When the summer heat rolls around, even the thought of using hot tools to style your hair can be too much to bear. Besides, most styles will fall flat or become frizzy in the humidity anyway. It’s good to have an arsenal of summer-proof hairstyles that’ll keep you feeling (and looking) your coolest. One style that’s trending yet again? The wet hair look.
The water-slicked style saw a reemergence in 2019 and it’s once again seeping its way back into the beauty scene. By now, you’ve likely seen the wet hair trend everywhere from the red carpet to runway to editorial campaigns, but it’s easy to achieve in everyday life, too. See Tiktok, where #wethairlook has been tagged over 20.1 million times, or Instagram, where a search results in an endless scroll of inspiration.
And it’s easy to see why: Drenched hair is not only effortless, but it’s the perfect look for hot summer days. “The wet hairstyle is basically when your hair has that freshly out-of-the-pool or -shower look,” says Sarah Potempa, celebrity hairstylist and founder of The Beachwaver Co. “Essentially, you’re taking the natural texture of the hair and enhancing the strands with a product that gives it a super-sleek finish.”
Here, Potempa shares all the details on the wet hair look for summer, as well as the best products to use pull it off.
How can you achieve the wet hair look at home?
To create the wet hair look at home, Potempa says the first step is to wash and condition your hair with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Leave a bit of conditioner in your hair and immediately part it as desired when you get out of the shower. “Then brush through the hair with a brush that has flexible bristles, such as the Prep Brush,” she says. “Since it’s meant to be a sleek look, you don’t want tangles.” After brushing your hair, tuck it behind your ear and allow it to air dry until only slightly damp.
That’s right, the wet hair look doesn’t mean your hair is actually sopping wet; rather, you achieve the look with the styling products you apply next. To get that “wet” effect, Potempa recommends a variety of products, such as styling balm or gel, hair mousse, or even pure coconut oil. “There’s also an old school finishing product called Vitapointe,” she adds. “It’s a super flexible polymer that’s conditioning and great for creating that damp finish.”
Whatever you choose, start by applying a dime- to quarter-sized dollop to your hair, depending on its texture. If you’re unsure, start with less and add more until you get the desired finish. Comb the product through so it’s even distributed, then scrunch your hair gently with a microfiber towel. Finish by combing it into place and voilà.
What are some ways to freshen up wet hair trend for summer 2021?
The wet hair trend has been around for ages, but there are always ways to put a fresh spin on it. “It reminds me of the early 2000s when I worked with Kate Moss for a Calvin Klein photoshoot, but it dates back even earlier than that,” says Potempa. To add a modern touch, she suggests styling your hair with a center part instead of slicking it straight back. If a middle part isn’t your thing, she also says a side part can work well. “Tuck one side behind your ear and create more volume on the other side,” she suggests.
Another way to change it up is by giving strands a more lived-in look by tousling the lengths of hair while leaving the roots sleek and untouched. Think fresh-from-the-beach as opposed to just-out-of-the-shower. If it’s just too hot to wear your hair down, Potempa recommends a topknot, so you still get the wet hair look but you’ll keep the hair out of your face and off of your neck.
When it comes to the rest of your look, Potempa says a bold lip and defined eye is a great way to keep the style intentional, preventing it from looking too messy.
What type of hair does a wet hairstyle work best on?
According to Potempa, the wet hair look typically works best on hair that is shoulder length or longer and a bit thicker, as the style can make thin strands appear weighed down. Just note: “If you have a lot of hair that’s very voluminous or curly, you’ll need to use a lot of product,” she says, adding that if you wear extensions, you may want to remove them before styling.
However, Potempa says that the wet hair look can work on a variety of lengths and textures. “If you have a short, trendy haircut like a box bob or pixie, a wet hairstyle can look really chic when it’s slicked straight back,” she says. Scroll through more wet hairstyle inspiration below.
Wet hair look inspiration
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