What Does a Three Barrel Waver Do to Your Hair?

Soft and sultry waves offer a change from basic and boring locks.

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A three barrel waver might sound like the latest action-movie toy, but it's actually a nifty new hair tool for your arsenal. Three barrel wavers can create relaxed, beachy waves or retro-glam 1930s style waves, depending upon how you style your tresses. You'll find these irons available at a range of price points, so you can pick one up whether you're on a bargain budget or ready for a beauty splurge.

The Three Barrelled Iron

A three barrel waving iron looks like a curling iron on steroids. The handle supports three rounded barrels, secured by a single clamp. The three barrels produce a ridged wave pattern in your hair, similar to the waves left if you sleep in medium-sized braids. If you have a crimping iron with a wave plate, you'll find that a three barrel iron creates a slightly softer and loser wave.

Get It Done

Waving your hair with a three barrel iron isn't exactly quick, especially if you have long locks. Brush your hair out, then lightly spray with hair spray. Working in small 1-inch to 2-inch sections, clamp the iron over the hair, slightly away from the scalp. Tilt the first barrel of the iron gently away from your head to avoid creating a ridge. Hold briefly, then release. Overlap each wave, placing the iron on top of the third wave of the last section. Work down each section of hair until your whole head is waved.


Go comfy-casual by spritzing your finished waves with a sea salt-based spray. Run your fingers through your hair to break up the waves slightly. Leave your locks loose or pin them up in a haphazard twist or bun. Dress up your waves with a hint of shine spray, and a loose, but neat knot worn at the nape of your neck or just below one ear. Add glitzy earrings to finish off this Hollywood glamor look.

Get Smart

While a hot iron can give you the hot, sexy waves you want, it can also damage your hair. Waving irons, like a three barrel waver, expose your hair to a lot of heat, even more than a regular curling iron. You should be able to create each individual wave in about five seconds, so don't get distracted and leave the iron in place too long. Use a thermal protectant spray to reduce damage, and don't make this an everyday look.

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