If there’s one Afro-American hairstyle that truly captures the imagination, it’s the iconic 360° waves. For those with short, curly hair, type 3 or 4, it’s a style statement that turns heads! However, anyone who has ever tried to achieve this look knows the harsh truth: it’s not as easy as it seems.
How can one successfully create 360° waves? Once the proper technique is learned, it may become much less complicated than anticipated. In this article, all the tips and tricks for achieving stunning 360° waves will be revealed!
The ultimate technique to achieve 360 waves
The secret to having perfectly defined circular waves lies in the application. Indeed, when one wholeheartedly commits and pays attention to the details, there’s no reason for failure. That’s right! Even with the most stubborn hair, a proper brushing method guarantees success.
Here is our step-by-step guide to creating 360° waves, to be followed to the letter!
Step One: The Right Length
Achieving proper waves is impossible if your hair length is not suitable! Far from being a trivial factor, this point can be crucial for the rest of the process.
Indeed, the two extremes can adversely affect your hairstyle:
- On the one hand, if the hair is too short, it will not hold in place and will appear more bristly
- On the other hand, if it’s too long, aligning them into multiple rows of waves will be more challenging.
As you can see, a preliminary visit to the barber is not to be dismissed. They will know how to target the ideal length for your wavy look.
That said, one can also cut their hair at home. If you opt for the latter option, it is recommended to set the trimmer to 0.8 cm.
The style we particularly recommend is the fade at the temples and nape. It’s a classic look for showcasing waves that gradually thin out from front to back until they disappear, as if washing ashore.
Step 2: Prepare your cut properly
Before frantically brushing your hair to achieve waves, it’s essential to set the stage. While it’s relatively simple to obtain the desired shape for well-defined curls, it’s not as straightforward with curly hair. Therefore, it’s best to stack the odds in your favor. To do this, we advise taking care of your hair.
First and foremost, ensure that you address any hair or scalp issues before focusing on the aesthetic aspect. We tend to use many products to fix hair in place, so it’s better to start with a healthy base. Otherwise, this may exacerbate any existing dandruff or hair loss problems.
Next, we recommend moisturizing your hair as much as possible. It won’t be possible to recreate your dream haircut on damaged or dry hair. As a result, we advise working on this before expecting the desired results.
On the day itself, opt for shampoos and conditioners specifically for curly hair. The latter is particularly beneficial, even if it’s a standard type: the essential thing is that it delivers good results for your hair. However, some products are specially designed for achieving waves. You can optionally purchase these.
We will discuss this point more extensively further down.
To finish your preparation, keep your hair damp and arm yourself with a good hairbrush. The bristle stiffness will mainly depend on the length and the date of your last haircut.
Step Three: It’s all in the execution
So, how should one go about it? In reality, you simply need the right technique. Brush damp hair in a concentric manner, starting from the apex.
Don’t worry; we’ll explain.
Starting from the vertex, which is the highest point on your head, brush your hair downward while ensuring that you follow its natural curves. That is, brush at least 5 times (typically between 15 and 20 brush strokes, or 15 to 30 minutes):
- At the front, move towards the forehead
- On the sides, descend towards the temples and ears
- And at the back, go all the way down along the occiput towards the nape.
Often, it’s pointed out that the process isn’t as effective for the backside of the hair. In fact, this is mainly due to the brushing not being entirely uniform across the entire scalp. Logically, considerable arm strength is required to brush the back part thoroughly. Our advice is to dedicate a little more time to this area than the rest.
Similarly, the thicker your hair, the longer it will take to tame. That’s why it’s always suggested to start just after cutting your hair, so you don’t struggle too much initially to achieve waves.
When will you see the fruits of your hard work? You’ll need to be patient: it will take 3 to 6 weeks for your beautiful waves to be fully formed. The duration varies depending on your hair type and, most importantly, your perseverance!
Must-have tips to keep your waves intact
Have you been sticking to the right brushing technique, but your waves still aren’t convincing enough? Well, we’ve got more to tell you!
Some methods optimize the final result without any additional headache. They are small bonuses that will clearly improve your 360° waves haircut. You just have to reproduce them correctly.
1. The Durag
A little star of African-American culture, the durag is an essential accessory if you want to achieve waves and a wavy haircut worthy of celebrities. This piece of fabric, intimately linked to the culture and struggle of this community, produces stunning results on hair.
It’s recommended to put it on just before going to bed. In this way, it prevents friction with the pillow that could give you frizzy hair upon waking up. Wrap it well around your head in a way that securely holds the waves in place.
