We talk a lot about “beach waves” in the beauty world, but really, it’s probably the most over-romanticized style on earth. Real, true beach hair is often less than ideal—it can be tangled, stiff, crunchy, and smell like algae and tide pools. It’s not the sexy, effortless, Baywatch-run mane that you think of when you read about beach hair. That look is runway beach hair, and it either takes a team of stylists or some seriously great products to appear that effortless.
The truth is, you don’t actually want beach hair—what you want is Australian pop princess hair, or more specifically, Kylie Minogue hair. And who better to give you that naturally tousled Kylie Minogue hair (hereby formerly known as beach hair) than Kevin Murphy, her personal stylist of 10 years?
Of course, that’s hardly his claim to fame these days. In 2022, Kevin Murphy is best known for his eponymous Aussie haircare line that can whip up lightweight, textured, and touchable styles with minimal impact on the environment (And if you truly are a beach fan like you say you are, this is huge).
FOUNDED: In 2003, by Australian session stylist Kevin Murphy.
BASED IN: Irvine, CA
BEST KNOWN FOR: Eco-friendly, botanical hair products in pretty pastel packaging.
MOST POPULAR PRODUCT: Bedroom Hair Flexible Texturizing Hairspray
FUN FACT: The signature square bottles aren’t just for show—they’re designed to use as little plastic as possible.
OTHER BRANDS YOU’LL LOVE: R+Co, Bumble and Bumble, Rahua, Aveda
After years of styling hair on the sets of photoshoots and movies (including a little-known film called Moulin Rouge), Murphy found himself frustrated and boxed in by what was available to him. “The lack of products that performed as I needed them to perform on a shoot forced me to go beyond conventional hair products and look into the advancements being made with skincare,” says Murphy. “I wanted to create a range that, in the hands of a stylist, would change the characteristics of the hair and also take hair trends in new directions.”
To achieve this, his products needed to start with hair health. After all, styling unhealthy strands can only get you so far. “[The brand] is born from the same philosophy as skincare,” says Kevin Murphy stylist and salon owner Sarah Lund. “It combines scientific knowledge with the best natural ingredients available.” That meant creating formulations featuring botanical ingredients that double down in repairing and strengthening. Fortifying ingredients like green pea protein, papain enzymes, and bamboo extract help to repair existing damage, while antioxidants like Kakadu plum, lotus flower, and desert lime provide lasting nourishment. It’s a veritable cocktail for success, and it smells pretty great, too.
Murphy’s experience on set also makes him uniquely qualified to make products that you can trust will last, whether you’re under the lights and on camera or not. “Everything is weightlessly designed to deliver performance, strength, and longevity,” Lund says. In fact, in some circles, Murphy himself is known as the king of styling, yes… beach hair (a.k.a. Kylie Minogue hair).
But the brand isn’t all movie sets and pop stars—Kevin Murphy is dedicated to maintaining a balance between using natural ingredients and maintaining those resources. Ingredients are all from sustainable and renewable sources and are harvested in a way that minimizes harm to the environment, and every product is cruelty-free. The packaging (which—done up in pastel pinks, blues, and lavenders—is absolutely the stuff of pop princess fairytales) is recyclable, biodegradable, and designed in a way that uses as little plastic as possible.
So, which Kevin Murphy products are worth it? Check out a few of our favorites below.
Bedroom Hair Flexible Texturizing Hairspray
“Bedroom Hair is a huge fan favorite,” Lund says, and we can see why. This is the product you’ll need to create effortlessly tousled hair with almost no other styling needed. Spritzing this texturizing spray on dry, lifeless, decidedly un-pop-star hair gave us volume and texture that moved—not stiff, crunchy, ocean texture. It’s pure magic (with a little bit of conditioning ginger root extract for good measure).
Session Spray Strong Hold Finishing Spray
A “session stylist” is a hairstylist that works on the set of a photoshoot, creating editorial looks and stepping in for upkeep as the day goes on. If you’re looking for serious hold that will last, this spray is a workhorse worthy of a spot in an on-set stylist’s tool belt. Molding resins keep everything in place for hours no matter how humid it is, and when you’re finally home, it brushes out like a dream—no tugging, crunching, or flaking.
Scalp Spa Serum
This serum is a relatively new addition to the Kevin Murphy lineup and definitely fell into the category of “didn’t know we needed it.” With all the testing and washing and winter weather, it’s easy to simply get used to an itchy scalp, but this serum felt like an instant pick-me-up. Just squirt it directly onto the scalp where needed, and you’ll feel immediate refreshing relief that lasts, thanks to an all-star lineup of soothing ingredients like celery seed extract, rose flower oil, and lavender oil.
Young Again Immortelle Infused Treatment Oil
Hair oil can often feel heavy and greasy—especially for those of us with naturally straight, thin hair. That’s why the weightlessness of this leave-in treatment oil was a welcome surprise. We sprayed the product onto the palms of our hands and used it as a finishing oil after an at-home blowout and loved the smooth result. It also has the added benefit of protecting against environmental stressors and heat damage, thanks to the antioxidants found in camellia sinensis leaf extract.
Body Mass Leave-In Plumping Conditioning Treatment
If you have thin or lifeless hair, it’s understandable to be skeptical of anything that claims to impart volume and thickness. It’s an over-promise that a lot of brands tend to make. This product is an exception and has earned a permanent spot in our bathroom. Made with eyelash-thickening technology, the spray instantly lifts roots and creates body without feeling too sticky or stiff. Plus, this one offers long-term benefits—oleanolic acid from olive tree leaves fortifies follicles while protecting against breakage and minimizing signs of aging.
Maxi Wash Detox Shampoo
The fight against hard water damage is real, so finding a product that clears away the mineral buildup from our hair is key (minerals cause more tangles, breakage, and overall damage). Witch hazel, tea tree oil, and vitamin C make this detox shampoo a great once-a-week wash to cleanse away buildup. Further down on the ingredient list is tetrasodium EDTA, a chelating agent that attracts minerals away from the hair shaft, allowing you to easily rinse them away. Our hair felt lighter and airier after using it, though we’d recommend using it as a pre-wash and following with your regular shampoo to replace some nutrients after removing the hard water gunk.
Hydrate Me Wash and Rinse
Kevin Murphy’s line offers haircare for any specific need, but if you’re unsure of what to try first or you’re just looking for a great everyday shampoo and conditioner, this is the one. This all-rounder has every headliner you could want: Kakadu plum to deliver antioxidants, shea butter for moisture, and evening primrose oil for softness.
Shimmer Shine Repairing Shine Mist
At least half the fun of this product is shaking the bottle and watching the gold dust swirl around like a sparkly lava lamp. What more could you ask for? Well, it is for your hair, after all—not just decoration. A blend of six different Australian fruits known for their resilience in harsh climates makes this spray nourishing and protective. But what you really buy it for is the glamorous reflective shine it can add as a finishing touch to any look. We’ve taken to leaving it by our front door so we can hit our hair with a light mist before leaving.