Best Products September 29, 2023

Best Products




Our beauty editor found the tools to recreate the look at home without breaking the bank.

As a millennial, I'm embarrassed to admit how much time I spend scrolling through my TikTok feed. Sure, I could say it's ~research~ to discover surprisingly functional weird beauty products, like color-changing lipstick, or more traditional TikTok-famous beauty products, such as a $12 makeup brush cleaner machine.

Well, during one of my many endless bedtime scrolls, I quickly noticed a trend: mermaid waves, which are S-shaped waves following a uniform pattern, created with beach wavers. Viral TikToks have already amassed upward of 64,000 likes, and videos of the mermaid waves hair hashtag racked up more than 245,000 views.

Curious about how I could recreate this hair trend at home, I tapped one of our most-trusted hairstylists about what makes a hair waver the ideal hot tool for creating the trendy mermaid waves look at home. Our expert also shared her honest thoughts on top-rated beach wavers, so you can decide which option on this list is best for your styling needs and budget.

Best Hair Wavers

What is a Hair Waver?

Hair wavers, curling wands, and curling irons all have similar looks, but they're all meant to help create different styles. Hairstylist Raven Hurtado of Maxine Salon in Chicago advises using a hair waver, a hot tool with barrels that are circular like a curling iron, in order to achieve these viral hair waves. Most beach wavers sport three barrels, including Bed Head Wave Affair Jumbo 3 Barrel Hair Waver and Drybar The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron Kit. Others are equipped with only two barrels, such as Bed Head A Wave We Go.

Hurtado especially loves hair wavers because they're super simple to use! “You don’t need to maneuver the tool at all like you would with a curling iron or a flat iron,” she says. “Hold down the lever so that the iron opens up, put a section of hair in between, close it for a few seconds, then repeat going down.”

What to Consider


According to Hurtado, hair wavers with two or three barrels both achieve the same results, but it's important to consider your hair length before you invest in one. Note that three-barrel hair wavers are your best option if you have long hair, while two-barrel hair wavers are recommended for shorter, shoulder-length bob cuts. "If you’re using a three-barrel waver on short hair, it can be challenging since there won’t be enough hair to cover the third barrel," she says.


Some of the barrels, including the Beachwaver 3B Waver, are smaller (typically 1 inch), which will give a tighter wave and more crimped look, while some hair wavers, like the Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Jumbo Hair Waver, have bigger barrels (1.25 inches or larger) that’ll give a deep wave. So, if you have long, thick hair, definitely opt for a larger barrel size, and vice versa for anyone with fine and shorter cuts.


You also want to make sure your beach waver has multiple temperature heats with an adjustable dial. Those with fine hair can stick to lower heat settings, like 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Thicker, curly, and coarse hair textures will appreciate a tool that heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the max temp for most hot tools. (Hair burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the last thing you want to happen.)

To get you started on your mermaid hair journey, I carefully researched each highly rated hair waver on this list and consulted with Hurtado on if they're legit worth your hard-earned money (spoiler alert: They are!). These picks vary in price, size, and capabilities, ensuring you always find the best of the best.


Trademark Beauty
Babe Waves Jumbo Hair Waver


  • Created by a hairstylist
  • Recommended by other stylists
  • Cool tips to avoid accidental burns
  • Heats up quickly and evenly for faster styling


  • Doesn't include a protective glove

Given its impressive capabilities, relatively affordable price, and it earned nearly 1,500 five-star Amazon reviewers, we knew this had to be our best overall hair waver pick.

Beyond the fun bubblegum pink and black colorway, it's the only option on our list is equipped with a convenient stand so your hot iron never has to touch your bathroom counter.

Speaking of exciting functionalities, there are cool tips to avoid accidental burns, and the velvet handles add extra comfort. It also heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning the iron is compatible with all hair thicknesses and textures.

We especially love the styling flexibility the entire collection of Babe Waves hair wavers offers. You can choose from a total of five sizes, although we're partial to the featured Jumbo model because of its sizable 1.25-inch barrels. In addition, anyone with shorter hair can purchase the 1-inch (original) and limited-edition 1.1-inch three-barrel models, while fans of two-barrel hair wavers can opt for the 1.25-inch models in black or pink.

I've used this hair waver and can attest that it's quick and easy to use. Plus, my hair stays wavy for at least a few days, which is great because who wants to spend more time than necessary styling their hair?

Hurtado and Amazon reviewers also agree that it's the best hair waver money can buy. Hurtado, who has over a decade of professional styling experience, loves that both the 1-inch and 1.25-inch models leave her strands feeling soft and touchable, and I agree with her. My hair also looks extra shiny thanks to the ceramic plates that heat up fast and evenly, ensuring each wave is uniform when styling.


