Two women with finger wave hairstyles
Hair Styling | Permanent waves

Finger Waves: How to Style This Retro Trend

Are you still searching for your perfect glamorous evening hairstyle? Finger waves could be for you! Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to create finger waves yourself 

Since the German TV series “Babylon Berlin” hit our screens, a very special hairstyle is enjoying a renaissance: Finger waves! There wasn’t a dinner party from 1920 to the 1950s where this style wasn’t seen. And it hasn’t lost any of its elegance or popularity in the last 100 years. From Billie Holliday to Madonna, finger waves are one of the few hairstyles that have survived for decades. We reveal what makes this style special, and how you can create the perfect wave.

First: Create tension!

Woman with finger wave style and hair clips

Typical S-shaped finger waves are created with clips.

Finger waves require special styling: Using several sectioning clips, the hair is secured and combed in different directions. This creates the typical S-shape of finger waves. In order to get them just right, finger waves actually have to be wet-styled. This means that the hair is combed into shape while wet. But let’s start at the beginning. It’s best to start by creating a strong parting in still-wet hair. Left, right, or center part – you decide! It’s crucial that you comb your wet hair as tight and close to your head as possible. This creates tension, which will be important later.

The perfect wave

Woman with shiny finger wave hairstyle

Shiny finger waves look super glamorous.

Now comb your hair again on the side with the greater amount of hair, and secure it with a clip. It’s best to hold the clip in the middle of your hair with one hand, and press it down with the index finger of your opposite hand. That’s how you create pressure and even more tension. Now it gets a little tricky! Comb the hair next to your index finger back a little, hold it in place with your other hand to keep the hair underneath in its forward position. Now take another sectioning clip and secure your emerging wave with it. This clip should be parallel to your parting. Comb the hair below this clip forwards, and secure with another clip. Repeat until the resulting S-shape passes your ear.

Finishing touches

Once you’ve completed the above, move to the other side of your head – the side with less hair. Here, repeat the above process: Comb your hair back a little, secure with a clip, and comb it forwards from the clip. Secure again until the new wave passes your ear.
Then: Wait! Your still-wet hair will need time to dry. Don’t remove the clips until it is, as they’re providing the support the waves need to form. Once it’s completely dry, you can remove the clips. Finally, spray your finger waves with plenty of hairspray. This way, you’ll create wet-looking waves, which is essential to this style. Now you’re red carpet ready!

Discover: Hairstyling