron or using a flat iron in a twisting motion or triple barrel tong to get the look and feel of mermaid waves.’
  2. Texture: ‘Applying a sea salt spray or texturizing product can help enhance the beachy feel, and help defines the waves a little better while still appearing effortless.’
  3. Try Out: ‘Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for your hair type and desired wave pattern – the beauty of this look is that it can be tailored to you, by you.’

Hair Inspiration


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Featured image: Celia Kritharioti Paris Haute Couture Week Jan 2024, courtesy of Neville Hair & Beauty