The Ultimate Guide to Men's Wavy Hairstyles: What to Do & Common Mistakes to Avoid

The Ultimate Guide to Men's Wavy Hairstyles: What to Do & Common Mistakes to Avoid

Written by: Piers Le Moignan



Time to read 10 min

If you want to switch up your everyday hairstyle or try out something a bit different for an event you've got coming up, wavy hair is definitely the way to go. Even if you've got pin-straight locks, you can still do wavy hairstyles with the help of some hair products and good technique.


Whether you're going for classic beachy waves or adding a bit of texture to your regular 'do, we've got a few tricks up our sleeves to help you achieve a pefectly wavy hairstyle. 


Plus, we'll tell you what the most common mistakes are so that you can work around them and make sure your look turns out great.

Understanding Your Hair Type – From 1a to 4c

Knowing your hair type first and foremost will help you figure out what the best styling techniques and products will be when you're trying to achieve wavy hairstyles.


Hair types lay on a spectrum of sorts, starting at 1a and ending at 4c. The higher the number and further down the alphabet, the wavier or curlier your natural hair is. So if you have type 1a hair, you're natural locks will be pin straight and thin, and if you have type 4c hair, it'll be on the coily and thicker end of the spectrum.


Natural wavy hair sits in type 2, meaning if you have type 2 hair, you'll find it much easier to create wavy hairstyles, and you won't have to put much effort into creating the curls or waves. That said, all hair types can be manipulated with the right styling tools, techniques and products to create wavy hairstyles.


If you don't know where to start, talking with a professional stylist about your desired look may provide helpful insight into how to achieve beachy waves without overdoing it on product.

How to Get Wavy Hair for Men: Home Methods, Tips & Tricks

But, instead of going straight to your barber or stylist, we've got some of the best tips and tricks to help you achieve easy wavy hairstyles for men at home. 


We'll take you through our favourite tried and tested methods and recommend some products along the way that are guaranteed to help you get the wavy look you want.


Let's start with the first step: washing your noggin.

Prepping Your Hair for Styling: Washing, Shampooing, & Conditioning

Washing your hair with quality shampoos and conditioners will help ensure your waves stay looking their best all day long.


Products formulated with high-quality and carefully selected ingredients will help make your hair much easier to style, add volume, and prolong the life of your wavy trim. Also, look for shampoos and conditioners that are suitable for all hair types, as these will contain ingredients that are gentle enough for waves and won't weigh down your hairstyle.


Our Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner Set is the ultimate hair duo for any hair type, formulated with some of nature's most powerful ingredients, like Saw Palmetto and Red Clover Leaf, alongside Caffeine and Vitamin B3 to help stimulate hair growth.


For those who have particularly dry or brittle hair, using a deep conditioner before styling is recommended. This will aid in providing extra nourishment to keep locks hydrated throughout the entire process.

Common Mistake: Using a Towel to Dry Your Hair

When you dry your hair, don't just go straight in and scruff it up with a towel – this will cause your hair to go frizzy, and frizzy hair is much harder to style. Instead, gently pat or squeeze out the excess water and leave to air dry or use a diffuser or blow drier. 


If you do use heat, make sure you use a heat-protectant spray or cream.

Method #1 – Using a Sea Salt Spray for Wavy Hair

One of the best and easiest methods to achieve wavy hair for men is to use a sea salt spray


This styling product helps create texture and definition in tousled waves without leaving any crunchiness or stickiness that traditional gels may bring.


We recommend our Marine Mist sea salt spray for the best results. We've specially formulated this spray to style and nourish your hair simultaneously using unrefined Atlantic sea salt and a professional blend of proteins. It'll help to create long-lasting texture – even in straight hair – and reduce frizz, resulting in more defined waves.

How to Use Sea Salt Spray for Wavy Hairstyles

Here's how to use sea salt spray to achieve wavy hair:


Step 1) Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner first, as usual.


Step 2) Pat the excess water from your hair using a soft towel – but don't dry completely.


Step 3) Spritz the sea salt spray evenly throughout your hair while using your fingers to shape the waves.


Step 4) Leave your hair to air dry or use a blow dryer for volume.


As a bonus step, you can use a hair styling compound on certain pieces to add more definition to your trim – this works especially well on shorter hair that's longer on top. The compound will add more hold to your style, too.

Method #2 – Creating Waves in Long Hair With a Curling Wand

Heat styling is an effective way to add texture and body to any style of hair, especially longer and thicker hair that might need more than just product to help the style stay put.


As we've already mentioned, it's key to use a heat protectant before using any heat styling tools to prevent your locks from becoming damaged from repetitive heat styling or high heat. 


We also recommend not using heat over 180 degrees.

How to Use a Curling Iron for Waves

Take a small section of your hair and wrap it around the wand away from your face. The hair closest to your roots should be wrapped around the thicker end of the wand, and the ends should be wrapped around the smaller end.


Hold the hair for around 10 seconds and gently release the strand of hair. Repeat this step for your whole head, and give your hair a shake afterwards to separate and create a more natural appearance.

Common Mistake: Wrapping Your Hair Too Tightly Around the Wand

The tighter you wrap your hair around the wand, the more defined the waves will be, so keep this in mind – if you're after loose waves, wrap your hair loosely and more separated around the wand.


