How to Get Wavy "Rich Girl" Hair, Even If Yours Isn't Long

I fell in love with this look on long-haired models last Fashion Week, and I finally figured out how to do it on my shoulder-length hair.

This past Fashion Week had many shows with barely-there makeup and ever-so-slightly curled hair, my favorite of which was the Ralph Lauren show. Those long, sweeping locks were not too wavy, not too curled, done but not done up—and thus were dubbed “rich girl hair.” And let's all have a dancing gif party in the comments that it wasn’t some other iteration of French girl beauty.

I wanted that hair. In an ocean of casually crunchy beach waves, it was a life raft for classy hair styles. It was so subtle and attainable!

Trouble is, my hair is a good eight inches shorter than what most of the models were rocking. The problem doing this look on shorter hair is that there isn't a lot of weight to pull the curl out. There also isn't a lot of wiggle room for how high you can start the curl so that you still get a full rotation and don’t end up with just curled ends (or what I like to call the Jackie Kennedy hair flip).

So, how do you get the look on shoulder length hair that likes to do its own thing?

Start with freshly washed hair. If your ends are looking a little worse for wear, add in a touch of oil to nourish them into submission. My favorite hair oil is the Beauty Protector Protect and Oil because it smells like cookies, happiness, and hugs. But, you know, coconut oil or something would work, too. Just make sure to use a tiny amount so the ends of your hair don’t look oily but enough to make sure it doesn’t look damaged.

To help keep damage at bay, use a heat protectant. I’m dousing my hair in the Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer. I love this spray because it doesn’t weigh my hair down.

Post protection party, just section off the top portion of your hair.

Grab your hot tool of choice. I got my Nume 1-inch wand when it was on a crazy sale (and when my hair was long enough to actually get regular use out of it). Ideally, here you would like a larger-barreled curling iron to make it look oh so casually prepped. Also, keep in mind how much hair you have to wrap around the wand, if I had super long hair I would go for something way bigger like a 2-inch barrel.

Grab sections randomly, and bigger is better; I worked between one-and-a-half to two-inch sections. If you start curling sections that are too small, you can end up in Shirley Temple territory.


Start curling your hair. You'll want your curling iron as hot as your hair can handle without damaging it (i.e. thinner hair, lower heat). You’ll need to curl as quickly as possible, just a few seconds for each strand, so hotter is better for getting through that larger section. I curl every other section away from my face and towards my face to make it less uniform. I just wrapped all the hair flat against the barrel, so the ends of the hair weren’t twisted as it went down.

When you are curling your hair, keep a good inch or so off the iron on the end. This keeps you from burning the bejesus out of your fingers, adding too much heat to already damaged ends, and from ending up with overly perfect curls. The top sections of my hair are a lot longer, so I kept more off the ends here than I did for the bottom layers.

Keep on going until you’ve got a head full of curls. Let your hair cool down while you sip a glass of champagne (which I assume is what fancy girls do while they get ready) until your hair has absolutely no heat left in it.

Then just comb your fingers through all the curls to release them from their sectioned bonds.

After finger combing your hair, part it where you like, and brush your hair out with a fine bristle brush. The first time I did this, I was positive I was going to end up with a poofy disaster, but as long as you use the correct brush—mine is just a bristle brush from Conair—and pull your hair down the whole time (never pull that brush up) you will just smooth out your hair and take away the piecey-ness.


At this point, the style is pretty much done, but my hair likes to stick to my scalp in not the most elegant kind of way, so Bumble and bumble Pret A Powder comes to the rescue. It's like a non-aerosolized dry shampoo that adds volume and doesn’t leave a white cast in my hair.


And your hair is complete! I pass on hairspray because the more the curls fall out, the more nonchalant it will look. And if my hair starts to get flat, I just give my roots a powder free shake to liven things back up.


But if you can’t survive without your wind worn locks, have no fear! Just spray in your favorite salt spray—mine is Not Your Mother's Beach Babe—scrunch it in and you are all set to chillax. I usually chuck in the salt spray on day old hair because it keeps my unkempt oily roots from ruining the look of my rich girl hair.


  • Do you sport rich girl hair or beach babe hair?
  • Do you follow fashion week beauty or fashion trends?