12 Products to Style Your Wavy Hair Sans Hot Tools

Mane Club Wavy Baby Wave Texture Spray creates soft, bouncy waves in minutes

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Best Hair Products to Style Wavy Hair
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This might sound vain, but it's the truth: of all my features, I get the most compliments on my hair. Almost every time I see a new hairstylist, they're drooling over my thick, healthy mane. In fact, one stylist recently said to me, "I'm going to dream about your hair tonight."

I love my long, wavy, graying-but-mostly-brown strands, and I've tried many products in the past to help define my waves without subjecting them to damaging heat tools. I love a great air-dry spray, and have been using the Mane Club Wavy Baby Wave Texture Spray (our Best Overall Winner) for years now.

Whether you're also looking for a great air-dry product to help define your waves, or need some extra help when styling with a blowdryer, we've tapped experts and combed through all the foams, creams, and sprays to find the best of the best for wavy hair.

Here is our list of the best products for wavy hair.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Mane Club Wavy Baby Wave Texture Spray

Mane Club Wavy Baby Wave Texture Spray

Also available at Mane Club

What We Love: The soft, non-crunchy waves this spray gives.

What We Don't Love: You might need to use a lot to get your desired look.

I've tried a lot of wavy texture sprays, and this one blows them all out of the water. Not only does this formula from Mane Club smell great, but it's one of the few wave sprays I've tried that really doesn't leave my hair crunchy or stiff at all.

The rose and cactus water-infused formula gives my hair the perfect amount of body and texture, and I like that this pick doesn't feel gritty like some other beach wave texture sprays might. Another great perk: Wavy Baby is lightweight and won't weigh your hair down, so you can spritz this into clean hair and avoid washing your strands for days afterward.

The one downside I have with this pick is that I need to spray a lot of it to get my desired result. That being said, I do have a lot of hair, so I usually have to use a lot of any type of hair product to cover my whole head. Thankfully, Wavy Baby isn't super expensive, so I don't mind dousing my hair in it when I need to. I like to spray each section of my hair, and then use my fingers to scrunch up my hair while it air dries.

Price at time of publish: $10

Type of product: Wave Texture Spray | Size: 5.3 fl oz

Best Value: John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Air Dry Waves Styling Foam

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Air Dry Waves Styling Foam

Also available at Ulta and Target

What We Love: It's ideal for fine, wavy hair types.

What We Don't Love: The smell.

Best known for taming frizz, John Frieda nails the wavy hair game with this highly-rated styling foam. It works wonders for both wavy and curly hair, and will help reduce frizz after each use.

The Dream Curls Air Dry Waves Styling Foam was designed for those with medium-thick hair, but we noticed that it works incredibly well on fine, thin wavy hair, too. Because it's a lightweight foam, it doesn't weigh hair down and become a crunchy mess.

We love the price point of this pick, and also appreciate that you can find it in most drugstores nationwide. The downside, though? The smell. This foam smells a bit like an old lady's perfume, and we're not into it. Thankfully, the smell subsides after you've applied the product through your hair and allowed it to dry, so you won't be stuck sniffing it all day.

Price at time of publish: $12

Type of product: Foam | Size: 5 fl oz

Best Shine Treatment: Cucinello Beauty Allure Smoothing Shine Treatment

Cucinello Beauty Allure Smoothing Shine Treatment

What We Love: The incredibly high-quality ingredients.

What We Don't Love: The high price tag.

Paul Cucinello, a New York City-based celebrity stylist, has been styling my hair for years — not only do I trust his judgment when it comes to taking his scissors to my strands, but I also value his incredible haircare knowledge, too. The Cucinello Beauty Allure Smoothing Shine Treatment is one of those products that, when I first tried it, I couldn't believe I'd ever been living without for so long.

This pick from Cucinello Beauty uses organic agave nectar and hydrolyzed rice protein to help reduce frizz, nourish dry hair, and add a healthy amount of shine that will last through your next wash. I love that you can use this product in two ways: as an express treatment or as a long-lasting, smoothing treatment. For the former, comb the product through clean, damp hair and let sit for three minutes before rinsing it out. For the latter, apply a small amount to clean, damp hair, comb through, don't rinse, and then blow dry hair until smooth.

Personally, I like to use this product as a leave-in smoothing treatment, but I use a small amount because the product is thick and concentrated. The one downside with this pick is that it's pricey, but, considering the bottle is so large, it will last you a long, long time.

