How to Wave Your Hair: Heat-Free Techniques for Bouncy Waves
I've always had stick-straight hair, so I've had to learn a few tricks to style it into bouncy waves. For some reason, it seems that those of us with straight hair want waves, and those of us with waves want straight hair. My mother-in-law has beautiful, natural wavy hair, and she's told me stories about how she used to iron her hair straight with a clothes iron when she was a teenager. For me, that's hard to imagine.
My hair measures about 4 1/2 feet in length, so I have to find hair care choices that will keep it from breaking and splitting. Although heat is one way to wave hair (such as with waving irons, hot rollers, etc.), I try to stay away from heat to protect my hair from split ends. I will share just a few ways that you can wave and curl your hair without the harmful styling products on the market today.
1. Braid Your Hair
This method of waving hair is the easiest, the healthiest, and the one that I use most often. Depending on how much wave I want, I may put as many as 6 braids in my hair.
How to Do It
- Take freshly washed and slightly damp hair and divide it into even sections.
- Braid your hair loosely for soft waves, or braid it tightly for tight waves.
- When you get near the bottom, roll the remaining two inches of hair on a strip of cloth or a plastic straw. Tie and secure.
Tip: Braiding your hair every night with at least one braid keeps you from pulling and stretching it in the night. This reduces breakage and helps you keep your hair healthy.
2. Use Floral Wire or Pipe Cleaners
For perm-like waves, floral wire and/or pipe cleaners (the ones found in the craft department) may be used. Do not sleep on the floral wire as laying on the wire would break your hair—not to mention, it would be very uncomfortable.
How to Do It
- Take strips of floral wire or long pipe cleaners that are the length of your hair. Fold these in half.
- Take a section of your hair (preferably freshly washed and slightly damp) and stick it through the bent wire right next to the bend, which should be right next to your scalp.
- Gently twist your hair into the bend to secure.
- Now, take the hair and weave it in and out in a criss-cross pattern. When you near the bottom, take the last two inches of hair and wind it around just one side of the wire.
- Secure the ends by twisting the wire closed.
- Take care when removing the wire. Brush your hair out with your fingers.
3. Use Curlers
This is an obvious one, but curlers may also be used to wave hair.
How to Do It
- To obtain curly hair, roll tightly on small rollers.
- For wavy hair, use large rollers.
Try to stay away from hot rollers. Not only do these break your hair, but they also dry it out. Hair needs moisture to curl properly. Here are a few curler types to try:
- sponge rollers
- cloth rollers
- rubber rollers (without heat)
- perm rods (for really tight curls)
- plastic straws (for really tight curls)
Always Use Conditioner!
One last tip that may help your hair to wave better, no matter which technique you're trying: Use LOTS of conditioner! Make sure it's the right kind, though. A heavy conditioner will just weigh down your hair and defeat the purpose.
My favorite conditioner is Dove. It has weightless moisturizers that give your hair the moisture it craves without weighing it down. (No, I don't work for or advertise for Dove. This is just purely my preference).
What About a Professional Wave?
There's also the option of having your hair professionally waved, but as you've probably guessed, I wouldn't recommend this for the health of your hair. The chemicals used by professionals are often harsh and damaging. Personally, I don't know anyone that would care to tackle 4 1/2 feet of hair, anyway!
I hope you've enjoyed this article, and happy waving!