If you've been thinking about a different way to style your hair this fall, finger waves are a great way to achieve a cool look without using heat. The wet-looking style is created by using your fingers, the right products, and a fine-tooth comb to form C-shaped hair waves that sit close to the scalp and alternate horizontally throughout the hair.
"Finger waves became popular in the 1920s as an easy way to style pixie cuts and short bobs," says Anthony Cole, Sebastian Professional hairstylist and owner of Salon Sans Egal. "Nowadays, this chic style is especially popular amongst my clients who have textured hair and are going more natural. It's also great if you have bleached or damaged hair and don't want to apply heat when styling."
Finger waves look like a masterpiece once created, so anyone would think they take hours to do, right? Well, the truth is, the style is easy to achieve, and it's really not as complicated as it looks. Below, Cole shares all you need to know about creating finger waves yourself.
What Length Should Your Hair Be to Try Out Finger Waves?
The beauty of finger waves is that they can be achieved on hair of any length. "There's not much difference in how the style is created, except that on shorter hair, you may need to apply more gel for increased pliability and hold," explains Cole.
How to Do Finger Waves
Cole starts by washing and conditioning the hair using Sebastian Professional Drench Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. "When the hair is hydrated, it tends to have more flexibility and elasticity, which is ideal for finger waves," says the stylist. After the hair has been washed, gently towel dry and create a dramatic side part.
Apply a quarter-size amount of Sebastian Professional Gel Forte throughout the hair and comb through well. "Next, mix Sebastian Professional Dark Oil with more Gel Forte, emulsify well in hands and apply throughout the hair," says Cole. "Mixing the oil with the gel gives the hair more flexibility and prevents the gel from flaking."
Comb the hair straight down on both sides of the part. "I love using the YS Park 339 Fine Cutting Comb," says the stylist. "To create finger waves, hold the comb horizontally against the head so the teeth are touching the scalp, place one finger on the hair part and drag comb downwards and toward the forehead to begin to see a ridge form."
Slide your finger below the new hair ridge and move the comb the opposite way to form a ridge in the other direction. Keep following that pattern all the way down and around the hair to form a finger wave.
Dry the hair lightly with a blow dryer and diffuser to keep the style from blowing out of shape. "The ghd Helios Hairdryer is great for this," says Cole.
To finish, mist the hair with Sebastian Professional Dark Oil Fragrant Spray, for a light shine and silky finish.
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How Long Do Finger Waves Last?
Finger waves can last up to four to five days. The secret to making finger waves last is to gently spray the style with a workable hairspray. "I use Sebastian Professional Zero Gravity Hairspray," says Cole. "When you wake up, press each wave in between your fingers as you spray the hairspray, this helps keep the C-shape wave in place."
How Do You Maintain Finger Waves?
Hairspray will help to maintain your finger waves, but Cole says it's also important to wrap your hair at night with a silk hair wrap, this helps to maintain the style, lock in moisture and prevent frizz."
How Do You Remove Finger Waves?
The best way to remove finger waves and prevent damage is to shampoo and condition your hair, this ensures all product is completely washed out. If you're bored of your finger waves but still want a look with a bit of texture, Cole says after wearing your finger waves for three or four days, take a Mason Pearson Natural Boar Bristle Brush and gently brush the waves out to create a soft, beach wave look.