4 Ways to Make Soft Waves in Your Hair With & Without Heat

With straight and curly hair being two extremes, many attempt to achieve a subtler, more muted look by making soft waves in their hair. Waves are fairly versatile – you can keep them smooth and glossy for a formal look, shake them out for a more casual, tousled look, or scrunch them up for a beachy look.

Adding instant grace, texture and character to dull, limp hair, soft waves look like an effortless style to pull off, and can in fact be achieved quite easily by following a few tried and tested methods.


  • 1

    Soft Waves in Hair with Curling Iron

    -Start with freshly washed hair – generously apply a volumizer all over your hair and then proceed to blow dry it until there is no dampness left.

    -Next, take one-inch sections of your hair (one at a time), spray them with hairspray or setting solution, and twist them with your fingers (until they are twisted nearly up until the roots).

    -Then wrap these twisted sections around the barrel of a large curling iron (do not open the clamp), hold them there for 10-12 seconds, and then slowly slide the iron out of the waved strand.

    -Repeat this until all your hair has been waved.

    -To finish, rub smoothing serum through your waves, and lightly comb them through with your fingers to loosen them up a little.

    -If you don’t happen to have a curling iron, hot rollers will do the trick too. You’ll need to use more or less the same procedure as with the curling iron – just make sure you use large rollers (to create looser, softer waves).

    Woman using curling iron
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    Soft Waves in Hair without Heat

    Making soft waves doesn’t mean you need to singe your hair and subject it to damaging heat treatments; certain no-heat methods work equally well:

    -Braids are an excellent way to make soft waves in your hair; simply wash your hair, let it dry until it is damp, and then, without allowing it to dry fully, plait it into loose braids.

    -This is best done right before sleeping, so the braids can be left to dry overnight. In the morning, carefully unbraid your hair, and run your fingers through it gently (you can also apply a smoothing serum while doing this). Finish it all off with a spritz of extra hold hairspray.

    -Twists are yet another no-heat method for making soft waves. Divide damp hair into 2 sections (or 4 if your hair happens to be very thick), and twist them into tight coils. Allow them to air dry that way, and re-twist them after regular intervals to ensure that they stay coiled. Once they are dry, gently unravel them with your fingers, and use a smoothing serum to compete the look.

    Woman twisting hair
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    General Tips for Soft Waves in Hair

    - To keep your hair looking and feeling soft, make sure you treat yourself to regular moisturizing hair treatments and masks.
    -Use shampoos and conditioners with high moisture content.
    -Do not use a brush or comb on wavy hair – this will result in frizz and roughness.
    -Instead of brushing or combing, try loosening the waves gently by running your fingers through them.

    Woman with wavy hair

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