There’s no despair like unraveling your durag in the morning to a scene of disarray. It’s horrible. That’s why we put together a comprehensive catalog of expertise on how to get waves. If you follow this handy guide, you’ll never have to experience that sinking wave-less feeling again.
This is a deep dive into the accumulated knowledge and tools that, if you’ve ever had waves, you’ve probably gathered over the years from fathers, uncles, barbers, and YouTube wave gurus. We condensed it all down to the most essential techniques. Keep in mind that after a few weeks of waving you’ll enter into a new relationship with your hair. You’ll begin to understand it and develop a routine specific to your own scalp. It’s essential to customize the advice below to whatever works for you. Some hair textures are coarser and may take a little longer to develop your wave pattern, and some hair may be naturally dry and need to be moisturized more often. The most important thing is to listen to the waves! Stay diligent. Pay attention to the how your hair responds, and never let up on your regimen. The wave gods only reward the deserving.
The best way to start this process is with a clean slate. Start with fresh, impressionable hair follicles. We’re not saying go bald, but you’ll want to go to your nearest barber and request a really low, level-1 trim.
The most important, and continuously practiced, part of getting waves is brushing. Start with a softer brush to use during your low cut moments, and transition to a harder brush once it gets longer. Here’s a good medium brush if you’re just getting into the wave game.
This is one lots of guys get wrong. A little background first: Brushing can be hard on your follicles. So as you’re training your hair to lay down, you want to make sure that you are feeding and nourishing your scalp. Most old school wavers will swear by pomades—but most pomades feature a common ingredient known as petroleum, amongst other chemicals. While the petroleum does help keep your hair in place, it has been known to clog pores and stunt growth. So you want to find a more natural moisturizer that still has hold. Try products like WaveBuilder Natural Wave Pomade, and Shea Moisture Three Butters Styling Pomade.
Last thing: Make sure you don’t over-grease your hair by loading it up with too much moisturizer. Only apply moisturizer once or twice a week, maximum 3 times, depending on how dry your hair gets.
Another essential tool in the waving process is the the durag. A durag helps keep your hair in position overnight. And it locks in the moisture to hydrate your scalp. The world is a dangerous place. Don’t toss all your progress in the trash by not protecting your waves in unforgiving environments—especially during sleep. Truly dedicated guys always wear their durags. Only on very special occasions would you actually see their obsessively curated waves.
A satin durag helps retain moisture, and causes less breakage. Plus, if you’re going to encapsulate your head in any fabric for 6-8 hours every day, it might as well be satin. Also velvet durags, which are much harder to find, are having a style moment right now.