How to Create Waves in Medium Length Hair

Kate Winslet rocks the waves at the Orange British Academy Film Awards 2010.

Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Medium-length hair works for most face shapes if you work it right, but it can go so wrong. Straight, thin hair and kinky, curly locks need a little coaxing to take on dangerous curves and spectacular waves. Celeb stylist Jimmy Paul of NYC's Bumble and Bumble told "Harper's Bazaar" that a layered cut adds movement to wavy hair and keeps it looking fresh and modern. His suggestion -- layer at mid-cheekbone length, chin and between the collarbone and breast line. Add a few basic tools and techniques to wave goodbye to flat, floppy, frizzy or flyaway hair and ride waves that turn every eye in your direction.


Love that tousled, shake-your-head-and-go look a la Kyra Sedgwick's red carpet SAG do? Spritz dry hair with leave-in conditioner to dampen it and protect the hair cuticle from damage. Roll 2-inch sections of your hair on hot rollers starting from the ends. Keep the rollers 2 to 3 inches from your scalp to encourage long, loose curls that bounce around your shoulders. Give your head a spritz with setting lotion and leave the curlers in for about five minutes. Unroll gently and give your head the upside-down shake-shake-shake to loosen up and separate the curls. Finish up with shine spray to gleam your glam waves.


Actress Zoe Soldana rocked shoulder-length waves at Audi's 2011 Golden Globes party. You can rock the same look with a blow dryer and a curling iron. Work a dollop of styling mousse through wet hair. Blow your hair dry, using your fingers to separate and fluff it. Dry the roots first, then move down to the middle and the ends. Use a diffuser if your hair has a tendency to frizz out. Curl your hair with a medium curling iron, working in small sections. Start wrapping each curl at the end, hold the barrel vertically next to your head. Wrap each section halfway up to your head. Hold for about five seconds, then unwind the hair from the barrel. Dip your fingers in hair wax, and lightly pinch the ends of each curl to keep it from falling apart. Finish up with a spritz of shine spray at the middle and ends of your hair and an all-over mist of hair spray to hold the whole look together.


Love the look but not the labor? You can add lots of bouncy waves to your medium-length hair with nothing but hairstyling gel and your fingers. For 1940s-style glam, apply gel to the middle length of dry hair. While it's still damp and tacky, spread your fingers wide and press them against your head where you want waves. Pull your fingers together, catching hair between them. Hold for a count of 20 and release. Move your hand and repeat with another section of hair until you've got all the glossy finger-waves your little heart desires.


For looser, tumbled waves, pull out a 2-inch section of hair and smooth gel along its length from about the middle of the strand. Wrap it around your index finger, starting an inch or two from your scalp. Twist your finger slightly to tighten your hair and hold for about 20 seconds. Pull your finger out and fluff the curl gently to loosen it up. Repeat with several sections of hair all over your head. Spritz lightly with hair spray for extra hold and you're good to go with waves that will stand up to a night on the dance floor or a day at the office.

Things You'll Need


1.Medium round brush

3.Hot rollers

5.Spray hair gel

7.Hair spray

2.Blow dryer

4.Curling iron

6.Styling mousse

8.Hair wax


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