Price at time of publish: $98

Type of product: Smoothing Shine Treatment | Size: 8 fl oz

Best Deep Conditioner: Drunk Elephant Silkamino Mega-Moisturizing Masker

Drunk Elephant Silkamino Mega-Moisturizing Masker

Also available at Ulta

What We Love: It gives dry, frizzy hair the drink of moisture it really needs.

What We Don't Love: It might be too heavy for very fine hair.

This deep conditioner from Drunk Elephant is absolutely loaded with super hydrating ingredients — marula butter, sunflower fatty acids, and panthenol work to restore moisture, boost shine, calm frizz, and leave hair super soft and smooth.

With regular use, Silkamino Mega-Moisturizing Masker will help to rebuild bonds in your hair and strengthen the hair shaft. The most impressive aspect of this deep conditioner is that it's incredibly moisturizing without using silicones — and any hair care formulator knows that this can be difficult to master.

While I love how soft and strong this pick leaves my hair, I'll admit that it does take a while for me to rinse it out. For that reason, I can foresee this being an issue for those with very fine hair, as I feel like it might weigh down fine hair if used too often or too much.

Price at time of publish: $28

Type of product: Deep Conditioner | Size: 7 fl oz

Best Wave Spray: Briogeo Superfoods Banana + Coconut Hydrating Soft Wave Spray

Briogeo Superfoods Banana + Coconut Hydrating Soft Wave Spray

Also available at Briogeo Hair

What We Love: It makes natural waves look more defined.

What We Don't Love: The nozzle spray has issues.

The Briogeo Superfoods Banana + Coconut Hydrating Soft Wave Spray is another great wave spray that adds definition and texture to wavy hair. We love how this pick doesn't leave hair feeling crunchy, nor does it leave your hands feeling oily after you've scrunched your strands.

Caitlyn Martyn, a commerce writer at Instyle, has naturally very wavy hair and loves how this nourishing spray makes her hair look and feel. "I spray it on wet hair after I get out of the shower, and by the time my hair dries, my waves look a lot healthier and way less unruly," she explains. "It's deeply hydrating, so any dry ends feel softer and smoother. Plus, it smells faintly like fresh banana and coconut (not the sunscreen kind of smell)."

While there are many benefits of the formula, there are lots of complaints about the packaging. Many reviewers aren't a fan of the nozzle spray, which sprays in a stream, rather than a fine mist. Because of this, many folks are having to spray this product into their hands and then rake the formula through their hair.

Price at time of publish: $25

Type of product: Soft Wave Spray | Size: 5.75 fl oz

Best Mousse: Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse

Moroccanoil Curl Control Hair Mousse

Also available at Moroccanoil

What We Love: It doesn't leave hair stiff.

What We Don't Love: It feels more like a foam than a mousse.

Yes, this mousse is marketed for curly girls, but it works just as well on wavy strands, too. We love that unlike other mousses on the market, this pick doesn't leave wavy or curly hair crunchy, and you won't have to worry about your hair feeling stiff throughout the day.

The formula is lightweight and features argan oil to help soften and nourish the hair, while polyquaternium-11 and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine are used as anti-static agents to calm frizz. Whether you have wavy, curly, coily, or tight curls, this mousse will help define movement in your hair.

While we love how this makes hair look and feel, the product comes out more like a foam than a mousse. It's not as rich or creamy as other mousses on the market, so if you love a really thick mousse, skip this pick.

Price at time of publish: $30

Type of product: Mousse | Size: 5.1 fl oz

Best Cream: JVN Air Dry Cream

JVN Air Dry Hair Cream

Also available at JVN Hair

What We Love: It's a cream with a lightweight texture.

What We Don't Love: It isn't hydrating and might leave your hair feeling dry.

Johnathan Van Ness, Queen of the popular Netflix series Queer Eye, has created their own line of hair care products and, after trying out the JVN Air Dry Cream, all we can say is, "yes, yes, yes!" Suitable for all hair types, this pick works wonders on those with naturally wavy hair.

Some hair creams are thick and, unfortunately, weigh hair down more than they add body, volume, or define waves. Air Dry Cream, on the other hand, is a lightweight gel-cream texture that adds body without leaving your hair flat and oily the next day.

Personally, I am obsessed with this product and am amazed by how well it works to define my natural waves. I find myself having to wash my hair a day or two after applying other hair creams, but this isn't the case with Air Dry Cream — I'm on day three of air drying my hair with this pick, and my waves are just as voluminous and bouncy as the first day of application.

