While The Duchess of Sussex — a.k.a. Meghan Markle — loves rocking a messy bun, when she does let her hair down it’s a perfectly coiffed vision of beachy waves. If you want in on a few tips and tricks for mastering this goes-with-everything hairstyle, we’ve enlisted Toronto-based hairstylist Helen Kenny to share her expert hacks and go-to products for recreating Markle’s look.
Prep with product
In order to make the most of your blow drying session it’s essential to prep your hair with the right products to give your mane hold and to help with styling. Start by rough drying your strands slightly, so they aren’t soaking wet, then go in with your product. This is a more efficient tactic than applying something onto fresh-out-of-the-shower strands, as the water will dilute any product. “For women with fine-to-medium hair types, add volume by using a mousse or a root lifting spray to boost body.” says Kenny. “It will also help the hair to hold the style and protect it against humidity (which is key in this heat).” If you have thick or coarse, curly hair you should opt for a blow dry cream to help smooth the hair cuticle and protect against heat from blow dryers and hot tools.
Pick your part
Next up is picking how you want to part your hair. Markle often rocks a middle part, but that isn’t essential for this hairstyle as it works with any part, from middle to either side. When it comes to deciding on your hair part, rounder faces are better suited to a middle part or a deep side to highlight your preferred side, while oval face shapes can wear both a side or middle part, says Kenny. After you section off your part, clip away the side pieces of your hair and start blow-drying the back using a large round brush or a paddle brush to dry and smooth out your hair.
Curling iron 101
If you’re not sure what size curling iron is best suited to your hair type, Kenny has a trick: “the larger the curling iron the looser the curl, the smaller the iron the tighter the curl.” Since Markle’s waves are loose and undone, reach for a large-barrel iron, but if you have hair that doesn’t easily hold a style (like fine, straight hair), Kenny suggests using a smaller curling iron, as the tighter curl will loosen over time and the style will last longer.
Now comes the tricky part: curling your hair to get those soft, loose waves. To keep your waves consistent, try to take equal sections of hair into the iron, and when you are styling the sections around your face, Kenny advises to always curl those pieces out and away (as opposed to inwards,) as it’s more flattering and opens up your face. Since Markle’s curls have a lived-in look to them, the trick is to curl your hair through the middle of each section (about halfway down the hair shaft) while leaving the ends of your hair straight and alternating the direction of the curls with each section. If you find that the curls look too tight, Kenny suggests gently running them over with a flat iron to loosen it slightly, or brushing out your curls with a wide-tooth comb.
Lock it in
Once you’re happy with your waves, spritz on a light texturizing spray that will help to hold your style, but without adding a sticky residue to your strands. Another option is using a dry shampoo directly after styling, or spraying one on a day or two afterwards to sop up any excess oil and to add a boost of volume. Hold it about eight-to-ten inches away from your scalp, spritz and then tousle with your fingers.