We’ve struggled for poker-straight hair then attempted perfect curls. Finally, we’re celebrating easy waves, and thank goodness for that. Here’s how to get them no matter what your hair type or texture.
At one point, not so long ago, designers sent armies of poker straight-haired models down the catwalks. It didn’t matter what their natural hair looked like, the end goal, and the prevailing trend that filtered down to the real world, was always the same: hair should look ironed to ‘perfection’ and have a mirror-like shine.
Then the trend was for structured curls that appeared effortless but, of course, required huge effort. But things are changing, and it’s thanks to looks seen on the autumn/winter catwalks at shows like Bora Aksu, Roland Mouret and Mary Katrantzou, where the biggest hair trend was waves. That effortless, beachy – bordering on what might have once been considered ‘messy’ – hair is becoming more in demand than ever.
It’s also popular on the red carpet, with stars such as Chrissy Metz and Saoirse Ronan opting for looser styles instead of traditional sleek looks. And the wavy hair trend is now infiltrating our everyday styles.
As GHD ambassador Adam Reed says, “Loose waves are a trend that’s here to stay. Not only are they easy to achieve, they also last and actually look better each day. It’s the ideal look for the busy lifestyles we all lead.”
Apart from the fact we can all sleep in later in the morning, the best thing about this trend is that no matter what your hair type, it doesn’t require too much effort to give your style a little wave.
Here’s the proof…
Waves on wavy hair
If you’re lucky enough to exit the shower with natural tumbling waves, focus on setting your hair, rather than styling it. This is particularly important when it comes to how you dry it. “Waves are all about allowing the hair to dry in its natural form,” says Larry King, hairdresser and founder of Larry King salon. Before you dry your hair, prep it with leave-in conditioner and a 50p-sized dollop of soft-hold mousse.
“Distribute the products between your palms, tip the head upside down and gently squeeze your hair in an upwards motion,” instructs King. “Twist tendrils round at the crown and front hairline to help define movement, then dry your hair using a diffuser.”
The longer the hair, the heavier it is and this can drag your waves down. By drying hair with your head tipped over, you can easily add volume back into the roots. Once dried, stop your hair from looking too done with a finishing cream. “Really get your fingers in at the roots to massage the scalp and hair,” he adds. “This will break up the curls so they’re not too solid and add volume to roots.”
The tool kit
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment, £19
Waves on straight hair
The key to wavy hair is making it look natural, but this can be difficult when your hair is straight. To begin, diffuse hair from wet to dry to bring out texture, but try not to move strands too much while diffusing, says Bryce Scarlett, the hairdresser behind Margot Robbie’s beachy waves at the Golden Globes.
“Once it’s dry, I like to let hair cool down for 10 minutes before moving it around, breaking it up a bit,” he says. “This allows the natural shapes to set in place.” Next, use a curling wand that allows you to switch between barrels to create different sized waves, he says.
“I like to use smaller barrels closer to the root and the larger ones on the ends. This mimics natural waves in the most accurate way.” To make it look effortless, don’t feel you have to create the same wave every time. “Just pick up areas that are too flat or too straight, and you can be gentle about the wrapping or use a bit of tension,” says Scarlett.
Once you’ve finished styling, brush through hair to soften waves and spritz with dry shampoo.
The tool kit
Colab Dry Shampoo, £3.49
Moroccanoil Smoothing Lotion, £29.85
T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand, £199
Waves on curly hair
“Waves can work on any type of hair – it goes back to products and technique,” says Charlotte Mensah, hairstylist and founder of London-based salon Hair Lounge.
“The key is to work with the texture before you create the wave.” If you prefer a heatless technique, one of the simplest way to create wavy curls is to twist your hair into a large two strand twist before you go to bed, advises Mensah. “The twist will naturally stretch the hair and loosen your curl pattern, which leaves hair elongated and looser, creating undone waves,” she explains.
If you’d rather style your hair with a heated tool, wrap random sections around a curling tong. “Opt for a 1.5 inch barrel and don’t twist your hand in the same direction each time, because you want the look to be naturally wavy and not uniform,” says Mensah. “Let your hair cool down and set before you style it.”
When you’re done with the tong, sweep a wide-toothed comb through your hair to give it an undone finish.
The tool kitCharlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil, £48
Main image: Trunk / Simon Burstall