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A City Girl's Guide to Getting Beachy, Summer Waves

For when that long seaside weekend falls through.

Beauty tutorials are big on YouTube — a search for “makeup tutorial” and “hair tutorial” yields more than 5 million videos. In this weekly series, we put a mix of popular and under-the-radar tutorials to the test and show you what’s best.

Getting ready for the day would be so much easier if I lived at the beach. Whenever I’m near salt water, my complexion seems glowier, my freckles are more vintage Kate Moss than Pippi Longstocking and — best of all — my hair just seems to style itself. Something about the crisp sea air makes it fall into these perfectly imperfect surfer-chick waves with no more work on my part than just a scrunch and head shake.

Achieving the look on a humid New York City summer day, however, is not so easy.

After several failed attempts this season, I found myself searching for tutorials on YouTube. Two tan, bikini-clad girls with waist-length blonde blowouts opened the first clip, frolicking gleefully by the ocean before cutting to bathroom scene. I closed the window before either could begin talking.

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Luckily, I soon landed on a video from Alexandrea Garza, a Benefit makeup artist and certified cosmetologist. Her approach seemed straightforward enough: working from the bottom, section off your hair and wrap mid-size pieces around an inch-thick curler.

This proved to be more difficult than it looked. While my left side was moving along swimmingly, something about the way I held the iron on my right caused bizarre twists and kinks. My mistake? Not pointing the wand downwards (with the handle at the top). That keeps the curl from looking forced.

When I reached the top two layers, I was directed to backcomb the roots with hairspray before continuing on. Although this temporarily had a very "Toddler & Tiaras" vibe, the final step — comb each side of your part, and break up the spirals with your fingers — relaxed the fat debutante ringlets into the kind of cool-girl style you’d see in an Isabel Marant ad. All I needed to do was touch-up a few out-of-places strands. Absentmindedly, I reached for my curler, and wrapped my hand around the burning hot wand.

My fingers are covered in blisters as I type this, but damn, my hair looks good.

Front page photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images