The short-haired girl’s guide to waves

Nailing the effortless look is easier than you think

Beauty Crew Editor / August 01 2016

Effortless waves and lots of texture aren’t just reserved for those with longer lengths and mermaid hair, a point proven by short-haired celebrities Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel McAdams and Lucy Hale, who often nail the style (and give us major short hair envy). 

Celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, a fan of posting mini hair tutorials on her Snapchat account (@jenatkinhair for those looking to witness the magic), recently revealed just how she creates a tousled and wavy style on her celebrity client Jenna Dewan-Tatum, showing it’s actually a lot easier to achieve than you may have thought. 

Follow her steps for creating the effortless waves you’ve always thought were entirely too hard.


Prep your hair

While your hair is still damp, apply a combination of mousse and a volumising hair mist to help give your hair added texture and fullness. Atkin used Ouai Soft Mousse (which is not yet available at Sephora Australia, so we suggest Kérastase Mousse Bouffante), and we’d recommend trying Aveda Pure Abundance™ Style Prep to give your hair weightless body.

Hair volumising products


Blow-dry straight

Using a medium round brush, blow-dry your hair – section by section – until your hair is completely dry, and smooth.


Add your curl

For Jenna’s hair, Atkin used two different ghd curlers – the Curve Soft Curl Tong and the Classic Curl Tong – and alternated between using the different sizes to create the waves. This will give you that lived-in, effortless finish.

If you don’t have two different curler sizes on hand, you can change the size of the segments you loosely wrap around the barrel. Smaller sections will give you tighter curls, and larger sections will leave a softer, wavier finish. You can also try alternating the direction of the curl to add some variation to the style.

ghd hair curler


Style for hold

Once your hair has cooled down, use a clay wax, like Kevin.Murphy Gritty.Business to give your hair hold and some extra grit, then finish off a stronghold hairspray to ensure the style stays put all day. Atkin used Moroccanoil Strong Finish Luminous Hairspray, but you can also try L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Absolute Extreme Hold.

Loreal elnett spray

This wavy and effortess texture isn't the only way to style your short hair. In fact, we've got five ideas on how to style your bob, and three pretty great hairstyles to try on your lob.

Image credits: Getty

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.