Last updated on July 1st, 2021
What do you think of when you think of wavy hair? Ethereal mermaids lounging contently on a rock? Flower crowns, and meadows? Or maybe starlets on the red carpet? Whatever you think of, probably the last thing you think of is, well, hard work.
But if you’re not blessed with naturally wavy locks, styling your hair to create waves is no easy task – especially if you don’t have the right tools.
Below, we’ll go through the steps to create beautiful waves, as well as let you know what equipment you need to create the best waves possible.
Firstly, let’s talk about tools. You’ll need a thermal round brush and a blow-dryer to create loose waves, or if your hair is short and curly, a medium or firm-bristled brush to create 360 waves. You can make tight waves using a round brush that has a 1 in (2.5 cm) barrel. For more dramatic waves, use a thermal ceramic round brush that has a small barrel diameter.
Okay, now that we have the right kind of brush let’s go to work.
First, use a wide-toothed comb to gently detangle your clean, damp hair. To ensure your hair is just damp, use a towel to soak up excess water. Although any towel will do, we recommend a microfiber towel that will reduce frizz and prevent you from tugging at your hair when brushing.
Then, gather your hair to one side of your head, or separate it into manageable sections. Clip these sections of your hair in place and then gently brush the ends of your hair. Comb downwards higher up on your hair until you are brushing from your roots down to the end of your hair. Then, comb up to your roots.
To keep your hair healthy, apply a heat protection product to your hair such as a spray, leave-in conditioner, or blow-dry lotion. Instructions of how to use the product you choose and where on your hair to apply it should be on the packaging.
When using conditioner or lotion, you only ever need to use a pea-sized amount. Rub it between your hands and work it through the mid-length to the ends of your hair. Meanwhile, sprays will require you to spray the length of your hair.
Now, section off the top portion of your hair so you can easily style the bottom. Using the end of a rat-tail comb, create a horizontal line across your scalp across the top of your head, from ear to ear. Lift the top section and clip it so it’s out of your way.
Starting with the lower sections is the easier way to brush your hair into curls, eventually working your way to the upper sections. Not only is this easier, but gives the illusion of layered waves.
Dry your hair to remove most of the water, roughly around 70%. Run your fingers or a brush through your hair while you dry to make drying your hair a bit faster.
You can use the round brush to pick up a section of hair that is as wide as the barrel. Do this with the unclipped portion first, and then move onto smaller sections. Always make sure to use a section of hair that is as wide as the barrel for more defined waves.
It’s important also not to overload the brush with hair, as this will not create waves and may tangle your hair. If you have thick hair, work in sections smaller than the barrel to ensure each section of hair is styled correctly.
To set the curl, blow-dry the hair draped over the round brush to set the curl. Place the brush horizontally alongside your head, and hold it close to your scalp to create more voluminous curls. Use a medium or high heat setting to set the curl in your hair. Make sure not to burn your hair or skin!
Pull the brush away from your head, making sure not to brush through to the end. As the section of hair dries around the brush, slowly pull the brush away from your head in a sweeping motion in a ‘C’ shape. Once you reach the end of your hair you can stop pulling the brush away. Keep blow-drying the section of hair while doing this.
To finish styling, twist the hair around the brush horizontally. Once you’re finished drying your hair, quickly roll the brush back up to the top of your hair, twisting your hair around the brush. To avoid tangles, don’t wind your hair too tightly around the round brush.
For long-lasting waves, allow the curl to cool while wrapped around the brush. As you carefully unwind the waved hair from the round brush, spray it with hairspray. Keep styling small sections of your hair until it’s set in waves.
Finish styling the bottom portion of your hair one small section at a time, before unclipping the top portion of your hair and repeating the process until your hair is completely styled. Et voila! You’ll now have a head full of gorgeous, loose waves!
Can you brush over your waves?
If your hair is naturally wavy, then brushing over your waves is a lot safer than brushing over wavy hair created by a brush. But there are some things to keep in mind and good brushing habits to get into to ensure your waves stay healthy and intact.
When your wavy hair is wet, use a paddle brush or your fingers to detangle any knots. Just put your hands on your scalp and rake your fingers through. Put some leave-in conditioner or gel on your fingers and distribute the product over your hair and slide through any tangles.
To brush wavy hair while wet, use the same leave-in conditioner or gel, but just distribute with a paddle brush instead. Once your hair is dry, however, avoid brushing it. You should avoid combs as they are not flexible. If you must use any brush, however, a wooden paddle brush will glide through waves with ease.