How to Style Your Wavy Hair

Wavy hair has a mind of its own and can be challenging to manage or style, but with the right styling tips and techniques, you will experience good hair days. 

Wavy hair is extremely frizz-prone and battles with dryness but not as much as the curly hair group. You could wake up with almost straight hair one day and wavy the next for looser wavy hair types. Wavy hair has its perks, and with proper styling, you’ll get the best out of it.

How to Style Wavy Hair; Step by Step Process

Styling wavy hair
Instagram / @themanestylers

If the frizz, dryness, and tangling are tamed, that’s the key to good hair days, and that would require a tailored styling technique and using the right product. 

But, most importantly, figuring out your hair porosity and what type your hair falls into propels you in the right direction to better care for your hair and what it needs. 

Healthy hair gives great results after styling. Listed below are some of the best tips in a step-by-step manner for styling your beautiful wavy hair texture.

1. Wash with a Sulfate free shampoo

Wavy hair products
Instagram / @sheamoisture

Great hair begins in the shower; start by washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo; a sulfate-containing shampoo is overly stripping of the hair’s natural oils as it cleanses, which further enhances the dryness issue wavy hair already has due to the oval-shaped hair follicle makes it harder for oil and sebum to travel down the shaft.

Switching to a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo does as the name says; it cleanses and moisturizes the hair by enabling it to retain its oils. The sulfate-free shampoo contains milder surfactants which are kinder to the scalp as they cleanse. Also, incorporate a monthly clarifying treatment to get the hair rid of excess oils, dirt, and buildup.

The shampoo used is important, but the manner of application likewise matters. Avoid aggressively rubbing and scrubbing hair; rather, use your fingertips to move back and forth; this would prevent tangling and hair breakage. When shampooing, your essential focus should be at the root of your hair.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to wash your hair more frequently, and alternate your shampoo with a co-wash. A co-wash is a cleansing conditioner that functions to cleanse and condition simultaneously. As I Am, co-wash works well and doesn’t leave the hair weighed down and greasy.

2. Detangle Thoroughly

The remedy for dryness is hydration, giving your hair the moisture it needs, and a conditioner not only evens out the negative charges from the shampooing process but it also moisturizes the hair and provides slip that makes detangling so much easier, prevents split ends and tangling.

Detangle conditioned hair using a wide tooth comb or fingers; using a brush isn’t advisable because the hair is fragile when wet; brushing adds more tension in contrast with a wide tooth comb which spaces allow for less tension. To thoroughly detangle hair, work in sections, starting at the tips and working your way upwards.

If you have a habit of running your hands, brush, or comb through your hair when it is dry, that disrupts the formed curl clumps and makes your hair a mass of frizz. Give Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Conditioner a try; it is a good option.

3. Squish to Condition

If you come across the term S2C what that means is squish to condition; it is a technique to get more water into the curls. It involves scooping water into your palms and cupping conditioned curls and giving them a good squeeze; this should produce a squelching sound; if it doesn’t, you might need to go in with more conditioner. 

After the squish to condish, give your hair a good rinse.

4. Squeeze out Excess Water with a Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel
Instagram / @volobeauty

Don’t rub your hair dry, and be gentler; aggressively rubbing your hair strands would result in breakage, tangles, and frizz, literally everything you’ve been trying to avoid all along, especially using a terry cloth towel on it. 

Using smooth cotton fabric, an old t-shirt works; this softer clothing reduces tension on the hair preventing hair breakage, tangles, and frizz. A microfiber towel is a great alternative. Not only does it have a greater water absorption ability, but it is also lint-free. 

Scrunch your hair dry, bending over or to the side; ending over helps you reach the hair more easily, and it also lifts the hair away from the scalp, so it doesn’t dry flat to it and gives a little more volume at the roots.

5. Apply Styling Products

For applying styling products, layering helps; apply a gel or cream to soaking wet hair and plop or apply the products to damp hair. Try out both, and figure out what works best for you. 

There are two known methods for applying styling products, the LCO method and the LOC method; both signify the processes for applying and layering products. For the LCO, leave-in conditioner comes first, followed by cream and seal in the moisture with oil, and for the LOC method, leave-in, oil, and cream. 

Still in the bending position, with the head upside down, scrunch in a tablespoon-sized amount of leave-in conditioner from the mid-lengths to the tips of the hair and cream. 

I know using gel can be scary, but it is the number one frizz fighter and provides a better hold; you can emulsify your gel with water and then scrunch it into your hair, ideally in the upside-down position. Over time, I realized the product doesn’t make all the difference; the styling technique does.

There are various techniques for applying your styling products, the raking method, the praying hand technique, super soaker technique; this involves scrunching and raking the products in, and after the application, squishing each curl section. 

And a recently found and effective pulsing technique allows you to get water and product into your hair effectively and create beautiful, large clumps. For this technique, take a small amount of the styling products, rub your hands together while still bending, and give your hair a good squeeze moving downwards.

When selecting and purchasing your styling products, base it on your hair porosity– how well your hair would absorb and retain this moisture.

6. Plop For 10-15 minutes

Plopping helps with great definition; many curly hair folks swear by it, and some claim it doesn’t do it for them, but it is well worth giving a shot. 

Use softer clothing as your plopping device, then lay it on a surface convenient for you, flip your hair forward and drape the plopping device over your head, and secure it with a knot at the front.

7. Air Dry or Diffuse

Using a diffuser on curly hair
Instagram / @vie.kuwait

After plopping, you could either fully air dry or diffuse. The key to a successful air drying process is movement and ventilation to create and allow airspace. You could finish up your air drying process with a diffuser or not. 

To diffuse for more volume and definition, hover the diffuser, which is a blow dryer attachment directed at the root for a couple of seconds and make some head movement, flipping side to side, swaying while yet directing the diffuser.

Scoop a section of hair into the diffuser bowl, turn it on and let it sit on the scalp for a few seconds; off, let it down and do the same for the rest of the section.


SOTC means to scrunch out the crunch. The crunch is that crispy feeling the gel leaves behind, a cast sort off, and to scrunch the cast, use oils, or serums, scoop the curls in your palms and wrap upward, giving the hair a good squeeze; keep at it until you no longer feel the cast.

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