May 16, 2022

Wavy Hair Routines: 5 Routines For Wavy Hair

Time to oomph up your waves!

Formulate user Cory writes:

I'm trying to figure out a really good wavy hair routine. I have naturally wavy hair, and I really want to style it better, while also keeping it healthy. Any thoughts?

Thanks for writing, Cory! We spoke with our beauty community friends, and they've got lots of thoughts for you. Check 'em out below:

Routine for fine wavy hair

Courtesy of Formulate user Ashley B.

I have super baby fine wavy hair. It's really easy for me to accidentally destroy my curl pattern with heavy products. That's why I follow this routine:

  1. Wash once every three days with my really gentle sulfate free formula. This is important. Fine hair gets oily fast, and you don't want your hair to look gross. Plus, when fine hair gets oily there's less of a curl pattern.
  2. I have a light conditioner so my curl pattern doesn't get weighed down. I always detangle using a wide tooth comb in the shower before rinsing it out. 
  3. After rinsing I flip my head upside down and squish in a pea sized amount of conditioner as a leave in, then squeeze out excess water with a microfiber towel
  4. I go upside down again and scrunch in a really small amount of volumizing mousse, then a curl defining gel.
  5. I go rightside up again and diffuse until my hair is about 60-70% dry. Then I do all my other morning stuff while my hair air dries a little on its own.
  6. I turn up the AC in my car and let my hair air dry while I dry to work. The cold air gives it a nice shine. 
  7. Scrunch out the crunch when I get to work.

Why do you use this specific wavy hair routine?

Doing it this way makes my baby fine, shoulder length 2a hair transform into a 2b or even something between a 2b and 2c. It works great, and doesn't make my hair feel heavy.

A routine for wavy haired people with oily roots and dry ends

Courtesy of Formulate User Kris A.

My hair doesn't always get along with conditioner, since my roots are so funky. They absolutely cannot handle any leave in product. Also, a lot of people swear by cowashing for wavy hair, but it doesn't work for me. I need shampoo for my roots, baby. Finally, styling techniques are super important for my hair, otherwise my hair just frizzes up, instead of curling. It's taken a lot of trial and error, but this routine works really well for me.

  1. Shampoo with my Formulate shampoo. It's like a cowashing product, but has just enough suds in it so that my hair is left clean instead of greasy and weighed down. It's a win-win, so that I don't have all the damage of a regular shampoo but don't have to feel the ickiness of a cowash product. 
  2. Tip my head upside down and put conditioner on the bottom two thirds of my hair. Seriously, my roots don't like conditioner, and my shampoo is moisturizing enough that it does the job for them. I detangle with a wide toothed comb, which works better for my hair to get my curls to clump compared to using my fingers. 
  3. Rinse out the conditioner using the squish to condish method. If I don't have time, I just squish under the shower head.
  4. Head upside down again, I squish in a nickel sized amount of conditioner on the bottom third of my hair only. I use my regular conditioner as a leave in for this, since it seems to work just as well. I'm careful with the way that I squish, since it seems to really help my waves form. Seriously, play around with different ways of squishing conditioner into your hair to find what works best for you. And for the love of god, don't skip the squish.
  5. I squeeze out the excess water and plop my hair into a long sleeve cotten t-shirt. Then I get dresses and do makeup and make breakfast and all that good stuff. I usually plop for about 15 to 30 minutes.
  6. I apply about a handful of wavy gel, to the bottoms two thirds of my hair only. I use praying hands, then I squish lightly. I leave it alone for 10 minutes for the gel to set.
  7. I diffuse using the pixie method until my hair is 80 percent dry. Diffusing makes a big difference for me personally, because air drying makes my curls fall out before they're set. 
  8. Scrunch out the crunch and wham, you're done. 

Why do you use this specific wavy hair routine?

It's taken me a a long time to find something that works well for my hair. My roots look icky really easily, but also my ends look fried without the help of product. This routine has finally helped me get a sweet spot of not looking too product-y and also having defined, shiny waves. 

