Weirdly enough, we're high-maintenance about getting the low-maintenance look. The difference between a wave and a curl? Waves translate a certain I woke up like this je ne sais quoi, while curls are created (and worn) with more intention. Personally, we loved lived-in waves all year round, and they're actually super easy to recreate yourself (sometimes you can even create waves without heat styling). Here, we've rounded up 45 of our favorite wavy hair looks.
Hair queen Kristen Ess shows off how a twisting method prior to your blow dry can give you these very natural looking and low-maintenance waves.
Hair stylists themselves likely opt to go the au natural route and keep things low-maintenance when they’re not at work, like these air-dried waves seen on celeb stylist Ashley Streicher.
A popular way to pull off waves is to leave the ends straight for a modern, lived-in look. But we love how Lizzo's curls maintain their spiral through the ends of her hair, creating a more polished version of a natural wave.
MK&A are the queens of natural waves. Their look is never fussy or overdone. If they use any heat at all, the iron barrel size used closely mimics what comes naturally to their respective wave patterns, keeping things fresh and controlled.
Here, Nicole Richie defines her natural texture, pairing the look with subtle jewelry and a keyhole neckline. To recreate, use flaxseed gel to smooth your roots, then pull your hair back into a half-up, half-down style.
Some people are just naturally blessed with beautiful waves, like Hill House Home founder Nell Diamond. The important thing to note is it requires good hair care to keep your tresses lust-worthy. One suggestion is to sleep with a silk pillowcase to avoid friction, breakage, and damage to your hair while you sleep.
Tessa Thompson's waves beautifully compliment her haircut's layered shape, which opens up to show off that strong, beautiful jawline.
Even if you don't have natural waves to work with, you can create the look of natural waves with a skinny-barreled curling iron, salt spray, and a teasing comb.
Hair stylist Anh Co Tran has coined the term “lived-in waves." It's a sultry combination of alternating curl patterns, stick straight ends, and dry texture spray.
Personally, we love the way lived-in waves look on a perfectly chopped lob like Constance Wu's.
Elizabeth Moss shows us that even when pulled back, lived-in waves still give your hairstyle great movement.
To recreate Tiffany Haddish's waves, only curl your hair from the chin down. Then brush through while your curls are still hot to turn them into cascading waves.
A little salt spray goes a long way for Whitney Port.
Hailey Bieber's lived-in waves have that perfectly piecey texture (without compromising the full-bodied movement in her hair). The flipped-over part also helps give any wavy hairstyle that effortlessly tousled look. To recreate it on your own, part your hair as your normally would, then flip the front section over to the opposite side.
If you haven't joined the Camila Mendes train yet... get on it. Her choppy, collarbone-length hair is styled into loose, voluminous waves using an iron with a larger barrel. Pro tip: if you plan to rock this look, a regular trim will keep your ends looking clean.
Mod 70's Waves
If you start by using a smaller barrel curling iron and then vigorously brush through your curls, you'll get a style similar to Kathryn Newton's long waves seen here. A very modern ode to the 70's.
Kelly Rowland's waves are the epitome of glam.
We love how Amanda Seyfried's waves combine old Hollywood with the 70's, and remind us not to be afraid of statement hair accessories to formalize an otherwise casual hairstyle.
Wind-blown, voluminous, and perfectly tousled, these are the waves of our dreams. Get Ciara's look with a 1" curling wand (or try using the diffuser attachment on your blow dryer).
This style is the perfect way to complement a middle part. To recreate without heat styling, apply a volumizing mousse to freshly washed (and conditioned) hair, then twist and define waves with a curl cream. Finish off with a dry texturizing spray once your hair fully dries to get that piecy look.
The soft waves Sophie Turner wore to her Dark Phoenix premiere are mature and sophisticated without being stiff. To get a similarly soft, Hollywood-glam wave, try using a 1.25" iron in the same direction all the way around the head, and then brushing through with a boar-bristle brush.
Beyoncé can obviously do and wear anything, but we love how these face-framing angel waves show off her caramel highlights. To create this look in a fraction of the time, blow dry your hair and only curl the sections that frame your face.
