How to Get Perfect Waves, Even If Your Hair Is Stick Straight

Updated 10/18/19

Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Image

If care-free, tousled waves are what you're trying to achieve but you have naturally straight hair, look no further. Straight hair can require some extra help holding a wave, which is why we spoke with celebrity hairstylist Lea Journo of Lea Journo Salon in Beverly Hills to get her expert tips on the topic. Known for working with clients such as Zoe Saldana, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, and Britney Spears, Journo gave us her advice on creating perfectly-tousled-waves, even if your hair is stick straight.

Keep scrolling for the expert set of steps to achieve tousled waves.

Step 1: Prep With a Styling Cream

Journo says to apply a light styling cream through your strands before reaching for your curling iron. “You want something that will give your hair hold, but won’t make it stiff,” she says. "If your strands are damp, dry them thoroughly with your blow-dryer, and lightly run more styling cream through your hair before you start curling."

Styling cream
Leonor Greyl Styling Cream $46
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Step 2: Curl

Now comes the most crucial part—curling your hair. Journo recommends a curling iron with a 1-inch barrel for loose waves. Hold the curling iron with the rod facing down and wrap 2-inch sections around the barrel, away from your face.

hot tools
Hot Tools 1' 24K Gold Curling Iron $50
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“Start at your roots and wrap towards the end in a spiral shape, as this will give you a lift!” Avoid the urge to immediately brush out your curls or separate them with your fingers—Journo says to leave the curls the way they are until you’re done curling entirely. If your hair is notorious for falling flat after curling, she suggests pinning each curl in place loosely as you wait for it to set.

“In general, if you have straight hair, always take smaller sections no matter what type of curl you are trying to create,” she says.

The smaller the section, the more likely the heat from the curling iron will penetrate each strand and keep it curled.

Step 3: Shake It Out

After you’ve curled all your hair, flip your head upside down and shake your curls out loosely. Never run your fingers through your hair, warns Journo, because this can flatten your curl. 

Step 4: Finish With a Glossing Cream

Finally, finish it off with a gloss. “Run a pea-sized amount of glossing shine cream through your hands and 'mess' it through your curls,” Journo says. “Don’t put too much, or else it will weigh your curls down!”

Shop some of our favorite glossing cream products below.

bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Brilliantine Styling Cream for Separation and Sheen $25
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r+co
R+Co Moisture + Shine Créme $16
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fekkai
Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream $20
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Step 5: Treat and Maintain

The first step to a great style is always healthy hair, and when it comes to wavy styles, taming frizz is usually our number one concern. Instead of using cotton towels to dry your hair after shampooing, try this Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel ($30), that helps manage frizz, split ends, and damage.

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is also a great way to maintain the health of your hair and keep frizz away. Bonus: Silk can also help prevent sleep wrinkles and marks on your face.

silk
Shhh Silk Silk Pillowcase $85
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Up Next: For those days you want to skip heat styling, here's an official guide to getting the perfect air-dry.

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