The wet-look hairstyle is having quite the moment. Everyone from Julianne Hough to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and J.Lo have donned the smooth, sculpted style. But the celebs who are responsible for turning the look into a full-fledged craze are Kim Kardashian West and the Hadid sisters. "There is something so chic and sexy about this look. With Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid rocking wet hair, it has become this season's biggest trend," says hairstylist Alysa Pace.
Meet the Expert
Alysa Pace is an L.A.-based hairstylist, colorist, and extension specialist who works out of Bomane salon in Beverly Hills.
We're definitely not immune to it; ever since we caught our first glance of Bella Hadid's slicked-back ponytail, we've been in love. But there's a catch: Just like any trendy hairstyle, it can be hard to know where to begin. Our first question is what are these celebs using to keep their hair so shiny? Could it be gel? Mousse? Pomade? That's why we reached out to the experts so they could teach us how to successfully replicate the look, step by step.
Towel Dry Your Hair
"A good wet look combines beachy vibes, grungy toughness, and eye-catching shine," says Nick Arrojo of Arrojo NYC. This might sound complicated to achieve, but it's deceptively simple.
First, towel-dry your hair. "You want to take some of the moisture out until it's around 60% dry and then comb through hair with a wide-tooth comb," says Nunzio Saviano, a hair expert and the owner of his namesake salon in NYC. Just because it's a wet look doesn't mean your hair should actually be wet. "Think damp, not wet," says Pace.
Use a Gel and Cream Product Combination
Next comes the product. "Mix together a gel and a cream," Saviano says. "If you just use a gel, it will leave the hair crunchy, and if you just use a cream, it will make the hair look greasy. However, the combo of the two works really well." He runs a small amount through the hair (key word here is small).
Start with a dime-size amount for fine hair and a quarter-size amount for thick hair. "The amount needed depends on hair texture, but be careful not to add too much or it will lead to clumps and your scalp showing. Your hair should be coated but not to the point your hair sticks together too much," he says.
Or, Opt For a Gel Alone
As for Arrojo's take on the wet look, he applies his namesake Hair Gel ($22), focusing most of it on the roots. He calls it "a truly modern incarnation of hair gel. With vitamin B5 and oat proteins, it's non-sticky, flake-free, has a strong hold, and is great for sleeking and sculpting with shine. It's the perfect product for the wet look."
After the gel is in, he combs the hair with a wide-tooth comb, spritzes his brand's oil spray from mid-length to end, and blows it dry. "Be careful not to disturb the root area, as you want to keep that part of the style super sleek and straight back. Once dry, gently tousle the ends through the back with fingers so that the sleek portion on top and the lengths blend together."
Work With Your Natural Texture
Pace says this look is all about working with, not against, your natural texture. "Whether your hair is curly or straight, enhance texture and fight frizz using Davines Love leave-in serums," she says. "For curly hair, use the Love Curl Cream, and for straight hair use, the Love Hair Smoother ($25). Apply a dime-size amount to hairline through ends."
As for how you finish it off, Arrojo says you have a couple of options. "For the most drama, keep this look slicked straight back," he says, "But you can also change it up, creating more of a disheveled, lived-in finish simply by using your hands to shake and tousle mid-lengths and ends more aggressively. This will give the style more of a carefree Bohemian vibe."
Next up, check out this guide for thicker, healthier strands.