How to Wave Your Hair

Updated on August 20, 2012

Get gorgeous, bouncy waves with these easy tips!

I have always had stick-straight hair, so I've had to learn a few tricks to making bouncy waves. For some reason, it seems that those of us with straight hair want waves, and those with waves want it straight. My mother-in-law has beautiful natural wavy hair, and she's told me of stories how as a teenager she used to iron her hair with a clothes iron. 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 for my hair 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 so as to preserve my hair from split ends.

I will share just a few ways that you can wave and curl hair without the harmful styling products on the market today.


This is the easiest way to wave hair, the healthiest, and the one that I most often use. Depending on how much wave I want, I may put as many as 2 to 6 braids in my hair.

Take freshly washed and slightly damp hair and divide it into even sections. Braid loosely for soft waves, and braid tight for tight waves. When you reach near the bottom, roll the remaining two inches of hair on a strip of cloth or a plastic straw. Tie and secure.

NOTE: Braiding the hair every night with at least one braid keeps you from pulling and stretching it in the night. This reduces breakage and helps hair stay healthy.


For perm-like waves, floral wire and/or pipe cleaners (the ones found in your craft department) may be used. Do not sleep on the floral wire as laying on the wire would break hair. (Not to mention would be very uncomfortable).

Take strips of floral wire that are the length of your hair or a long pipe cleaner. Fold these in half. Take a section of hair, (preferably freshly washed and slightly damp), and stick it through the bent wire right next to the bend. (The bend should be right next to the scalp). Gently twist hair into bend to secure. Now take the hair and weave 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 out with fingers.


This is an obvious one, but curlers may also be used to wave hair. To obtain curly hair, roll tight on small rollers. For wavy hair, use large rollers. Try to stay away from hot rollers. Not only does this break hair, but it dries it out. Hair needs moisture to curl properly.

Some ones to try... Sponge rollers, cloth rollers, rubber rollers, (without heat), or for really tight curls, perm rods or plastic straws may be used.

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. Chemicals used by professionals are often harsh and damage hair. Personally, I don't know anyone that would care to tackle four and a half feet of it anyway.

One last tip that may help your hair to wave better. 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 is Dove. It has weightless moisturizers that gives 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).

Check out the photo below, it's awesome!

Below is another very neat way to wave your hair. I never would have thought of this idea on my own. I found it on Pinterest, and thought it would be an amazing addition to this article. I have no idea where this originated, but if someone knows, I will be more than glad to give them credits. The picture is very detailed and self-explanatory. Hope you are enjoying the article! Happy Waving!


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    • profile image

      Temita 5 months ago

      Wow, looks perfect!

      Do you use any ingredients before foiling your hair?

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      Sarah!!!!!! 19 months ago

      This is awesome!!! But my hair is really thin so I'm hoping it will still work, another thing I do is I'll soak my hair then, put it in about 7-8 messy buns overnight and it give the best curls when I take them out!!! But like I said before my hair is really thin so it dries quicker while in asleep

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      llllhhhvghv 23 months ago

      how long do you iron it

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      mirjeta 2 years ago

      very good

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      Katelyn Davis 2 years ago

      I've used hot sticks and curlers and everything beyond the sun to have my hair curly and beautiful for a best friends wedding this month I think this might work for me. Any ideas

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      RJ 3 years ago

      You and your hair are awesome. Please never think that you are "too old" to wear it. So many women have gorgeous hair that falls victim to this propaganda.

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      Krista 3 years ago

      How long do you leave that hot iron on the foil for?

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 4 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      You should leave the iron on the foil pieces on only a matter of seconds. Trial and error would be the best way to know since everyone's hair is different and the hair type will affect how quickly or slowly the hair holds curl. Also, the temperature of the iron. Start with 10 - 15 seconds and increase the time if your hair doesn't curl. Make sure to use a heat protecting spray for best results.

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      Angie 4 years ago

      How long do you leave the iron the foil pieces????? Please get back soon.

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      Tracie 4 years ago

      How long do you leave the iron on the foil pieces?

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      Mignon 5 years ago

      Love this, very cleaver & the results are great. :)

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 5 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Janie, the young lady in the picture above is taking sections of hair and curling them around her finger. After she makes a curl, she wraps it in aluminum foil. She does this all over her head. After her curls are wrapped she takes an electric flat iron that is usually for straightening hair, and presses the aluminum foil curls. When the foil is removed, she has bouncy curls!

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      Janie 5 years ago

      I had brain surgery and the part where the hair was cut won't grow . I think I will try this. But please xplain in writing .i am 77years old. And. Can't. Understand the pic .please help . Thanks

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      Nancy 5 years ago

      Girls, I've been a hairdresser for over 50 years....before curlers we used pincurls, much like the wrapping the hair around your fingers....people used to use the wire ties from coffee bags, like your pipe we actually invented these alternative ways to curl hair,,,everything eventually comes back around.....

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      Kathie 5 years ago

      I have very thick and long hair, was wondering how long do you leave the strightner on each one?

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 5 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Jessica, yes, actually it's aluminum foil.

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      Jessica 5 years ago

      In the last pictures is that Tin foil?

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      5 years ago

      That was awesome!

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      Amanda 6 years ago

      Do you know what her YouTube video is called? I'd like to see more tips from her

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      loulou 6 years ago

      thanx u i wish i could have ur hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Kattie(: 6 years ago

      I love this!!It acually works!