Bed Head
A Wave We Go


  • Adjustable barrels offers different styling options
  • Affordable
  • Worldwide dual voltage is great for travel


  • Heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so not ideal for very thick or coarse hair

If you're on a budget, then you're in luck! This highly rated hair waver costs around $36 and offers exceptional styling versatility.

“This is a great option if you want a waver and like to switch up your styles from loose or tighter waves. You can adjust the barrel to achieve your desired look,” says Hurtado. There’s also a twist knob on the other end of the iron allowing you to change the pattern of your wave.

Hurtado also loves that the barrels are made of tourmaline and ceramic technology, which is great because your hair will be frizz-free, and the tool heats up evenly so that your waves last for days and still look beautiful.

Online reviewers appreciate that the temperature guide and on/off switch are inside the pinch of the handle, meaning they won't accidentally turn the hot tool off while in use. Others, especially those with shorter hairstyles, love that they can easily create mermaid waves or add some body to their hair.

Key Spec

Rating 4.4-star average from nearly 16,000 Amazon reviews


Beach Waver Curling Iron


  • Includes a heat resistant glove
  • Auto shutoff after 60 min of non-use


  • Some reviewers don't like the placement of the temp dial

Yes, we love this mermaid hair waver's pretty salmon pink aesthetic, but it's also functional — we promise! Not only does it heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but each 1-inch barrel is coated in a tourmaline ceramic glaze to prevent heat damage and frizz. And given the barrel size, you should opt for this 3-inch hair waver if you prefer medium-sized mermaid waves.

It’s also the most lightweight hair waver on our list, which Hurtado appreciates. “Sometimes wavers can be a little heavy and make your arms a little sore, but I like that it’s super lightweight. This tool is super easy to use and hold in your hands which is also a good option for fine hair,” she says.

Amazon reviewers swear it’s their favorite hair waver because it’s incredibly easy for newbies and novices alike to use and achieve effortless waves. “This waver works perfectly to give those just left the beach sort of waves for me. Simply use it on dry hair, take small sections where your hair naturally clumps together (rather than a flat 3-inch section straight across), hold for a few seconds, and make sure to overlap on your way down the hair shaft,” advises one reviewer.

Key Specs

Rating 4.3-star average from 198 Amazon reviews


The Mixologist Interchangeable Styling Iron Kit


  • Barrels snap easily in place
  • Ergonomic handle


  • Most expensive option

Rounding out our list is this sunshine yellow 3-in-1 hair waver from Drybar. Sure, it's the priciest option, but you receive three interchangeable barrels to create different looks: natural, beachy waves with the three-barrel waver (right), defined waves with the 1-inch wand (center), and classic curls with the 1.25-inch curling iron (left).

(FWIW, the OG Wrap Party Wand is my go-to for defined waves, and it set me back a cool $169, so you're paying almost the same for a more versatile tool — and TBH, I'm jealous!)

That's not all: Other perks include an ergonomic handle for a better and more comfortable grip and ionic and infrared-coated barrels to ensure they heat up evenly and minimize frizz while styling.

If your budget allows it, I promise this is a great splurge-worthy product. And reviewers seem to agree. Not only did it receive 135 5-star Amazon reviews, but they say it's the best hair waver they've ever used.

“My hair has never looked better. It’s super easy to use, too,” says one reviewer. Hurtado adds this is a great hair waver for someone who prefers more soft and airy waves for an effortless look.

Key Spec

Rating 4.3-star average from 186 Amazon reviews
Barrel Size 1 inch each (3 inches total)


Beachwaver Co.
Midnight Rose 3B Waver


  • Heats up in 30 seconds
  • International voltage


  • Pricey

This hair waver was created by celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, who counts Lea Michele, Emily Blunt, and Busy Phillips as clients, so you already know it’s going to be a high-quality product.

“What I like about this waver is that it leaves your hair shiny with some texture for a fun style,” says Hurtado. It’s super easy to create mermaid waves with this hair waver — just clamp, hold, and release.

Although this is a pricier hair waver, it’s worth the money because it comes with more perks, like heating up in just 30 seconds (twice as fast as INH). The temperature also adjusts from 265 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it is compatible with all hair textures and thicknesses.

One online reviewer calls this hair waver a foolproof way to style because it takes them 20 minutes to create mermaid waves instead of an hour with other hot tools. “I’ve tried many wavers on the market, and this one is hands down my favorite! The handle is comfortable to grip, and it leaves a beautiful curl pattern. 10 out of 10, would recommend,” adds another 5-star review

Key Specs

Rating 4.9-star average from 150 Beachwaver reviews


Nicole Saunders is the Beauty Editor at, where she oversees coverage on all things beauty. When she's not creating shopping guides, interviewing experts, and testing beauty treatments, you can probably find her walking around Lower Manhattan or overanalyzing the latest episode of "Succession." You can send all