The wet-look hairstyle is having quite the moment. Everyone from Julianne Hough to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and J.Lo has 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. 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 Pace and top stylists Nick Arrojo and Nunzio Saviano to weigh in on how to artfully create a wet hair look.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for our step-by-step guide to pulling off wet-look hair.
Towel Dry Your Hair
"A good wet look combines beachy vibes, grungy toughness, and eye-catching shine," Arrojo tells us. This might sound complicated to achieve, but it's deceptively simple. First, towel-dry washed hair and remember: blot, don't rub. "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," instructs Saviano. 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. We think Oribe Gel Sérum ($35) and Amika Supernova Moisture and Shine Cream ($26) make for a winning combo. "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 uses his namesake Hair Gel ($26). 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." When applying, he focuses most of it on the roots.
Depending on your hair type, texture, and length will determine how you apply product for this style. For example, if you've got short locks, you'll want to apply gel from roots through tips. Meanwhile, those with long tresses should work in product from roots through -mids.
After the gel is in, Arrojo combs the hair with a wide-tooth comb, spritzes his brand's oil spray from mid-lengths to ends, and blow-drys. He cautions, "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," he instructs. And voila! High-octane shine.
Combing hair with a wide-tooth comb will achieve a more relaxed, beach vibe. But if you are looking for a super-chic style, opt for a fine-tooth comb to slick back hair instead.
Work With Your Natural Texture
Pace says the wet hair 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 advises. "For curly hair, use the Love Curl Cream ($25), and for straight hair use, the Love Hair Smoother ($26). Apply a dime-size amount to hairline through ends."
Customize Your Finish
To complete your 'do, 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." Basically, it's a versatile look that can fit any mood or occasion, so have fun with it.