July 18, 2024
Learn how to do finger waves with this step-by-step guide and hairstyle ideas for any occasion. Perfect for beginners, this friendly guide will teach you how to create classic and modern finger wave looks using styling gel, a comb, and a hair dryer.


Finger waves are a classic hairstyle that first became popular in the 1920s and has since enjoyed a resurgence thanks to their unique, glamorous look. Finger waves work well for any occasion, from daily wear to special events and weddings. In this step-by-step guide, we will explore how to do finger waves and some hairstyle ideas that you can try.

Step-by-Step Guide for Finger Waves

Before you start creating finger waves, prepare your hair by washing and conditioning it. You will need some styling gel, a comb, hair clips, and a hair dryer. Follow these steps to create the perfect finger waves:

1. Apply the gel: Start by applying a generous amount of styling gel to your hair, working in sections to ensure that every hair strand is coated evenly.

2. Create partings: Use the end of your comb to create deep partings, starting from the hairline and working backwards. The partings should be uniform and about 1 inch apart.

3. Shape the waves: Start by molding the first wave with your comb, using your finger to press down the edge of the wave. Clip the wave in place and move on to the next section.

4. Repeat the process: Continue molding and clipping the waves until you have covered your whole head. Dry your hair using a hair dryer to set the waves in place.

5. Reverse the waves (optional): If you want to create a more dramatic look, reverse the waves by creating alternate finger waves in an opposite direction.

Tips and Tricks

– Apply the gel generously to avoid frizz and keep the waves in place longer.
– Use hair clips to keep each wave secure as you work through the process.
– If you have naturally straight hair, use a curling iron to create deep curls before you start shaping the waves.
– For a more polished look, use a tail comb to shape and refine each wave.

5 Easy Finger Waves Hairstyles for Beginners

Looking for some hairstyle ideas to try out? Here are five easy finger waves hairstyles that you can learn as a beginner:

1. Classic Finger Waves: This vintage style is perfect for a night out and it’s easy to create using the steps outlined above.

2. Side-Swept Waves: Create a deep side part and style your waves to fall over one shoulder for a romantic look.

3. Half-Up Finger Waves: Use hair clips to pin back the top of your hair, leaving the rest down in finger waves for a modern twist on a classic style.

4. Finger Wave Bob: If you have short hair, create finger waves that start at the crown and fall loosely around your face for a chic bob look.

5. Hollywood Glam Waves: For a truly glamorous look, create deep, sweeping waves starting at the crown and falling down your back.

Choosing the Right Style

When choosing a finger wave style, consider your hair length and face shape. Longer hair can handle more dramatic waves, while short hair looks great in tightly sculpted waves. Heart-shaped faces look fabulous with side-swept waves, while round faces can be elongated with long, sweeping waves.

How to Get Perfect Finger Waves for Any Hair Length

Creating finger waves on different hair lengths can pose challenges. Here are some tips for creating finger waves on short, medium, and long hair:

– Short hair: Use small waves that hug close to the scalp and stick to classic styles like the finger wave bob.
– Medium hair: Create long waves that start at the crown and fall in loose curls.
– Long hair: Use extra styling gel and lots of clips to keep long waves in place. Opt for dramatic Hollywood waves or subtle side-swept waves.

Adapting the Style

Finger waves are a vintage hairstyle, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be modernized. Add a twist by making them less uniform or combining them with a messy bun or updo for a more relaxed look.

Finger Waves: A History and How-to Guide

Finger waves have a rich history that dates back to the 1920s when they were worn by the flappers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create the classic finger wave style:

1. Start with clean, damp hair and apply a generous amount of styling gel.

2. Create a deep side part and use your comb to section your hair into uniform parts.

3. Shape the waves using your comb and your fingers, working in one direction until you reach the end of your hair.

4. Repeat the process on the other side.

5. Dry your hair using a hair dryer to set the waves in place.

Adapting the Style

If you want to adapt the classic finger wave style for a more modern look, try creating waves that are less uniform or combining them with a messy bun or updo.

Finger Waves for Special Occasions

Finger waves are a versatile hairstyle that works for a range of special occasions. Here are some examples of finger wave hairstyles that would be perfect for weddings, proms, or holiday parties:

1. Gatsby-Inspired Updo: Create a low bun and adorn it with a headband or a glitter hair accessory for a glamorous Gatsby-inspired look.

2. Romantic Half-Up Waves: Pin back the top of your hair and create loose, romantic waves to wear over your shoulders.

3. Chic Chignon: Create sleek finger waves at the crown and pin the rest of your hair in a low, elegant chignon.

Adapting the Style

When adapting finger waves for special occasions, consider the dress style and event setting. Finger waves can be dressed up with glittery hair accessories or downplayed with understated jewelry and makeup.


Finger waves are a classic vintage hairstyle that can be easily adapted to suit modern tastes. With this step-by-step guide, you can create finger waves at home and experiment with different styles to find the perfect look for any occasion. Don’t be afraid to try out new adaptations, and be sure to make use of our helpful resources for learning more about finger waves and other vintage hairstyles.

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