woman with finger waves hairstyle

Vintage Hairstyles: How to Do Finger Waves Hairstyle

October 9th, 2021

Beauty Blog

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woman with finger waves hairstyle

Andrey Kiselev – stock.adobe.com

It’s funny how retro styles come back as trendy new looks decades later. It’s 2021, and in recent years celebrities like Zendaya, Rihanna, Yara Shahidi and Beyoncé have brought back finger waves. Finger waves were first popular in the 1920s and have a reputation for being difficult to create for even the most experienced hair stylists.

What Are Finger Waves?

Finger waves are a hairstyle that is currently most popular among Black and Brown women. It involves shaping the hair into flat “S-shaped” waves, most often against the scalp. These waves create a sophisticated and dynamic look that can elevate even the most casual outfit. People can often wear them for multiple days without restyling, as long as they are properly maintained with a satin scarf or bonnet. Let’s break down this style into a few easy steps so even beginner stylists can master it.

finger waves hairstyle

nikitaat – stock.adobe.com

Step-by-Step Tutorial

1. Wet Your Hair

Creating perfectly smooth finger waves in hair takes skill, patience, and a lot of water and hair products. Simply put, finger waves are best placed in freshly washed hair. The water saturation from a fresh wash helps you to manipulate the hair more easily. Don’t be afraid to add more water if you notice the hair drying out—your hair will be easier to style!

2. Use Appropriate Products

After fully saturating the hair with water, you will need to apply a combination of mousse and hair gel. Make sure your mousse and hair gel work well together; there’s nothing worse than combining two hair products that create flakes when you mix them together. Once you’re sure you have compatible products, don’t be afraid to apply them liberally. The mousse serves to moisturize your hair and develop a soft hold, while the gel does more of the heavy duty holding to keep the style in place.

3. Part Your Hair

Now that you’ve applied the appropriate products, it’s time to install the finger waves. You’ll need a fine toothed rattail comb to shape the hair into perfect waves. Before you start, make sure you choose where to part your hair. Most classic finger wave styles have a side part. After parting the hair, you’re ready to start placing finger waves.

4. Style Your Hair

Place your finger on the hair right near the part. In a continuous motion, use the rattail comb to pull the hair forward and then back, creating a wave or “C shape. Continue styling the hair by moving your finger to hold this wave in place while you move down the hair to place a wave in the opposite direction. This hair should resemble an “S” shape. Repeat this process until you have created as many finger waves as you want, then carefully place duckbill clips between waves to hold the hair in place.

5. Use Heat To Set The Style

Now that you’re done putting in finger waves, they need to be set. The client should sit under a hooded hair dryer set on high heat to dry the hair and successfully set the style. Once completely dried, the hair should be shiny and stay in place.

Become a Licensed Cosmetologist

Whether you’re styling finger waves for Halloween or for an elegant red carpet event, these straightforward steps will help you finish them with ease. If you’re interested in earning a cosmetology license to learn how to complete many other hair styles and services, inquire about Tricoci University of Beauty Culture’s cosmetology programs.

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