Soft and sexy waves are easy to achieve with just a round brush and your blow dryer – no heat tools required! That said, if you’re after tighter or more defined curls, you’ll get better results with a curling iron. This technique will create a loose, flowing wave with lots of volume and movement. The barrel of your brush acts like a roller and your blow dryer provides plenty of heat to set the wave.
For this style, you will need a narrow round brush. I used a 1.5” thermal styling brush by Sam Villa. (If you aren’t familiar with Sam Villa, he’s an incredible hairdresser and educator, truly a “rock star” of our industry, and his line of tools is fantastic!) The larger the barrel, the looser the wave pattern, so try a 1” brush if you want more curl. I prefer thermal brushes with a ceramic barrel because they conduct heat evenly and reduce static and frizz.
Learn how to create loose waves using a round brush and blow dryer after the jump.
Round Brush Waves
For this style, you will need:
1” or 1.5” round brush (I used Sam Villa 1.5” Thermal Styling Brush)
Blow dryer (I used Sam Villa E-T.C. Professional Ionic Blowdryer)
A large clip or clips (I used and highly recommend Colortrak Croc Clips)
Blow dry lotion or prep product with heat protection (I used Umberto Blow Dry Lotion)
Hairspray (I used Paul Mitchell Express Dry Stay Strong Hairspray)
Optional: pin curl clips
Apply your blow dry lotion or prep to damp hair.
It’s easiest to start at the nape and work your way up so section the top away. A good rule of thumb is to never have your sections wider than your brush diameter, or 1.5” in my case. Make the sections smaller, if you have lots of thick, heavy hair.
Here’s the technique, that you will do for all sections working up to the top of your head:
Blow dry your hair using the round brush and dryer using a big c-shaped movement for volume.
When the strand is dry, sweep it out again and roll it up around the brush. Clear as mud? The initial movement is the same as though you’re just drying your hair with a round brush but instead of dropping the section when you reach the ends, twirl the brush up toward your head to wind the hair around the barrel. Don’t overthink it.
Now you have two choices: wait for it to cool or hit it with the cold shot button on your dryer. The longer you let it cool, the better your waves will hold. Visit this post to learn more about why allowing your hair to cool sets the curl.
Once it’s cooled, unwind it while twirling the brush and spray with hairspray.
Optionally, if you have a bit more time and want a stronger wave, try a round brush set. After step 2, release the curl from the brush and then quickly roll it up using your fingers. Clip to the scalp with a pin curl clip or two, apply hairspray, and allow it to cool completely. Remove the clips and run your fingers through your hair to break up the waves, if necessary. The full round brush set tutorial can be found here.