Creating curls and waves with a hair straightener is tricky territory. It requires a bit of hand manoeuvring, and very specific twisting and sliding. And there are different techniques required depending on the finish you’re after. If your goal is to create tactically dishevelled waves that look effortless, but you keep getting spiral curls that are far too neat and ordered, you’re probably using the wrong wrist-flick action.
If cool-girl waves are what you’re after, here’s how to get the look.
Regardless of how you’re styling your hair, when you’re dealing with a hot tool, you need to have a heat protector in your arsenal. We’ve got two options here: Redken Extreme Play Safe Leave In Treatment if you like applying your heat protector to wet hair, or TIGI Custom Create™ Heat Protection Spray if you’re starting your styling session with dry hair.
Start with your heat protector
As we said, this is an essential first step – whether you’re using a hairdryer, curling wand, or a straightener. Why? The heat from the tools can gradually damage your hair, and when hair is damaged, it’s dry and prone to breakage. The Redken Extreme Play Safe Leave In Treatment and TIGI Custom Create™ Heat Protection Spray (and other heat protectors) help reduce the damage done, and keep your hair stronger. The Redken option is great if you like to blow-dry your hair before styling; as it’s a cream base, it’s best applied to wet hair. If you like to leave your hair to air-dry, then you can use a lightweight spray like the TIGI one (don’t worry, it won’t leave your hair feeling crunchy!). If you’re going in with a spray on dry hair, make sure to spritz section by section to ensure you’re covered.
Flick your wrist forward
Separate a small section of your hair (the smaller you make it, the tighter the wave; the larger, the looser, so keep this in mind!). Take your straightener and clamp at the root of the section. Tilt your wrist slightly forward and slide the straightener down the section for about a quarter of the length, and hold it there.
Tilt your wrist backward
Now, tilt your wrist slightly backward, and slide the straightener further down for another quarter, and hold.
Continue the motion
Repeat this alternating forward-backward motion with your wrist until just before you reach the end of the section – you want to leave last centimetre straight.
Repeat this same technique section by section, until you’ve done your entire head.
To give your hair more volume and a piece-y texture, use a dry texture spray at the roots and ends of your hair. Then use your fingers to comb through and shake out.
The final look
And, done! The whole forward-backward technique does take some practice, but once you’ve nailed it, you won’t regret the perseverance.
Do you have a foolproof technique for textured waves? Please share with us in the comments section below.
Image credits: Sevak Babakhani
Hair & makeup credit: Lei Tai
Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.