You also should make sure you're holding your hair for long enough on the heat, as not letting the heat 'set' your hair in place can cause the waves to drop out more quickly.

Method #3 – Twisting Your Hair to Create Waves

Twisting is another great method that can give you wavy hair, but you'll need some sort of styling compound or product to hold the style.


Our Hybrid Hair compound is the ideal universal styling product, and it works incredibly well for the twisting method. 


We've used a combination of Icelandic Bentonite clay, organic British beeswax, and our signature Atlantic sea salt to create a product with all-day hold and brilliant styling capabilities.

How to Create Waves in Your Hair Using the Twisting Method

Step 1) Take a small amount of the styling compound and warm it in between your hands.


Step 2) Run it through your hair from roots to tips.


Step 3) Take a very small amount of the compound again and apply it to small sections of your hair, twisting pieces in different directions - this will create the texture.


Step 4) Leave your hair to air-dry or use a diffuser on a cool setting.

Method #4 – Scrunching Your Hair

Twisting is a great way to add texture and definition to your hair. To further enhance the waves, you can use a technique called scrunching. This involves applying a product, like our Hybrid Hair compound or Marine Mist sea salt spray, to wet hair and then using your hands to gently squeeze it in an upward motion while drying with a diffuser.


To achieve maximum waviness:

  • Make sure that all of the strands are covered evenly with product before scrunching.

  • Use your fingers in a pushing/squeezing motion from the roots up towards the ends of your hair when scrunching.

  • Aim for medium heat settings on the dryer so that you don't end up damaging your hair.

This method is ideal if you tend to have flat hair as the scrunching adds volume. It's also a great method if you have a natural wave pattern – it helps to define the waves and curls.

Common Mistake: Your Hair isn't Wet Enough

One of the key things with scrunching is that your hair needs to be sopping wet when you apply the product and scrunch your hair. If you're trying to scrunch with damp or nearly dry hair, the product won't properly define the waves or curls.


Use a continuous water misting bottle or a regular spray bottle and wet your hair before going in with the styling compound or sea salt spray.

Summary: Achieving Effortless Wavy Hairstyles for Men

Wavy hairstyles are super easy to achieve as it's all in the technique and product you use.


You'll probably find you have to try a few of these methods out and see which suits your hair type the best – some hair will work better with the scrunching method, whereas others will achieve better results with twisting or using sea salt spray. A combination might even work better, like adding in a few waves with a curling iron once your hair has dried after using product.


As for the products you use, our range of premium men's haircare and styling products will help you achieve the look you want. Our staple products contain carefully sourced and specially developed formulas that work for any man and any head of hair – we've put in the work so you don't have to.


Explore our range today, and regularly check back on our blog for more pro haircare and styling tips.


Can I Do Wavy Hairstyles if I Have Straight Hair?

Yes, you can style your straight hair with wavy hairstyles. You can use product to get your desired waves, like a compound or sea salt spray, or a curling wand. Depending on the type of hair you have, some methods will work better than others.

For example, if you have type 1a hair, you might find a heat styling tool to be more effective since your hair doesn't have any natural curl pattern. If you have type 2 or 3 hair, styling products will work well to define your natural waves and curls.

How Do You Style Wavy Hair Men?

If you have naturally wavy hair, there are lots of different ways you can style it, depending on the length of your hair. If you have mid to long-length hair, you can throw your hair up into a messy man bun for a chill but trendy look. If you have shorter wavy hair, a bedhead style is very on-trend right now – think Timothée Chalamet and Harry Styles (pre the buzz cut). Scruff up your natural waves and let them hang over your forehead.

Should I Apply Hair Styling Product to Wet Hair?

Yes, styling products should be applied to wet hair. Adding product to hair that's wet will mean the strands will dry in place as you've styled them, and your hair will absorb any conditioning ingredients better. Hair sprays and hair gels should be applied to dry hair, though.

Do I Need a Hair Routine for Wavy or Curly Hair?

If you have naturally wavy hair, having a basic hair care routine will help to prevent frizz and define your curls. That doesn't mean it needs to be complex and involve a hundred different products, though. Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner formulated to work for your hair type, and use products to help style after washing. Read our guide to caring for men's curly hair.

How Long Will My Styled Wavy Hair Last?

If you've styled your straight hair with a wavy hairstyle, it'll likely last a few days, but this will differ depending on your natural hair type. Some hair holds style better than others, like coarser hair. But you can always refresh your hairstyle between wash days by using a misting water bottle to dampen your hair and reapply the product.

Piers Le Moignan

Piers Le Moignan is the founder and CEO of Salt Grooming, an award-winning British luxury men’s haircare and styling brand. 

Founded in 2018, Piers has quickly grown the company into a global brand that has distributed to 43 countries and counting.

Headquartered in London, Piers leads an agile workforce of 10 employees and consultants, including the company’s formulation team which features some of the UK’s leading cosmetic scientists. Piers is responsible for overseeing logistics, supply chain, and performance marketing, and is the driving force behind Salt’s product innovation and brand/creative direction. 

Previous to foundership, Piers spent a decade at some of London’s leading creative agencies, developing global brands and communications for the likes of Adidas, Jaguar Land Rover, British Airways, and more.

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