Waves Are The Hottest Hairstyle Right Now, Here's How To Get Them

We're Calling it, August 1st is waves appreciation day.

Waves, dizzy-spinners, 360's — whatever you’d like to call them — are a defining aspect of the black community. For decades now, this hairstyle has been a symbol of elegance and technique that men and women strive to maintain. Pop culture has even gentrified wave-making materials so that they’ve become temporary fashion trends as well as stereotypes of people partaking in criminal endeavors. 

What exactly are waves? What are 360 waves? 

Waves — (noun) a hairstyle that comes from African culture consisting of hair laid in the appearance of rippling water

360 Waves — (noun) the “waves” hairstyle that extends in in each direction of the head from the crown of the scalp

Waves have been spotted on diligent African scalps for years, dating back to the late 1970s when a majority of people had afros. Afros lost their prominence in the 1980s and the fascination with hi-top fades were born. In the 1990s, some people began to cut their fades down near their scalp and the popularity of the wave hairstyle began to skyrocket. It reached it’s peak in the mid 2000s due to the popularity of du rags and wave caps — two accessories popularized by hip hop culture that aided in the creation of waves. Forums such as WaveBuilder and 360Waves.net sprung up around the web with people eager to showcase their wavy hair for instant recognition. Around this time, the term “”dizzy spinners” entered the hair lexicon — referring to how the circular waves could cause a person viewing them to become motion sick. Popularity of the style cooled off with the fascination of dreadlocks and braids increasing throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s but looks to be making a resurgence, noted by celebrities such as Travis $cott referencing the trend in a song.

How does one acquire waves?

There are many forums, products, and comprehensive guides online that claim to have the secret method to obtaining waves. They claim that it is next to impossible without a certain combination of items, done at the right time, every day. 

99% of the time, these are bogus. Here at Blacpire, we’ve compiled the one-stop tried and true guide to obtaining the waviest of hair. No matter your hair type or starting point, we guarantee that within a couple of days you’ll start seeing ripples. Waves are about consistency. We’ll explain more as we get to it. 

What You’ll Need

Soft Bristle Brush

There’s a lot of talk about which brand of brush to use (most people preferring Annie’s brushes) but this doesn’t matter. Find a brush that doesn’t scratch your scalp to the point that it becomes uncomfortable to use. Some forums swear that hard bristle brushes are the best thing to use but if your hair has a lot of dandruff, the brush will make it evident on the scalp. It can also disrupt waves that are forming. For this reason, we recommend a brush that’s soft and is compact enough to carry around on an every day basis.

Wave Cap or Du- Rag

There’s no other way to put it: sleeping is very hard on waves. While unconscious, your body moves around constantly, pressing your head against the surface you’re laying on. This can press the hair against the wave pattern that’s forming, disrupting the process. It can also make the hair look unkempt. Both the wave cap and du rag are protective devices that keep the hair from pressing against the sleeping surface. Either one is a good investment. With du rags, keep in mind that it’s tightness can determine if it stays on all night. Also, if it’s too tight it may be uncomfortable to wear. Wave caps are made of a nylon material similar to pantyhose that keeps it tight without needing to be tied. Some people prefer to wear two but one is just fine.

Water Spray Bottle

A good spray or two of water does wonders for waves to make them shine. Any cheap spray bottle will do.   

Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Creme

Ok, here’s the tricky part. Go to any forum online and you’ll find a million different product recommendations from people who have serious waves. Walk into the store and you’ll find a million different items that, besides Wavebuilder products, don’t say if they’ll give you waves or not. What item you put into your hair is entirely your preference. If you’re interested, I’ll tell you why I chose Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Creme

For starters, don’t use pomade. It’s thick, unmanageable, and easily noticeable in hair if not properly massaged into the scalp. Also, most pomades smell horrible. You’ll want something that’s light and creamy as well as pleasant smelling; most people will take a whiff of it whenever they’re close to you. If it’s good, they’ll compliment it. 

Cantu Shea Butter fits these requirements. It’s creamy and meant for every day use. It makes the hair smell amazing as well as moisturizing it, making it easier to form into waves. 

Here’s the overly complicated process of obtaining waves.

  1. Spray the hair with the water bottle then brush it in every direction for thirty seconds in the morning.

  2. Go about your day. Fly a kite, read a book, or parachute with kangaroos. It’ll be fine. Brush your hair whenever you get a chance (without looking stupid).

  3. Before bed, spray your hair with the water bottle again. Afterwards, take a generous amount of Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Cream and apply it to the hair. Immediately afterwards, brush for a couple of minutes in every direction that you want the waves to appear. 

  4. Put your du rag or wave cap on and go to sleep.

  5. Repeat steps 1–4 until you look into the mirror and have to grip the sink for balance.

It’s that easy. Don’t get discouraged when after a couple of days you don’t see the results. It takes a little while for the hair to adjust to the new pattern. When it does, you’ll never want to wear a hat again.

The upkeep on waves is perhaps the best part of the entire process. Wavy hair tends to look great for far longer than hair without waves after getting a haircut. We’re talking weeks, maybe even a month or two. It’s because the pattern makes the hair grow into the waves. With you constantly feeding it water and conditioner it will look dark and healthy. When you finally do step back into the barber’s chair, make sure to tell them to cut with the grain, never against. This means that the barber cuts the hair in the direction that it grows to accentuate the waves. Cutting against the grain can harm the wave pattern that has formed.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound like too much work. Waves are an elegant style that takes only a few days of work to establish, but produces a lifetime of results. Follow this easy 5 step guide and your hair will require a surfboard to navigate in no time.