Overnight braids: quick and easy waves in the morning

Courtesy of Dawn Clemens, licensed hairstylist

Because I have short hair, I follow these steps:

  1. Detangle your hair and apply a herbal texture spray. 
  2. Divide hair into 2 parts and braid each side. Use pins for shorter strands. 
  3. Give your hair a light hairspray so that it will hold their shape
  4. Leave overnight - sleep tight!
  5. Undo the partition and gently comb your hair with your hands
  6. Seal the style with another light breeze of hairspray

Why do you use this specific wavy hair routine?

I use this particular method because it does not involve heating in any way, which can cause immense damage to the health of your hair. The waves also stay in place for longer using this method. 

Scrunch and diffuse: a classic wavy/curly hair approach

Courtesy of Monica Davis, licensed hairstylist

I have numerous clients with wavy hair and have wavy strands myself, so I have a super-tested routine! Here are the essential steps:

  1. Detangle the right way - you can detangle both dry and wet strands, using a wide-tooth detangling comb . If you prefer the wet method, don't forget to apply enough conditioner first. It will prevent your strands from stretching. 
  2. Wash and condition correctly - conditioning is necessary for every hair type and wavy hair isn't an exclusion. Let the conditioner sit every time you apply it. You should also use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month, especially if your hair is fine and accumulates product buildup quickly. It's also a good idea to use a masque every 10 days to give an extra moisture and nutrient shot. 
  3. Use a curl-enhancing jelly or mousse - if you want to define the waves and give them a more salon look, spread curl enhancing jelly or mousse over your wet hair and scrunch the strands with an old t-shirt. Hold the hair for 5-7 seconds every time you scrunch. 
  4. Airdry with a diffuser attachment - drying with a diffuser attachment is a bit less stressful for the strands and allows you to define waves better. 
  5. Shake & scrunch - once your hair is fully dry, you have to shake the roots with your fingers and scrunch the hair one more time to ensure there are no crunchy dried gel or mousse spots. They may look weird if you don't scrunch them. 

Why do you use this specific wavy hair routine?

I love this wavy hair routine for its simplicity and effectiveness. There are only 5 steps, but your hair will stay healthy and wavy no matter what!

Straighten and wave: the approach for curly-headed humans who'd like to try out waves

Courtesy of licensed hairstylist Deborah Jasinghe

I was born with incredibly curly hair, so trying to style it with waves or straighten it, was always a challenge. However, over the years of trial and error, I have perfected a wavy hair routine that will always be my go-to method. I find that a trick is to use your good old-fashioned hair straightener to achieve long-lasting waves. Which works on both naturally curly or straight hair.

  1. A good rinse. Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner.
  2. After towel drying my hair. I spray on a heat-protecting spray and run a good serum through the length of my hair. A light spray is enough. You do not need to cover your whole head. Dry your hair using a hairdryer.
  3. Using section clips divide your hair into two equal parts down the middle.
  4. Grabbing a small section of hair, start using the hair straightener as you normally would. Clamp down near your roots and slowly glide it down. As we all know, frizz is the enemy, I find that running the flat iron down your hair once helps contain the frizz.
  5. During your second round with the flat iron pull the straightener down the hair shaft as if you were going to straighten your hair as usual. But when you get to the part of your hair where you'd like the curl to begin (midsection provides a more beachy look), stop and pivot the straightener 180 degrees (a half-turn) away from your face and gently pull down straight through the rest of your hair. Repeat for each section of hair.
  6. Once I've waved my entire hair, I put a little bit of serum through my hair gently and using my fingers massage the roots, which will help break up the waves. Keep in mind that practice does make perfect. 

 Why do you use this specific wavy hair routine?

My hair is naturally quite curly and nearly impossible to wave with a curling iron. After a while, the waves would turn to straight hair. I found that this routine really helped keep the waves for longer.. Prepping the hair before you wave is the most important step to longer-lasting waves. 

Wanna learn more about the ins and outs of haircare? Here's what you should read next:

"My Hair Is Naturally Curly But Won't Curl Anymore"

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Flyaway Hairs: How To Tame 'Em

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Curly Hair & Humidity

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Curling Hard To Curl Hair: A How-To Guide

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