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Making Waves—Fingerwaves

Woman with platinum blonde hair in fingerwaves style.

Fingerwaves are a glamorous look that is timeless. It’s perfect for that special occasion: a wedding, costume party, or even a night out on the town. The hairstyle that was popular from the 1920s through the 1940s has been making a comeback in recent years, with some modern twists to update this classic look.

Fingerwaves can be difficult at first but, once you get the waving motion with your comb and fingers, you’ll be fingerwaving like a champ in no time. There are countless tutorials out there on this look which can be achieved with either a wet set—the old fashioned way, using gel and setting lotion—or with a hard set, which involves a curling iron. I’m going to explain how to achieve this look with a curling iron, which is a bit quicker because you don’t have to wait for the hair to dry.

  • Start with a clean side part that starts behind the arch of the eyebrow. Section ear to ear, creating two side panels.
  • Curl the hair vertically in sections no wider than the barrel of your curling iron, but roughly twice as tall.
  • Alternate curling towards the face and away from the face with every row—this encourages the hair into that S-shape pattern.
  • Use a workable hairspray as you curl, such as Air Control.
  • Curl the rest of the hair in the same way, continuing to alternate the direction of the curl.
  • Hard set the curls and allow them to cool completely.
  • Now use a Mason Pearson brush to brush out the curls. Don’t worry about brushing away the curls; they will stay. You want to make sure the hair is thoroughly detangled, otherwise, it will be difficult to form your waves.
  • Using your comb, begin carving your c-shape wave in whatever direction the hair wants to go. Take your time and be patient. A weaving comb can be helpful here.
  • Use the metal end to drag the hair into a more dramatic “C” shape.
  • When you have the wave you desire, use a duckbill clip to hold it in place. Between each wave there is a ridge, use your fingers to hold the ridge, and move on to the next wave, which will be a c-shape in the opposite direction.
  • Move downward from the parting until you have completed the side panel and repeat on the other side of parting.
  • Use a strong hairspray like Control Force to hold your style into place.
  • I like to use the barrel of my curling iron on either side of the ridge to accentuate it and lock it into place.
  • When the hair has cooled completely, give it one last mist with Brilliant Spray on Shine for a nice glossy finish.

Now you have a beautiful fingerwave style!