"S" Waves Are the Laid Back, Glossy Style Of the Season

No curling wands required.

How to Create Romantic "S" Waves, According to Celebrity Hairstylists
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Whether you have long, medium, or short hair, there are hundreds of way to style it. And soft, loose curls are one look that never go out of style, think beach waves, for example.

However, while the ever-classic technique is near and dear to our hearts, there's a new type of wave in town.

S-waves offer a more laid-back feel than traditional barrel curls do. As such, they lay closer to the head and give hair a glossy, effortless finish.

Celebrities such as Margot Robbie and Hailey Bieber are repeat fans of the S-wave style, so we tapped two celebrity hairstylists to break down what exactly they are and how we can create them at home by ourselves. Read their tips, below.

What Are S-Waves?

"The S-Waves are a Hollywood-inspired brushed out wave," explains celebrity hairstylist and Sexy Hair ambassador, Danielle Priano. "Instead of making a full, traditional curl pattern, you will create 'S' like shapes throughout the hair."

Additionally, Amanda Lee, a celebrity hairstylist and MoroccanOil Global Color Ambassador, says that S-waves can be achieved with a flat iron, unlike other types of waves which require curling wands. "[This] creates a very effortless, natural-looking texture that has become super popular and my most requested hairstyle," she says.

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How to Create S-Waves:

To get this style at home, all you need is a handy hot tool and the right technique.

  1. Start with straight hair. Before you begin creating S-waves, Priano says it's crucial to start with straight hair so you're better able to see the "S" shape you're creating. If you have curly or wavy hair, she says to apply mousse — like Sexy Hair's Blow Dry Mousse — to damp strands before giving yourself a blowout. If your hair is a little frizzy after, she says to go over the areas with a flat iron to ensure every piece is as straight as possible.
  2. Pick your hot tool. S-waves can be achieved with either a flat iron or a three-barrel iron, which is also known as a "mermaid wand." Lee recommends three-barrel irons for beginners as all you need to do is section the hair — starting from the root down to your tips. Then take wide sections of hair and insert them into the iron, clamp down on it for a few moments, and move onto the next section until the full head of hair is done. (We recommend INH's Deep Wave Iron for this.) However, both she and Priano prefer the look of flat iron S-waves as they can customize it, and Lee points out that she likes it when the waves aren't all perfectly uniform.
  3. Section the hair. Priano says to create one-inch layers and to take half-inch pieces to wave the hair.
  4. Make the S-waves. "With a straightener, take one layer and the hair to the side, which will create the 'belly' of the 'S' shape," instructs Priano. "Then, with the straightener, press a few times. Once you notice each piece taking shape, move down the piece of hair while bending in opposite directions — and repeat." The point of S-waves isn't for them to look perfect all the time, so Lee says to keep going until the end regardless of how they look in the moment. "The look comes together in the end and looks best a little more undone," she adds.
  5. Add a glossy finish. Add a bit of oil to the hair to give S-waves their signature shine starting from the tips up to mid-shaft. (Joico's K-PAK Color Therapy Glossing Oil is perfect for that and taming frizz.)
  6. Set the style. To extend the life of your style, spritz your hair with your favorite hairspray. Lee recommends MorocaanOil's Luminous Hairspray Medium, as it gives the hair an additional radiance boost, locks in the style, and still makes hair feel soft and touchable.

For a visual step-by-step, you can also refer to the below tutorial by Richard Mannah, a celebrity based hairstylist and Joico's Global Artistic Director.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make While Creating S-Waves?

Since S-waves embrace a little bit of messiness, there aren't too many things that can go wrong while creating the look. However, Lee says that working with either too large or too small of sections can lead to undesired results. If they're too large, your waves may not get that defined "S" shape, and if they're too small, it could create dents in the hair.

And speaking of dents, Priano says that a common mishap when using three barrel irons is clamping too strongly on the hair. "If you close it too tightly, a crease will be left on the hair and not create the desired look," she explains.

When styling the back of your hair, she also recommends using an additional mirror to see those hard-to-reach areas and make sure you're styling even hair sections.

It may take some trial and error to nail the technique, but don't lose faith. "Although it's a bit tricky at the start, once you practice a few times, it'll become so easy," assures Priano.

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