How To Make Your Hair Wavy

Do you have hair that falls straight as an arrow? Does your hair occasionally get wavy but only after you've spent a long day at the beach? Don't fret! When it comes to putting a bit of wave in your hair, there are quite a few options to choose from. Whether you use heat or not, you'll end up with lusciously wavy locks that are simple to create in the comfort of your own home!

Curling Iron and Teasing

  1. Comb out any knots, then section your hair off for easier working. Depending on how much hair you have, you can use any number of partitions. Two is probably enough. Split your hair up into two sections (upper and lower is usually useful) and tie one section off and out of the way.
    • You can also split your hair between left and right if you'd like, though a top/bottom separation is usually easier to layer together.
  2. Holding the curling iron your opposite hand, wrap a strand of hair around the curling iron. The section should be almost one inch wide. As you wrap it around the iron, make sure you're keeping the hair flat -- not twisting it as you wrap.
    • Leave the last 1-2 inches of hair off the curling iron, so that they stay straight while the rest of the hair is in waves. This leads to a more effortless look.
  3. Change the angle of your curling wand to change the curls. Depending on your final look, you may want to adjust how tight your curls are. The way you hold the curling iron will determine how wavy or curly your hair gets. You can even try 2-3 different methods for a textured look when you're done, making it look a bit more natural. For example:
    • Tilting the wand upwards while you wrap leads to more relaxed curls.
    • Tilting the want downward leads to a tighter curl.
    • Tilt the want sharply downward, almost vertical, for even tighter curls.
    • Twist the hair slightly as you curl it, pulling it tight, for very tight curls.
  4. Brush out the curls lightly for a more wavy look. Take a brush and brush out the lower half of your hair, loosening the curls a bit for gentler waves. This isn't strictly necessary, but it will lead to wavier, and less "curly" hair.
  5. Spray a teasing brush lightly with hairspray, then move it up and down your hair. This adds body and lift to the curls, helping them turn into big, beautiful waves. Work in small sections, teasing up and down and adding a bit more hairspray when needed.
  6. Spray your hair with hairspray to hold it in place. Keep experimenting with your curling iron and teasing brush to find the look that works best for you.
  1. Find the diffuser attachment for the barrel of your blow dryer. Most blow dryers come with a diffuser attachment that you can put on the barrel of your blow dryer. A diffuser disperses the heat over a wider area of your hair instead of shooting the air in one stream. This tool will help turn your hair wavy and not frizzy.
    • The best diffusers are round and concave in the middle and not flat like a duck bill. This shape will help your curls dry in their more natural shape because your curls can rest inside the round diffuser and dry in their natural clumps. 
  2. Wash your hair before you scrunch your hair. You need to wash your hair for this method because you need to blow dry your wet hair with a diffuser to make your hair wavy. Typically, people with wavy hair also have dry hair. You can buy a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to wash your hair. Or you can use whatever shampoo works best for your hair type.

  3. Towel or air dry your hair until it is damp. You will want your hair damp before you get started. If you want to avoid frizz, use a soft towel made out of microfiber or a soft t-shirt, and blot the moisture out of your hair. 

    • Take your hair by sections and pat your wet hair between the folds of the towel.
    • Let your hair air-dry for a half hour or more so that it's more damp than wet when you start blow drying. Or you can wrap your head in a soft towel for 15-20 minutes to wick away the moisture from your hair.
    • Do not squeeze your hair too hard or wring out your hair with the towel as this will damage your hair. Wet hair is more prone to breaking, so be careful when you are handling your wet hair, and do not to put unnecessary strain on your locks.
  4. Apply product to your hair. Depending on your preference, put mousse, gel or a styling cream in your hair. You can also use a heat protectant spray or cream on your hair to protect it from heat damage. If you have naturally wavy hair, then your hair is probably also dry, and a thick styling cream that moisturizes will work well for your hair.

    • To apply, rub the cream or mousse in your palms, and instead of running it through your hair from the roots to the tips, gently scrunch you hair in sections from the bottom upward using your hands to lightly distribute the cream to the natural sections of your hair. If your hair is short, do the same thing and coat your clumps of curls, or would be curls, from the top by scrunching your hair with the product on your hands. This technique will help your curls stay bouncy instead of weighing them down.
    • If you have naturally dry hair, avoid hair products with alcohol that dries out your hair.
  5. Scrunch your hair in sections. Flip your hair upside down, and use the diffuser to dry your waves and your hands to define the curls. Point the blow dryer up from the bottom instead of drying from the top down. Take a section of hair and put it in the round concave of your diffuser. Your hair should start to form natural waves in the heat of your diffuser. Then drop your hair from the diffuser, and with your hand shaped like a claw, take the section of hair and slowly scrunch up your hair from the bottom. While your hair is scrunched in your hand, aim the blow dryer at the spaces between your fingers.

    • Let the hair fall down again when it's mostly dry, and repeat with another section. Continue section by section, blow drying your hair evenly until it is about 90% dry. Then let your hair air dry the rest of the way after you blow cool air on your waves.
  6. Blow cool air on your waves. Set the blow dryer to cool, and blow dry your hair with cool air for 30 seconds to a minute to help set the style of your hair. Most blow dryers have a cool setting, or they have a button you can hold down that will make the air cool. The cool air will help seal the cuticles of your hair so that the waves stay in place.

