Fine Hair? How You Can Actually Get Wavy Hair That Lasts

If long, luscious waves have thus far seemed like a pipe dream to you with your fine hair, have no fear. You actually can get wavy hair that lasts; it just takes a few extra steps to achieve the soft, modern, wavy texture that’s so on-trend right now. Just follow these seven tips on how to make some waves.

1. Make sure you have the right cut

Girl is cutting her damaged hair with scissors

Make sure your hair cut is on point. |

The foundation to any great hair style — waves or no waves — is a great hair cut. Oftentimes, a significant amount of texture and perceived volume can be achieved with fine hair simply by the cut. Medium lengths are ideal for fine hair, and some variation of the lob (long bob) is a good look to consider. It hits just above the collarbone in the front and may be a bit shorter in the back to lend some extra volume and oomph. It’s no wonder the style is so popular, as it’s universally flattering and can be worn straight or wavy.

For the long-haired gals with fine hair, it’s best to add some layers to your locks; they will lend movement and dimension, which equals more volume. The layers also make it easier to achieve the desired wave factor.

2. Condition carefully

back of young female showering under refreshing water

Use the right conditioner. | Omelchenko

A volumizing conditioner should be in your hair care arsenal, but make sure to use it only moderately. For fine hair, conditioner can make hair extra silky but also extra slippery, creating nearly-impossible conditions for waves to take hold.

3. Blow dry strategically

woman drying her wavy hair

Blow dry your hair upside down. |

You can get your waves off to the right start simply by blow drying your hair strategically — meaning, upside down. Flipping your hair over is a tried and true way to add some oomph to those roots, boosting the volume and setting up a good foundation for the impending waves you want to create.

4. Make mousse your new best friend

woman adding mousse to her hand

Mousse is helpful. |

If you haven’t been formally introduced to styling mousse, make friends with this hair styling product immediately — it’s a must-have for waves, especially if you have fine hair. Not only does applying a volumizing mousse to damp hair give extra body and sheen, but the best formulas also provide a featherweight hold that’s effective without being crunchy or heavy. And don’t skimp on the product, either. A baseball-size mound of foamy mousse is generally the right amount for medium and long hair. You want your strands to be pretty liberally saturated.

5. Give your hair some braids and beauty sleep

Young girl fell asleep while reading on a sofa

Try braids for waves. |

There are several methods you can use to achieve wavy hair, and one of those ways happens while you sleep. It’s a good place to start if you’re trying out waves for the first time, as it’s easy and generally works like a charm — even with thin, fine hair. Simply blow dry your hair (upside down, of course) until it’s about 75% dry. Then, make pigtails on each side of your head and braid each side. Pull apart the braid slightly to avoid a crimped effect, then head to bed. When you wake up in the morning, undo the braids and rake through them a bit with your fingers. Instant waves!

6. Use the curl and clip method

hairdresser curling woman's hair

Break out the curling iron. |

Another way to achieve voluminous, curly waves is with a curling iron and a few clips. Your hair should be fully dry for this method. Take 1- to 2-inch sections of hair and mist each section with hair spray before wrapping around the barrel of a large curling iron. (The smaller barrel curling irons will work, too, but will yield tighter curls rather than looser waves.) After releasing the hair from the clamp of the curling iron, slide the iron out and clip the curl against your head with a metal clip or a bobby pin. This step is crucial, as you’ll more easily lose the curl if you release it when it’s still hot from the iron. Wait five to 15 minutes before taking out the clips and tousling your hair with your fingers. If the curls are wound a bit tighter than you prefer, all the better. They’ll loosen with gravity soon enough and what will remain is plenty of good wave factor.

7. Spritz on the hair spray

Lead hair stylist Stephanie Hayes uses Batiste Dry Shampoo backstage at the Charlotte Ronson Fall 2014 Presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Hair spray will keep your waves in place. | Cindy Ord/Getty Images

When you have fine hair, a finishing spray is essential if you want to maintain your waves after leaving your front door. However, hair spray can be tricky. The best product will provide hold with movement but without heaviness — and without making your hair into stiff, untouchable strands. A texturizing spray is also a good option to try with fine hair, as it adds texture and a bit of hold without any excess weight.

Now, go catch some waves!