Tousled waves look sexy, soft and effortless, so it’s no wonder that the popularity of beachy looks continues into winter. But for straight haired ladies like me, getting gentle undulations can be challenging. There are many methods for coaxing texture from straight locks, however, depending on your hair type, some of these may leave you with weird kinks or little more than a ripple. Click style notes for a review of the basics, along with advanced tips on getting the most oomph from your tresses. –– Laura Martin

Flatiron Waves –– Good for Medium to Coarse Textures 

The flat-iron uses heat to make lasting cascades. It’s great for ultra-straight locks; styles hold up well during the day. The heat can cause damage, however; it is also time-consuming and requires some dexterity. Get it right, though, and it’s worth the effort.

To do, mist hair with protective thickening lotion and take a one-inch section. Place flatiron a few inches from roots, clamp down and quickly rotate iron 180°. Release hair, move iron down and repeat, twisting in the opposite direction. Continue until you reach the ends. Repeat on strands that you want to be waved. Apply pomade to fingers and gently shake through cascades for an elegantly disheveled look.


Twisted Waves –– Good for Fine to Medium Textures

This method creates waves by twirling the hair as it dries, maximizing natural movement. It’s easy to do and gentle on hair. It may not work if your hair is sternly straight and, thus, resistant to texture.

Apply styling whip from roots to ends. Divide hair into four sections by splitting from nape to hairline, ear-to-ear. Twist each section into a tight coil. Dry the twists with the nozzle of the dryer, pointing airflow down and toward the ends, gently scrunching the twists as you do. When dry, shake hair out with fingers coated with hair creme.


Wand Waves –– Good for all Hair Types

This way produces movement quickly and easily. A styling wand gives the strength of a curling iron set, but with a softer finish for a more natural look. The results are typically softly coiled instead of “S” shaped. The wand also helps to add volume.

Apply a light hold styler, like set and style spray, to damp hair. Rough dry with hands, shaking fingers into the roots to create volume. When hair is dry, wrap random sections around wand, pointing the tip of the wand toward the floor and wrapping hair down the shaft from roots to ends. When set is complete, mist with primp working spray.


Braided Waves –– Good for all Hair Types 

Braiding hair to produce lightly crimped texture is a method that’s been around since the 80s, but a refined version of the technique offers a more organic look. Product is essential to achieving the best result. Heat is optional, and recommended only for thicker, more resistant textures.

For fine hair: Apply set and style spray from roots to ends on clean, towel dried hair. Using a dryer, tousle moisture from lengths until about 80% dry. Divide hair in half from forehead to nape, and braid each half into a loose, three-strand plait. Twist the braids tightly and wrap into buns. Allow to air dry, or use dryer on a low setting. When all moisture is gone, unwind buns, shake out braids, and run shine spray through ends.

For coarse hair: Begin on clean, completely dry hair. Heat a flat iron, and divide hair in half from front to back. Plait each half into a loose three-strand twine. Twist the braids, then run down the outside of the twist with the iron two to three times. Allow to cool, shake out gently, and finish with pomade.


Special thanks to Laura Martin, senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, for sharing professional hairstyling advice with Style Noted.

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