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Wavy Hair Routine: How to Style and Care for Your Waves

by @Author_Heather
Sep 07, 2022


Does being wavy-haired really mean having the best of both worlds?

Wavy hair generally has more volume than straight hair and is easier to style than curly hair. However, wavy-haired gals often focus their styling on making their hair either straight or curly, instead of enhancing the natural waves that they already have.

I, for one, have always thought I had straight hair. But even with a short haircut, my bangs and the tips of my hair tend to curl. Normally, I would straighten my hair using a flat iron, but lately, I’ve been learning to embrace my fine wavy hair.

I’ll let you in on my discoveries by discussing the steps in a wavy hair routine. But first, let’s talk about what wavy hair is.

Wavy hair vs curly hair

Stylist Andre Walker’s famous hair typing system has four categories: Type 1 (straight hair), Type 2 (wavy hair), Type 3 (curly hair), and Type 4 (kinky hair). Within these categories, differences in coarseness and the size of one’s curls are indicated by letter sub-classes. For example, for wavy hair, Type 2A has the widest curl size and pattern while Type 2C has the smallest.

Wavy hair is easily differentiated from straight hair because of its loose, S-shaped curls. Meanwhile, curly hair is characterized by a “round S” shape.

So, if wavy hair is similar to curly hair, can you just adopt a curly hair routine?

Can a wavy-haired person use the “curly girl method”?

Expert Lorraine Massey helps curly-haired men and women get healthier and more defined hair by recommending products and practices to use and avoid. Sulfates, silicones, and excessive heat styling are no-nos in the curly girl method. Meanwhile, cleansing and conditioning are encouraged. Nonetheless, you are free to modify the routine depending on your curl type and personal preferences or needs.

Below is a version of the popular curly hair routine that suits wavy hair.

Wavy hair routine steps

1. Cleanse hair with sulfate-free shampoo.

Greasy and flaky hair? Product buildup could be the culprit. Start your wavy hair care routine by washing your curls with a clarifying shampoo. Massage the shampoo into your hair for about 60 seconds for best results. As I tend to use a lot of products, I like clarify my hair once a month. As a general rule, use clarifying shampoo whenever you feel that your hair needs some deep cleaning.

Some wavy-haired folks like to co-wash (i.e., wash with conditioner only) after their initial deep cleanse. But if your hair is prone to greasiness, co-washing might not be for you. Instead, you can use a good sulfate-free shampoo every few days.

2. Detangle with conditioner.

I used to lose so much hair after detangling with a comb after a shower. I learned the hard way that the best time for detangling is when your hair is wet and conditioned.

First, scrunch a handful of conditioner through your strands until they’re fully saturated. Afterwards, detangle knots with a wide-toothed comb or with your fingers. Remember to be gentle because wet hair is susceptible to breakage. Don’t rinse off all your conditioner if your hair is very dry. But if you have fine wavy hair and want volume, make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Bonus tip: use curl conditioner for strengthening your hair and defining your curls.

3. Style your hair with lightweight products.

Waves are easily weighed down, so make sure to use products that contain less than five or no oils and butters at all. A lightweight gel or a mousse with light to moderate hold is perfect for styling your waves. Apply your gel or mousse of choice on damp hair from the roots to the tips.

4. Air-dry your hair or use the “cup and hover” method.

There are two ways to dry your wavy hair. If you have time to spare, you can scrunch excess water with a cotton T-shirt and air-dry it. If you’re pressed for time, you can use the cup-and-hover diffusing method. Begin by putting on hair primer and then hovering your hairdryer’s diffuser near your roots. Use your hand to cup your hair and lift it up to the diffuser. Remember to set your dryer’s heat to the lowest setting. The cup and hover method fits nicely into a fine wavy hair routine because it makes your curls more voluminous.

5. Moisturize with a hair mask.

For dull or frizzy strands, incorporating a silicone-free hair mask into your wavy hair routine is a must. Apply your hair mask once a week and increase or decrease the frequency as needed. Besides retaining moisture into your strands, hair masks will help you fight breakage.


Creating the perfect hair care routine starts with loving and understanding your hair type, whether straight, wavy, or curly. A basic wavy hair routine borrows several pointers from the curly hair routine. It begins with cleansing to rid the hair of excess product, and is followed by detangling and styling. Dry wavy hair using a diffuser or leave it to air-dry. Finally, use a hair mask to moisturize and define your waves. As much as possible, stay away from sulfates, silicones, and heat styling.

Do you have favorite wavy hair products? Add your reviews below!

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