When you pair soft waves with a side part, you've instantly stepped your style up a notch. Teddi Cranford, the celebrity hair stylist behind A-list weddings and owner of White Rose Collective, has a knack for providing that next level style without compromising its cool girl vibe.
Jessica Biel is definitely giving off a vibe, and it's the farthest thing from rigid or uptight, as some old Hollywood glamour would have it. Biel's soft, beachy waves look refined and simultaneously effortless.
Priyanka Chopra's loose angel waves fall into a beautiful spiral. To recreate, curl only your ends, then spray with a dry oil for extra shine and brush through.
If you want waves but dislike how much shorter they can make your hair look, take a note from Bryce Dallas Howard. Section your hair into three thick sections, then use a large-barrelled curling wand to bend your hair into barely-there waves.
Long and Loose
The key to this look is long hair, a small barrel (0.75"), and stick-straight ends. To recreate these waves on your own, curl your hair in alternating directions with the skinniest curling wand you have, avoiding the roots and ends. Then follow up with a straightener on your ends for these intentional waves.
Like Camila Cabello, you can enhance your natural wave pattern with a curl-friendly conditioner, sea salt spray for texture, and going through in choice areas with a small curling wand to add curl and volume where you might want to enhance it.
Florence Welch's flower child waves perfectly compliment her loose fringe bangs. If your hair has natural twists and turns, just amp them up with a curl cream to define your perfect wave shape, then set with a flexible-hold hairspray.
Stella Maxwell's Met Gala waves go on for miles. Unless your biotin supplement is a miracle worker, you'll need extensions to recreate this look—plus lots and lots of salt spray.
Chrissy Teigen's mermaid waves might make you consider getting hair extensions, and we don't blame you. High maintenance to put in, but low maintenance styling in the end, right?
We love Nicole Kidman's spiral-wave look. Unlike loose, beachy waves, this look definitely requires heat styling and working on smaller sections at a time to get more definition throughout.
If you already have a long, natural wave that needs a little help fighting off frizz, try adding a good mousse and plenty of curl-defining gel to recreate this wet-hair look.
Flat Iron Waves
Flat iron waves are definitely on the rise, as seen here on Awkwafina. We love the idea of keeping one tool on our vanity to create multiple looks.
Hair pro Justine Marjan points out that when it comes to flat iron waves, it's important to "make sure your iron has rounded edges and that you change the direction the iron points with each bend of the wrist!"
Aimee Song gets festival ready with some super textured flat iron waves.For dimension, add more bends to the sections of hair that frame your face, then shake your fingers through your roots to loosen up the waves.
One of the many types of waves you can get with a flat iron is an "s wave" by simply feeding your hair between the iron plates in an "S" pattern. Add a little braid or accessory to jazz things up.
A flat iron can also give you the option of keeping your waves smooth and subdued. If you overcurl with your wand or iron, just run over your curls loosely with a straightener. Just remember to use a heat protectant.
Blow Out Waves
Getting good waves from a blow out means making sure you're using the right brush to get your desired result. One size does not fit all, but it's ok because we've done the homework for you here.
Obviously Victoria's Secret model Jasmine Tookes has runway-worthy waves. The blown-out look is a great way to add sophistication to waves when you have a special occassion or more formal event—but still don't want to wear full-on curls.
Sporting good waves and good volume without an iron requires a very skilled blow out. Practice makes perfect, but a great tip is to blow dry your hair upside down and in the opposite direction of your part for added volume.
Sometimes, the easiest way to get beautifully blown out waves is to cheat your sectioning. Prioritize the roots and the hairline so that everything surrounding your face has that soft, airy movement to it. You can "fake" the rest with a large barrel iron.
To get Selena Gomez's wavy blowout, you'll need plenty of thickening spray and a volumizing mousse. Try recreating this look with a blow dryer and a round brush for added volume and less-defined curls (as you would get with an iron or wand).
Blown out waves are all about shape and providing a nice face frame, as seen here on Keri Russell.
If you have long bangs, you also have the perfect palette for blow dried waves. Don't think of it as high maintenance. You can get away with blow drying a nice wave in your bangs and leaving the rest of your hair au natural to get that cool girl vibe.