How to Create the Classic Hollywood Waves Hairstyle

As complex as it looks, the Hollywood Waves hairstyle is easier to style than you think!  Read on to nail this classic look.

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woman dressed up in beautiful black dress with puff sleeves.  one hand is on her waist, and the other is touching her Hollywood Waves hairstyle

I’ve always been in awe of the beautiful Hollywood Waves hairstyle! It’s a timeless look and perfect for special occasions such as holiday parties, Valentine’s Day, weddings, or date night!

While it looks intimidating, it is a simple process of curling your hair and then brushing it out to create sultry, sophisticated waves. Everyone’s hair is different, so the key is prepping the hair to hold these curls. 

When I have a special occasion, I’ll prep my hair with products to help keep those curls to last through the night.  My usual prep is a hair detangler, hair protectant, styling product, hair spray, then oil. I’ve linked some of my recommended products below.

Of course, having the right hair tool is just as important. You’ll want to look for one that heats up quickly and reaches high temperature to set the curls without hair breakage. I love my Beachwaver 1.25 Pro. I have long, thick, and coarse hair, so this curling iron does the trick! It heats up to 410 degrees, the 1.25-inch wand is great for looser waves, and the dual rotation is pretty cool! The large wand works great for those with long hair. They have 1″ barrels, too, if you’re interested in tighter curls. Feel free to check out their assortment of curling irons here. I also love their current glitter curling iron (perfect holiday gift for that beauty enthusiast)! Use my code PREDUPREWAVE to save 10%.

Products you’ll need

woman facing down, showing her Hollywood Waves hairstyle

Detangler – I like to use Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray.

Heat Protectant – I swear by this Redken product: Extreme Play Safe Heat Protection and Damage Repair Treatment! It does a fantastic job of protecting and strengthening hair! Another product I like is their Big Blowout Heat Protecting Blowout Jelly which helps to protect and hold curls longer while cutting down on the dry time.

Comb – Get the bang for your buck with the dual teeth teasing comb!

Brush – My hairstylist introduced me to this Sam Villa round boar bristle hairbrush. It’s perfect for home blowouts too! An alternative is Raincry RESTORE Paddle Brush.

Duo Brush – Purchase this brush and combo combination for $30.

Curling Iron – I used the Beach Waver 1.25 Pro or the T3 Single Pass curling iron 1.25.

Hair oil or serum – I like VERB Ghost Oil or Ouai Hair Oil

Hair Teaser (optional) – Great tool to add crown volume

Steps to create Hollywood Waves

Now that we’ve covered the tools you need, it’s time to style your hair! With practice, you’ll be able to nail this look down in no time!  Make sure to practice ahead of your event so that you can perfect this style!

  1. Prep the hair with a detangler and heat protectant. 
  2. Part your hair so you know the placement of the curls. The hair part serves as a guide for separating your hair to curl toward your face. Watch my tutorial video for more details.
  3. Clip the top half of the hair to start curling the bottom half.
  4. Ideally, you’ll want to curl inward toward your face. If you curl away from the face as I did in my stories, you’ll see there is not much of a difference once everything is set. Just make sure you curl the hair section in the same direction (this is where the part helps).
  5. Repeat curling until you finish the bottom half. 
  6. Take your hairspray and lightly mist to keep the curls in place as it cools and sets.  Pro tip:  If your hair has trouble holding curls, take the bottom half and coil the curl up to your scalp and secure it in place with a bobby pin.  Spray with hairspray to lock in the curls.
  7. Unclip the top half.  Again, make sure to work from the part to know which direction to curl the hair.
  8. Once you’re done, take your brush and brush your hair from top to bottom.  Don’t worry about the waves going flat; the more your brush your hair, the more your hair forms into waves.
  9. This step is optional. Take a teasing brush and backcomb sections of hair for more root volume.  Make sure to smooth out the top of the section by lightly brushing on top, so it doesn’t look messy.
  10. Add hair oil or serum to make it look smooth and shiny.  Pro tip:  Use a clean toothbrush, hair wax, or pomade to smooth down stubborn flyaways. 
  11. You are done! Feel free to put it behind your ear and secure it with a pin on the shorter side of the part.  Or use a decorative hair accessory to pin it back.

That’s it! I hope you found this easy to create! Feel free to DM me on Instagram if you have any questions. Feel free to follow me for more inspiration on beauty, fashion, travel, and home!


What special event are you looking forward to wearing this Hollywood Waves hairstyle? Comment below!

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Hollywood Waves Hairstyle