Because this product is not very hydrating, those with super dry strands might not love how this feels on their hair. I prefer my hair to look more dry, beachy, and edgy (rather than blown out and silky), so this pick is a perfect option for me.

Price at time of publish: $26

Type of product: Cream | Size: 5 fl oz

Best Shampoo and Conditioner: Aussie Miracle Waves Anti-Frizz Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner

Aussie Miracle Waves Anti-Frizz Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner

Also available at Walmart and CVS

What We Love: The low price point.

What We Don't Love: The conditioner can get a bit slippery.

If you're looking for a great, affordable shampoo and conditioner duo to help define your natural waves, look no further than the Aussie Miracle Waves line. The shampoo and conditioner were specifically formulated to help enhance natural waves, and will work wonders in decreasing frizz and boosting your natural texture.

Not only do we love the low price point of these two products, but we also appreciate the ingredients (think Kakadu plum and Australian hemp seed) that help hydrate, protect, and define your gorgeous wave patterns. The lovely scent of plum, apple, and bergamot isn't bad either.

One of the best parts about this duo is that you don't really need to use any stylers after you've washed and conditioned. The downside is that some might find the conditioner to be a bit too slippery. This pick does contain silicones in the formula, so if that bothers you, consider opting for a different shampoo and conditioner for wavy hair.

Price at time of publish: $3

Type of product: Shampoo and Conditioner | Size: 12.1 fl oz

Best Dry Shampoo: Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo

Also available at Sephora and Nordstrom

What We Love: The wonderful, signature Oribe scent.

What We Don't Love: It isn't super, super absorbent.

There's nothing more luxe-smelling than the Oribe signature scent. With a blend of Italian bergamot, white peach, and cedarwood, this dry shampoo not only smells divine, but also does a great job at extending a blowout, too.

The Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo is one of the brand's bestsellers, and for good reason—it absorbs oil and product buildup and also smells really good. Because the scent is so strong, this dry shampoo works to mask any foul smell your hair might give off after avoiding a shampoo all week. The product features "fragrance-retention technology," so the scent stays in your hair all day long.

The base of this dry shampoo is a translucent starch blend. Celery seed extract, myrrh extract, and bamboo and rice silk work together to reduce oil on the scalp, nourish dry, damaged hair, and add smoothness.

When using this pick from Oribe, make sure to shake the bottle well before application. Spray the dry shampoo about eight to ten inches away from the scalp, and tousle your hair with your fingers or brush the product through your strands.

While we love this pick for wavy hair, some folks do complain that it doesn't sop up oil as much as other dry shampoos on the market. Because of this, we don't recommend this product for anyone with a super oily scalp as you probably won't get your desired result. The Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo is ideal for people with fine, wavy hair because the formula is lightweight and won't weigh down your strands.

Price at time of publish: $48

Type of product: Dry Shampoo | Size: 6 oz

Best Dry Hair Texture Spray: Bumble and bumble Surf Wave Foam

Bumble and Bumble Surf Wave Foam

Also available at Bumble and bumble

What We Love: It can be used on dry hair.

What We Don't Love: It can make hair feel crunchy if you use too much.

If you want to zhuzh your lackluster, flat strands, consider trying this pick from Bumble and bumble. Not only does the formula smell like the beach, but we love that the Surf Wave Foam was specifically formulated for dry hair — so, no pre-washing required.

This is a luxe, thick foam that works to add a beachy texture to straight, wavy, or curly hair. You can use it after blow-drying or to revive second- or third-day curls or waves. The Surf Wave Foam will add extra grit and grip to hair, so if you're not a big fan of the way sea salt sprays feel in your hair, you probably won't love this product. The foam creates an awesome, "lived-in" look for your waves, and we also appreciate that it has UV filters that'll help protect your hair from the sun.

Price at time of publish: $29

Type of product: Foam | Size: 5 fl oz.

Best Hairspray: Andrew Fitzsimons Prism Shine Invisible Shine Hair Spray

andrew fitzsimons hair

What We Love: It gives super high shine.

What We Don't Love: Availability is very limited.

If you've got lackluster waves that need some extra hold and a shine boost, the Andrew Fitzsimons Prism Shine Invisible Shine Hair Spray was made for you. This pick not only does a great job at holding any hairstyle in place, but it also adds an incredible glistening effect to dry strands.

Unlike some other shine sprays that are heavy and oily, this one is lightweight and doesn't weigh down your hair, even hours after application. You can spray this formula right after styling your hair with heat tools, or use it as your hair's pick-me-up throughout the day.