  7. Apply a lightweight hairspray to your wavy hair. Flip your head over and spritz your hair with spray throughout to preserve your waves. Use your hand like a claw and scrunch your hair up in sections to help hold the wave in your hair. You want to use a hair spray that has low, flexible, or medium hold so that you avoid crunchy, stiff hair. Flip your hair back up and arrange it how you like.

    • Keep your spray bottle at least 6 inches (15.2 cm) away from your hair so that you aren’t spraying too close to your head.
    • There are hair sprays that add strength and shine to your hair without weighing it down. Dove and Garnier have great light hold, anti-humidity, and shine-enhancing hair sprays that will keep your waves in place.
  1. Wash and condition your hair before bed. You want your hair damp for this method because you'll sleep on the braids overnight to make your hair wavy. Go with your normal hair washing routine to prep your hair for braiding.
  2. Let your hair dry until it is damp. You want your hair to be damp before you put it in braids so that they will dry overnight. Be careful not to over dry your hair because it won’t create as many waves.
  3. Part your hair in 2 or 3 inch (5.1 or 7.6 cm) wide sections and clip your hair.Starting with the right or left side of your head, use clips or hair ties to part your hair into 2 to 3 inch (5.1 to 7.6 cm) sections. Once you have a top corner section clipped, move methodically from one side of your head to the other until your sections are clipped, and then start a new row below the first row. Continue until one-half of your head is sectioned off.
  4. Braid each section of your hair. For the waviest hair effect, do french braids in your hair. However, you can also sleep on normal braids to make your hair wavy. Start at the base of your head and taking your hair into three sections, braid your hair down to the bottom. If you can, ask a friend to help you so you can braid all around your head. Braid until you are at the very end of your hair, and tie off each plait with a non-rubber elastic band if you have them.
  5. Sleep on the braids. Most people will need about 6 hours of time for the braids to dry. Give yourself plenty of time to sleep on your braids the night before you want wavy hair, especially if you have thick hair. If your hair is still wet in the braids in the morning, you can blow dry your braids. Be careful with blow drying your braids; however, it could make your hair frizzy. It is better to let the hair dry naturally.
  6. Take the braids out in the morning. Undo one braid at a time, starting on one side of your head and moving up and over to the other. Gently let your hair unravel by brushing the strands out slightly. Protect your waves, and do not rake your fingers coarsely through your hair.
    Tousle your hair to arrange it how you like. Use your fingers to smooth down or fluff up your hair as desired. Gently remove any tangles with your fingers. However, do not brush your hair- if you do, your hair can lose its wave and become frizzy.

Using Tiny Buns

  1. Wash your hair before putting tiny buns in your hair. You’ll need damp hair for this method because you'll sleep on the tiny buns overnight to make your hair wavy. You can also use a spray bottle and dampen your hair well instead of washing it.
  2. Make sure your hair is damp. Remove excess water from your hair before you put in the tiny buns. You will want your hair damp before you get started and not soaking wet. If your hair is too wet it won’t dry as well overnight.
  3. Separate your hair into 3–4 inch (7.6–10 cm) sections for your tiny buns. Using a smaller section of hair will result in smaller buns and tighter waves while larger sections will create looser waves. Choose the style that you prefer, or mix it up and do small waves up front and bigger waves in the back. Go methodically through your hair and clip your hair into 3–4 inch (7.6–10 cm) sections making rows from left to right until you get to your part in the back. Then make another row under your first row until you get to the bottom of your head and your hair is in regular sections on one side of your head.
    • After you finish making the tiny buns on your one side, you can move on to the other side of your head and section your hair methodically again.
    • Separating your hair like this will make your waves more regular. If you want more of a messy look, you can create haphazard tiny buns around your head.
  4. Twist each section of hair into a coil, and pin it in a pile on top of your head.Just as you would if you were doing a normal bun, twist the section of hair until you are at the end of your hair. Once the hair is twisted, make little circular coils with your hair at your scalp until your hair is in a little mound. Secure with a couple of bobby pins or non-rubber elastics on either side of the coil so that it is firmly in place.
  5. Go around your head repeating Steps 5 through 7 until all of your hair is pinned up. Ask a friend or family member for help pinning the tiny buns on the back of your head. If you don’t have a partner, you can part your hair down the part in the back and sweep your hair forward on both sides so that the little buns are at the sides of the back of your head. Use two mirrors to help you pin and place your little buns if you are doing the back of your head.
    Sleep on the buns. Most people will need at least 6 hours for the braids to dry depending on your hair type and length. Give yourself plenty of time to sleep on your braids the night before you want wavy hair, especially if you have thick hair.
  6. Take the buns out in the morning. Start with the sections in the back and carefully unpin each bun so that the hair is loose. Work your way forward on your head until all of your hair is loose. Gently let your hair unravel by shaking your head to loosen the hair or lightly touching your curls. However, do not rake your fingers through your hair too much- you want your waves to stay in tact as much as possible.
  7. Fix your hair with your fingers. Gently use your fingers to loosen your waves and remove any knots. Try not to brush your waves because you could end up making your hair frizzy.
  8. Consider applying a light hold hairspray to your hair. Spritz around your head a few times making sure to spray about 12 inches from your head. Then you can also use your hand like a claw and scrunch your hair in sections to help hold the wave in your hair.

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