How to Get Healthy 360 Waves in 4 Weeks
What Are 360 Waves?
360 waves is a hairstyle, usually worn by men, where the natural curls of the hair have been trained to lay down on the scalp, all the way around the head for the full 360 degrees. Sometimes people shorten the term and just call it "waves." To achieve this style, the hair is cut short and special brushing techniques result in what looks like "oceanic waves" in the hair.
Who Can Have Them?
If your hair can get curly, even a little, your hair has what it takes to get waves. Ethnicity does play a part in how close or big the waves will be because of the texture of the hair. Caucasians, as well as any other ethnic group, can have waves—it may take a lot longer and a little more work, but with patience and many weeks of "wolfing" (a term that refers to the amount of time you take from haircut to haircut), anyone with naturally curly hair can get waves.
As well as the type, the length of the hair matters, too. Usually, I start with a 1" haircut all the way around (this is a short haircut with a 1" guard on the clippers). If your hair doesn't start curling until it's longer than 1", I would start with a higher haircut. To get the best-looking waves, you have to grow your hair out. It is recommended to grow/wolf for at least four weeks but usually no longer than eight. The reason behind this is you need hair to lay down and train so it can wave up. Without length, there can be no wave. The longer the hair, the deeper the wave.
Step 1: Wash Your Hair
First, shampoo and condition your hair. It doesn't matter what kind of product you use, but it is recommended that you use a separate shampoo and conditioner and not an all-in-one product. I use olive oil shampoo and a replenishing conditioner. Organic Root Stimulator
Conditioning is very important because it makes your hair very soft and malleable, so it makes the brushing even more effective. Cleansing should be done once or twice a week to keep your hair clean and soft, but don't over-cleanse because you'll wash out the natural oils in your hair. The days that you are not washing your hair, you should just lay a hot, wet washrag on your head, then proceed to step 2.
This is the conditioner I use. The olive oil is a great all-natural moisturizer.
Step 2: Moisturize Your Hair
In addition to the conditioner mentioned above, it's good to put some type of moisturizing product in your hair to accelerate the waving process as well as give your hair hold as it lays down. I use two products: Luster's S-curl Curl Activator and Hollywood Best Olive Cream. I use the curl activator whenever my hair feels dry and at the beginning of my wolfing stage. I use a dime-size amount of olive cream every night before I go to bed. I personally stay away from any pomade as it said that it can clog the pores of your head, but if you like pomade, Cantu Shea Butter Pomade is great—it has a good hold and smells incredible.
Like I said, I use the curl activator whenever my hair feels dry and at the beginning of my wolfing stage.
Step 3: Brush Your Hair
This is the most important tool and step for getting waves. Brush as often and as much as you can. Embrace your brush. It will become your best friend.
Start from the crown of your head and brush to your hairline (see illustration). As for brushes, I prefer to use a WavEnforcer 544 but any hard, medium, or soft boar bristle brush will work. I brush for at least an hour two times a day (so at least two hours a day total). It is said that you can never brush too much, so about 50-100 strokes on the front of my head a little more on each side and then my back: since I have a large head, I do the back of my head in two sections, right and then left.
Step 4: Capping It off (Compression)
After brushing, tie a durag/tsurag on your head. Simple. If you think you need more compression, add a wave cape on top of that. I usually do this right before I go to sleep, but if you like to do the steps in the morning, I would put it on for at least 30 minutes (but keep it on longer, if possible), and still continue to wear one at night.
Extra Tips for 360 Waves
You can do some extra maintenance that will have your waves looking nice and shiny as well as keep your hair strong and healthy.
- Every month, usually the second week after my haircut, I use a hot oil moisturizer. I warm it up for about 30 seconds in the microwave after step 1, leave it in for 30-45 minutes, and then I wash it out. Go on to step 3, and then tie it all up with a durag and a wavecap.
- Okay, you've been wolfing and brushing your hair for 4+ weeks and it's time for a haircut. It is important that you do this correctly or all progress could be lost. It is recommended to get a 1.5" or longer haircut, especially if your hair takes longer to curl. Tell your barber to go with the grain of your hair.