Air Dry or Diffuse? The Wavy Girl Method’s Guide to Flawless Waves

You’ve probably heard about the “Curly Girl Method”, which went viral (for good reason) a few short years ago. In her 2002 book Curly Girl : More than Just Hair, Lorraine Massey formulated this method. It’s an attitude, and 20 years after its inception, it is still celebrated and practiced by salons. If you are reading this article, you most likely have wavy or curly hair and want to adopt the “Wavy girl method”.

Hairstylist Joseph Maine says that the “Curly Girl Method”, as it is known, refers to an application and treatment technique for curly hair to make it look its best. Curly hair and wavy are obviously different, so the way you treat and style it should be too. The “Curly Girls Method” may work for some curl types but not necessarily for those with waves. Maine explains that “wavy hair is usually less coarse, and may require some modification to the Curly Girl Method.”

We asked two hair experts to explain how they would change the original technique into a foolproof “Wavy Girls Method.” Find out the nine steps that they believe are essential for securing your new hair style.

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Clean up Buildup with a Gentle Cleanser

The Wavy Girl Method starts with a good cleanse. Maine notes that “No-poo products are usually formulated with conditioners, which can weigh down hair or cause buildup to form on the scalp.” “Wavy hair doesn’t need weight to feel controlled. I recommend using a gentle cleanser to remove product buildup and keep the hair’s moisture.

Maine says, “My favorite Color Wow Color Security Shampoo ($24) is gentle enough to use on hair cuticles as water but cleans and refreshes hair and scalp.” You can then follow up with a lighter conditioner or a moisturizing one, depending on what you need.

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Condition (But Don’t Overdo it)

It is important to condition your hair gently after cleansing to add shine and softness. Curly Girl Method allows you to leave the product on your hair and deep condition it. Wavy Girl Method calls for rinsing hair and leaving only a small amount of conditioner in the hair. Maine says that unless you are familiar with the consistency of conditioner, it is not recommended to leave conditioner in wavy hair.

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Comb Wet Hair

The Curly Girl Method recommends that you use your fingers instead of a comb to prevent tearing tangles and frizz. Maine recommends combing and brushing your hair while conditioner is still in it. The Wavy Girl Method does not completely ban the use of a comb. Use a wide-toothed comb to get the best results.

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Towel to Remove Excessive Water

It is important to avoid heat damage regardless of the type of hair. Rezo recommends using a plush, microfiber towel to squeeze out excess water after washing. Maine agrees: “It is best to use either a cotton tee shirt or a microfiber to dry off excess moisture.”

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Add the Right Products

It is important to protect your hair from heat and styling by using the right products. Maine says that Color Wow’s Dream Coat Curly (24 dollars) is her favorite product to emphasize waves, add moisture and bundle the waves. It’s a weightless water-based spray which is extremely effective in giving hold without crunch.

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Air Dry with the “Hair Plopping” Technique

Experts agree once again that you should avoid using heat to style your hair. Maine says that the best way to style your hair is by “hair plopping.” Lay a cotton shirt or silk scarf flat on the floor, turn your head and wrap your hair tightly around the fabric. This will give you bouncy waves with no frizz.

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Use Diffusers to Speed Drying

If you are in a hurry, towel drying may not be your best option. Both Rezo and Maine suggest using a diffuser when you’re in a hurry. Rezo recommends using a diffuser to dry the hair. Rezo says, “After that, give the Rezo a good shake and stimulate the root area with your hands moving backwards.”

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Add Curl Definition with Hot Tools

Rezo notes that “the smaller the barrel is, the tighter your curls are. This is something to remember whether you want to create beach waves or something more springy.”

Rezo explains that “for fine hair you’ll want to divide your hair into vertical small sections, and then curl it using a small barrel curling iron. You will be amazed at the volume.” You can use the big barrel to create sexy beach waves on thicker hair by using vertical sections. We recommend a 2- to 2-1/2-inch curling iron barrel for natural, more textured hair. You don’t have to add as much volume to your hair.”

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Prepare Hair for Heat

Rezo advises that you should always apply heat protection before using any hot tools, whether it is a diffuser to achieve your desired style or a curling tool to create the look. The hair will be damaged and dried out by excessive heat. It can also affect the natural curl pattern. Consider it as an investment for your wavy lifestyle.

You can get a flawless, foolproof hairstyle by following the advice of the experts, along with a few key products, some patience and some styling.

Byrdie uses high-quality sources to back up the facts in our articles, including peer reviewed studies. Learn more about our editorial guidelines and how we ensure that our content is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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