Unfortunately, this option is only available at Ulta in the United States. Hopefully, as the line gains more traction, it will be sold in more stores.

Price at time of publish: $14

Type of product: Hairspray | Size: 5.45 oz.

Best Hair Oil: Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil


Also available at Sephora and Ulta

What We Love: It works for multiple purposes.

What We Don't Love: It might weigh down fine hair.

One of Olaplex's best-sellers, the No. 7 Bonding Oil is a weightless reparative styling oil that helps to strengthen hair while adding shine. We love this pick for waves because it's essentially a 4-in-1 treatment — it can act as a heat protectant, enhances shine, works as a leave-in mask, and helps your hair dry faster.

This pick can be used on wet or dry hair, and will be a godsend for those who use heat styling tools regularly. You only need a few drops of this product, as it's very concentrated and could potentially weigh down hair if you use too much.

It's important to note that the first ingredient in this pick is dimethicone, so if you are sensitive to it, steer clear. Dimethicone is a type of silicone, and if you find that silicones weigh down your hair too much, you might not like this product.

Price at time of publish: $30

Type of product: Oil | Size: 1 fl oz

What to Keep in Mind

Hair Texture

The first thing you want to keep in mind when buying products for wavy hair is knowing your hair texture. "If your hair is fine, you'll need more lightweight products, but if you have thick hair, you'll need products that have more shea butter in it," explains Jana Rago, a hairstylist and owner of Jana Rago Studios in Boston. "If you have fine wavy hair, you want to look for a foam mousse, something that is hydrating but also lightweight. If you have thick hair, cream products will be more helpful and hydrating for your hair type."

Porosity, curl pattern, and texture are all important factors when purchasing wavy hair products. "If you put a product that is too heavy on fine hair, it will make your hair look greasy/weighed down versus defined and bouncy," explains Jaime Maloney, a celebrity hairstylist and colorist in Los Angeles. "On the other hand, if you use something that isn't strong enough on thick and coarse-textured hair, the product will most likely not be strong enough [to do anything]."

Wash Routine

When looking for a shampoo or conditioner, if you have fine wavy hair, you'll want to look for a volumizing shampoo and a hydrating conditioner, according to Rago. "If you have thick wavy hair, you'll want an extra moisturizing shampoo and a hydrating conditioner," she says.

It's also important to consider how often you are shampooing and conditioning your strands. "Shampooing every day will strip a lot of the natural oils produced by the scalp that we need to nourish our hair," explains Maloney. "It's important to find a brand of shampoo that is going to add plenty of moisture and hydration to your hair while cleansing the impurities that your scalp and hair absorb day to day."

Your Wavy Hair Product Cocktail

You'll want to try different types of products when experimenting to find the perfect combination that works for you. "Unfortunately, there isn't a one-and-done miracle product that can work for everyone, because everyone has completely different hair," explains Maloney. "For fine to medium hair I would recommend starting with a moisturizing leave-in conditioning spray paired with a lightweight curl cream instead of a mouse or oil-based product."

Maloney recommends starting with less product and then continuing to add more. "The more coarse and thick the hair is, the more you should opt for the stronger curl cream or heavier hair oils," she says.

Your Questions, Answered

What do you use to style wavy hair?

To style wavy hair, you want to make sure your hair is damp. "If you have just stepped out of the shower, you can use a diffuser to dry your hair a bit, and then while it's still damp, use a lightweight mousse or foam from your roots to mid-shaft, and then add a light cream to the ends to finish," explains Rago. "A light cream and/or mousse will leave your waves with bouncy, flexible movement, without being too heavy for your hair."

Can you use curly hair products on wavy hair?

According to Rago, you can use certain curly hair products on wavy hair, but she wouldn't suggest it for all wavy hair. "The majority of curly hair products have large amounts of coconut oil or shea butter in them, and those can often be too heavy for wavy hair and weigh it down," she explains. "The ideal product for wavy hair is something lightweight, like a mousse or a foam, or a very light cream that can still define your waves but won't weigh down your hair."

The difference between wavy and curly hair is the strength, shape, and tightness of the curl pattern. "Wavy hair is more loose and soft, while very curly hair has a tight ringlet curl pattern," explains Maloney. "So if you use a curly hair product on wavy hair, it will hydrate, add moisture, and define your hair, but it will not change the natural pattern to make your hair 'more curly.'"

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