The durag is of great help to those who don’t have well-defined curls, either too straight or too kinky. It’s the extra boost needed to maintain the shape of the waves all around.
A durag can be made from various materials. The most commonly used are satin or polyester, spandex, and more rarely velvet, which results in smooth and shiny hair. However, if you don’t have one, you can achieve waves using a soft cap or towel.
2. Maintenance of waves
As explained earlier, afro haircuts require preparation over long periods of time. It’s not something that can be accomplished overnight.
Similarly, after adopting this hairstyle, you’ll need to change your haircare habits. Regular haircuts are necessary; don’t let your hair grow for more than a month. Otherwise, continuing is pointless, as the length won’t be adequate. To achieve waves, follow the direction of the brushing when cutting your hair to avoid confusion.
On the other hand, cutting your hair too frequently can disrupt your routine. Since your hair will barely have time to take shape before being cut, the haircut won’t turn out as desired. Wait at least 2 weeks before trimming.
It can’t be stressed enough: moisturize your hair! Avoid hair care products that dry out your hair, as this only damages it. This will greatly affect the shine and consistency of your waves.
Also, don’t wash your hair too frequently. Limit shampoo use to less than once a week. Instead, opt for repeated rinses.
Lastly, don’t even think about combing your hair differently, let alone changing your style. If you take this risk, you’re guaranteed to start over. Continuously and imperatively brush in the same direction!
3. The wolf method, or Wolfing
Lastly, we present a professional technique to achieve guaranteed sublime waves: the Wolfing method. It’s ideal for achieving the coveted 360° wave hairstyle!
On the surface, it’s nothing extraordinary, but when applied correctly, the difference will be noticeable.
What exactly does it involve? First, let your hair grow in length and volume. Then, cut it and stop brushing altogether. Regardless of whether it gets tangled or becomes untamable, the secret element that will disrupt the process is the famous durag!
Tie it around your hair and leave it in place for the upcoming weeks. Do this even before starting to form the waves to prepare your hair for the rest of the process.
After some time, start brushing your hair. You’ll find that it’s much easier after this preparation. As a bonus, the waves will truly extend 360° without any interruption.
It’s quite impressive what can be done with a durag, right?
Which products keep the 360° waves as long as possible?
The classic approach yields excellent waves, but it’s admittedly laborious. To speed up the process and maintain these precious waves, you need to use the right cosmetic products.
Here’s our selection of must-haves for achieving successful waves and wavy hair:
- Shampoos: preferably for curly hair, or even better, special afro waves. The essential thing is that it’s nourishing and hydrating. Protein shampoos are very popular.
- Conditioner: just as important as shampoo, if not more! Again, products must be suitable. Following the co-washing method, you can skip shampoo and wash exclusively with conditioner. The goal is to preserve the beneficial essential oils in your hair. However, it’s recommended to compensate by rinsing your hair once a day.
- Moisturizing lotions: especially useful for dry or damaged hair. However, they aren’t mandatory! Except perhaps for those containing shea butter or essential oils.
- Pomade: greasy creams definitely fix your waves in place. To help it penetrate deeply, wrap a warm, damp towel around your head. Don’t forget to apply more to the thickest areas. Use pomades only at the beginning of your journey and limit their use as much as possible. Allow your hair’s natural grease to take over!
Warning: some practices to avoid!
Now that you know what to do to achieve beautiful 360° waves, it’s essential to mention what you absolutely shouldn’t do. A single misstep can cause all your previous efforts to crumble, so read this section carefully.
Here’s what not to do to maintain your majestic wavy hair:
- Do not use a perm to curl your hair. This can permanently damage or weaken your hair.
- Don’t brush your hair when it’s dry; instead, arrange it with your hands.
- Avoid applying too many products to your hair. Over-moisturizing can irritate your scalp or cause inflammation.
We are coming to the end of our little guide to getting 360° waves. We know it’s a lot of information to take in at once, but the more you practice, the easier it will be to get waves!
The key is to continue to maintain your wavy haircut, as we explained above. This can take a considerable amount of time, and a lot of devotion, but you can’t say we didn’t warn you. However, with the valuable information we’ve shared with you, you’re well on your way to a successful wavy afro haircut!
And if your are looking for a fresh and stylish haircut to upgrade your look? Look no further! We’ve got just the right resource for you: check out this amazing post featuring the Top 100 Black Men Haircuts.
This comprehensive guide showcases the latest trends and timeless classics in black men’s hairstyles, providing a fantastic array of options for every taste and preference. Whether you’re into fades, afros, dreadlocks, or something else entirely, you’ll find endless inspiration and the perfect haircut to suit your unique style.