Celebrities favor tousled, wavy haircuts for the nonchalant, I-woke-up-this-way vibe they create on the red carpet. But what we don’t see in paparazzi photographs is the army it took to create said waves. From haircut to blowout to curling iron to carefully applied product, the most coveted wavy hairstyles are often the most contrived.
Achieving perfect waves doesn’t have to be hard. It all comes down to your haircut. Too many layers can make the hair look too round and too voluminous (and in turn make it hard to manage), while none at all can make it appear boxy. The key is knowing what cut is right for this hair type—and then you, too, will have a red carpet-worthy style.
Mechanics of a Wavy Haircut
Cutting naturally wavy hair has its set of challenges. “The biggest concerns for women with this hair type are two-fold: don’t make my hair look like a mushroom and cut it in a way that makes it easy to style,” says Rene Sera, co-owner of New York City’s Space Salon. Layers are important to ward off a “mushroom” or “rounded” effect, but how they’re cut and where they’re placed can make or break your style.
When adding layers, your stylist needs to account for spring—they can’t be too short or too numerous. You also want to ensure they’re placed throughout the interior and exterior of the hair, which helps create that desired draping effect. The experts recommend cutting with scissors, while tools like razors should be used only to add softness and definition.
Haircuts for Long, Wavy Hair
For women with hair that falls way below the shoulders, your most flattering cut is long, graduated layers with a side-angled or sweeping bang. “Long layers on this length allow the wave to release itself and give swing and movement to the hair,” says Sera. A few face-framing pieces are also an option to keep the hair from crowding or even elongating your features.
Haircuts for Shoulder-Length, Wavy Hair
Like long hair, medium or shoulder length looks best with long layers. “The layers need to be cut throughout the interior of the hair and framed around the face,” says celebrity stylist Gina Bertolotti. When face-framing, layers should fall from the cheekbones to the collarbone. Avoid blunt or bob styles with this length, otherwise, adds Bertolotti, “The bottom gets too heavy and the hair will take on a triangular effect.”
Haircuts for Short, Wavy Hair
Short waves, or hair that’s ear to chin length, should opt for a one-length cut. “Unlike long or medium hair, too many layers will make it look rounded,” says Bertolotti. “In this case, you need the weight of the hair to keep it from springing up,” she adds. Adding a long bang is possible (it should start at the cheekbone and no shorter) and texturizing the ends to add softness is also an option.
Updos for Wavy Hair
As for updos, the experts agree that a loose chignon with a few wavy pieces falling around the face, and a half-up half-down style are head turners. “These two styles don’t disguise or hide the wave, but actually appreciate it and show it off,” says Bertolotti.
What is your favorite hairstyle that makes you feel beautiful? Send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and show it off.
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