How To Get Boho Waves (Without Heat)

how to get boho wavesIt seems that everyone is wanting to do the whole boho waves, carefree look now-a-days. (And by everyone, I mean me.)

Fashion icons Mary-Kate Olsen, Sienna Miller, Nicole Richie regularly sport a messy, bed-head boho waves hairstyle is loved by many – and it’s surprisingly easy to do, especially without heat!

Must have: Volume. Having limp hair will only make your waves look stringy. This style calls for natural looking volume that stays day-in-and-day-out, so opt for creating some volume through the hair, especially at the crown area and the chin area. Find out more of my hair volume tips.

The Big Tease. If you have flat hair, tease your hair at the crown for some volume on top. Set with hairspray (this hairspray is the best) so it doesn’t fall flat again. Teasing/backcombing can damage your hair though, so if you’re gonna do this a lot, definitely check out how to backcomb hair without damaging it.

The trick is… Braids. To get the boho waves without heat, the big secret it in braiding. Braid your hair ’til your heart’s content before going to bed. Depending on the style of braids you want, you can braid your hair in small, tight braids for a more crimped, full look, or looser, big braids for looser waves. The next morning, after braiding, spritz your braids with some hairspray before releasing, and gently run your fingers through the braids to open up the waves.

Dirt-inspired hair colors. If you really want to go all out in this boho waves look, the color matters too. Think ashy, subtle, earthy colors; for example  dirty blonde instead of platinum blonde – so much softer and natural looking. Also, carefully placed highlights near your crown will also complement your hippie waves beautifully.

Sea salt spray. I’d recommend using a beach salt spray for your hair – this one is one of my faves – if you’re looking to have that really loose, boho waves. Sea salt spray gives that crisp, messy texture that looks like we’ve just been out in nature all day.

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  1. there is a def diff between messy and the “bedhead” look. i personally love the “bedhead” look, it is somewhat sexy. does anyone else think this is sexy? i would think mary kate here looks a little messy but overall the boho waves you write here is def sexy, not messy or ratty. great tips and thanx 🙂

    1. Hey Lois!

      Hmm… curling iron doesn’t work? Or do you have natural curls? I think in the photos above Mary Kate had a small sized curling iron and curled random pieces, and scrunched her hair to make it look “messy”. Another trick you can do is apply some styling lotion, braid your hair, and sleep with the braids in. The next day you should get very hippie, boho waves – so naturally beautiful!

      Hope that helps, do let me know how it goes! 😀

  2. Hey!
    I have naturally curly hair but I want to soften them and make them more like a boho wave. My hair is also kinda dry so i try not to use anything that has alot of heat! I am seriously stummped! So iwill take any suggestions I can get my hands on!

    Thanks xoxo Alice

    1. Hey Alice, Why not try braiding your hair before you sleep? When you wake up you’ll get soft waves that are very natural looking. Just spray some hairspray to set it, and you’re done! No heat or damage at all 😀

  3. hi there. i’ve been attempting to get natrual boho waves for about a year now. i’ve tried everything from mousse, to a curling iron, to a flat iron, to scrunching when wet, to natrual drying, nothing works. i have natrually frizzy/flat hair.
    PLEEEEASE help this is turning into a disastaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. xx

    1. If your hair is stubborn to curl (like mine!) maybe a perm will be the best option? Be VERY careful though, it is very damaging. Try a digital perm, they are less damaging and give softer looking waves. Just do your research VERY carefully, perms are usually very damaging to your hair, but when done right it looks awesome!

  4. I’m a hairstylist…and I think the best way to get this look is through braiding or creating waves with a flat iron…DO NOT get a perm….perms create ringlet curls not soft waves.

  5. Love Mary Kate and I am always trying to find hair tips to get her look. Just read that “for the Independent Spirit Awards, Matrix Stylist wanted Mary-Kate Olsen’s hair to be young, modern and cool without seeming overdone. Mark was inspired by Olsen’s amazing Balmain dress, so he gave her hair a wavy texture with amazing shine and piecey-ness using Vavoom Gold Heat Iron-In Control and Biolage Molding Soufflé,” both of which are available at

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