“I never want to see another barrel curl again in my life,” hairstylist Orlando Pita said backstage this season. “But I like waves, so I’m figuring out new ways to do them.” Well, Pita wasn’t the only one over Kardashian-style spirals. The spring runways were full of softer, more natural wavy looks; here are our favorite examples.
Pita didn’t even touch a curling iron to create gorgeous cascades at J. Mendel. “The flatiron gives a flatter, more natural-looking bend,” he said. To achieve the ripples that ran from ear level to ends, Pita clamped the iron horizontally over one-inch sections and rocked it towards and away from him repeatedly as he moved down the length of the hair. He left the top of the hair smooth with a middle part (thanks to a light mist of Phyto Workable Hold Spray) for a look that was low-key and cool.
EASY, POLISHED WAVES
“Narciso wanted light, touchable hair that moved as models walked down the runway,” said Paul Hanlon at Narciso Rodriguez. To make sure it was all of the above, Hanlon created waves using minimal products. He blow-dried the hair straight, prepped two-inch sections with Spirulina by Byron hair spray, and wrapped them around a large curling iron. While the curls were still warm, he tugged on the ends so they weren’t too tight; after curling the whole head, he softened the waves up even more with a bristle brush. Finally, right before the models walked the runway, he twisted their hair into a ponytail with his hands and shook it out. “That way, it falls sporadically and not like a hairdresser crafted it,” he said.
When you think about it, crimped hair is just very (very) tight, horizontal waves—space those waves farther apart and you lose the ’80s hair-band comparisons. That’s exactly what hairstylist Odile Gilbert did at Thakoon, where she used a triple-barrel iron for a crimped effect that felt downright futuristic (thanks to the wet-looking texture and a row of bobby pins across the back of the head). To try the look at home (without buying a crimping iron you’ll only break out once a year), French braid your hair before you go to bed—one braid for looser crimps, two for tighter ones. When you wake up and unbraid your hair, you can define the waves and remove any frizz with a dime-size amount of styling cream, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Cotton Uzu Defining Flexible Cream, run through the midhsaft to ends.
Versace is a brand practically synonymous with big, sexy waves, but following suit with the theme of the season, hairstylist Guido deflated the volume and loosened up the curls for a more relaxed vibe. He didn’t even use any tools: After prepping the hair with mousse, he roughed dried it, twisted the ends into a knot, and sent the models off to get their makeup done. The twist set a wave into the hair without the need for a curling iron, while a heavy dose of dry shampoo (Redken Powder Refresh 01 Aerosol Hair Powder/Dry Shampoo) gave the style a matte texture and added thickness.
(VERY) EASY WAVES
Hairstylist Stephan Lancien also gave up his styling tools at Isabel Marant. His first step was to rough-dry the hair and create a messy middle part. Then, he misted the whole head with L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray and pinned the hair into two Princess Leia–style buns. This set the hair into what he called “a shape,” which he described as “not very straight, not very curly, but just natural and fresh.”
Guido used another tool-free technique to create natural-looking waves at Roberto Cavalli. He prepped the models’ damp hair with mousse and blow-dried it at the crown with a Mason Pearson brush so it stayed smooth against the head. For the ends, he used his hands, twisting sections into thin ropes and aiming the blow-dryer at them for a few seconds, combing through with his fingers afterward. The key was the addition of Redken Wax Blast 10 High Impact Finishing Spray-Wax, a texturizing spray gel that gave the waves some hold and a slightly disheveled quality.
SALT-FREE SUMMER WAVES
At Burberry, hairstylist Neil Moodie described the look he created as being “young and fresh for summer.” The waves had a beachy shape to them but without the matte, roughed-up texture associated with the style. Instead, Moodie used products to make sure the hair looked shiny and soft. Before curling the hair with a large iron, he sprayed a light layer of Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray all over. He set the finished waves with a light-hold hair spray and finished with a dime-size drop of Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine cream.
Guido went with very natural looking waves at Calvin Klein that felt “urban, a little bit grungy, and superchic.” After blowing the hair straight, he used mousse and his hands to twist and twirl it into soft waves, which he then layered with dry shampoo and strong-hold hair spray to add volume and keep the style intact. Finally, he lightly brushed through the ends of the hair so the texture looked rich, not stringy.