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      Paigeyyxx 6 years ago

      Wow it actually really wOrks my hair looks amazing xx thanks bab xx

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      Cara_2344 6 years ago

      Oh my gosh! thank you so much for this tip! lol my hair hates to stay cureled but this worked for mee!!!! Haa Okay we thanks :D

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      Anna_88 7 years ago from UK

      Thankyou, this was very helpful, i always try and find ways to wave my hair naturally, as i don't like the damage heat products make:-) great information!

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      Bloop 7 years ago

      Aww man I wish I had long hair but I don't so I can't do that style ))): I have like hair that comes to my armpits in layers (lol armpits) and so I'll just have to wait like a year or so till I can do that :((((((

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      kitty 7 years ago

      wow thx !! i try i later :)

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      juile 7 years ago

      i love it

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      Sarah 7 years ago

      thank you so much fro the info! it works sooooo well! you realy put a lot of effort into this video and it really helps!!!! thanks again.

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      Adila 7 years ago

      Thank you so much for the tips :)

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      carla 7 years ago

      love the tips tho my hairs short just below my shoulers.

      cant wait to it grows lol..


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      amy 8 years ago

      really good info, cant wait to try my hair is soooo straight and long and im stupid when it comes to curlers etc!! seems pretty foolproof and u showed each stage thanks xx

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      Onica 8 years ago

      I am shocked to find another person as passionate about avoiding heat products as myself! I also have long hair... I have donated 3 times to "Locks of Love" and now keep it about mid to low back length. I wish everyone would read your tips on avoiding heat... also I recommend protecting hair from cold weather! I live in the Midwest and so many people allow the bitter cold wind to blow and damage their hair, causing uncontrolable static and breakage. I always keep it in my coat or up under my hat. Happy Braiding and Waving, and if you have the chance, donate to help kids with cancer.

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      8 years ago

      Wow this really helped. Since I have Asian hair, it's really hard to do anything with it since it's always so dry. These tips really helped me. All my friends have noticed and they say I look better with wavy hair than with straight so THANKS A LOT!!!

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      Laura  8 years ago

      i like this :)

      im going to give it a try 2night

      thanks x

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 8 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Like I've mentioned before, the young lady on the video is not me. This is a video borrowed from YouTube. I'm sure that she'd appreciate you forwarding this comment to her YouTube site.

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      Sandie 8 years ago

      Excellent wave tips. You are natural in front of the camera i hope you are pursuing a media career. Thanks again for the tips.

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 8 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Adele: The young lady in the video isn't me. Her hair does look good though!

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      Adele 8 years ago

      iv always wanted to have wavy hair, and your hair looked great and i cant wait to try this out :) thanks for your help! XX

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      Sam 9 years ago

      Oh my gosh, i love u lol! Thanks for the great tips...keep them coming! x

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      Elizabeth W. 9 years ago

      i have been dyiiing to wave my hair for the longest time.. i haven't tried your tip yet but obviously it works! i will definetly try it out! thanks so much for the tip girl and u really are helpful.. ps.. u don't have big arms.. they are normal. thanks again for the tips god bless ya girl!

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      JoBroLuva831 (sarah:) 9 years ago

      I tried it one time and it really worked for my hair! now i use it probably every day! Thanks for the tips! (Don't worry i chew gum in the morning too!)


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      Omg! 9 years ago

      omg that is amazing my hair actually stayed like that all day! thanks for the tips

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      bethany riggs 9 years ago

      im going to try this.ill let you kno if it works thanks!!!:]]

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      sarah 9 years ago

      thanks this helped a lot cause ir eally hate my straight hair!!! =]

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      Isaebelle 9 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      how could you live with hair that long? when its that long its not even a style it just takes away from you...

      good advice though.


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      danielle 9 years ago

      You have the best hair tips

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      nikh 10 years ago

      would love to see ur hair fixed as u write here and let us see it!!!! i sounds beautiful and now we want to see it manifested.. lol

    • blessedmommy profile image

      Carisa Gourley 10 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Thanks for the comment Gabriella and for stopping by!

      G-Ma:  Long hair is not nearly as burdensome as many believe.  As long as your consisitent with proper care, it's not really that much different.  Thanks for the comment!

      Sis:  Thanks for adding some extra tips!  Since your hair hangs even longer than mine (over 5 feet), you're definitely the expert!  You need to let me get a picture of it fixed that way and post it on here :)

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 10 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Great info!!! Also if you use mousse with your hair damp then braid it makes the waves tight. Braiding your hair for wave seems to make it shine. Braiding gives you a perm look for a day without all the damage. I have seen so many perms look like fried noodles and I've seen some nice ones. My hair is so long for the curly look, I curl my hair at the top around my face, then I put it in two tight braids (freshly washed) and roll the ends. The top curly part mixes in the braidy part, everyone thinks it took me hours, but it don't and it looks nice. LONG HAIR RULES!!!!!!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      well sweetie I am so glad my hair is not that long..I just can't imagine what that feels like..Heck I color mine so the gray doesn't show now adays...Helps me feel younger...:O) I know we can be so vane...but oh well...he left me for a younger woman...Good information..keep it up..G-Ma :O)

    • gabriella05 profile image

      gabriella05 10 years ago from Oldham

      Great information

      Thank you