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Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial~Beginner Finger Waves

Finger waves are a developing skill for me. Those of you have have gone to beauty school know that they are really a foundation for dedicated hair dressing. If you can master finger waves, it has long been determined that you can master almost anything in the hairstyling field. Some of the more elaborate and deeply ridged styles of the 20's and 30's are veritable works of art and I'll be the first to admit, they baffle me.

Since this era is not what I consider the most flattering,it's hard for me to truly dedicate much time to it. However, I am always up for a challenge and so I will continue to push for the intricately waved sets. For now, I have been focusing on a soft finger wave, similar to the picture of Ruby Keeler at the top of this entry.
Duckbill clips make this relatively simple and a good option for a 'beginner' finger wave set. Waving Clamps are another good option, to further accentuate the ridge. I will attempt a video tutorial using them at a later date. A hooded dryer is also a great investment, if you plan on doing this very often. It will take a very long time for the set to dry, since water waving requires hair that is almost sopping wet. Not quite dripping, but pretty dang moist.

Instructions for finger waving are difficult to understand in written form...for me
anyway. But this book has some really good illustrations that make the jargon more easily understood. Keep in mind that this style was actually conceived for wavy haired ladies...as a means to harness those lovely undulations. It is difficult to create a lasting finger wave set on straight hair. Most women of the era got a permanent wave to assist in accomplishing this popular style but it certainly can be done on straight hair, with persistence. As a matter of fact most beauty schools make finger waving straight hair part of the final exam, since it's quite the challenge. So if you choose to try it out, practice on hair of varying textures and thicknesses to get really comfortable w/ the method.

To assist in setting, a variety of products can be used but you will likely need a generous amount of whichever product you choose. Hair schools usually suggest gel and gel definitely helps the hair retain its shape. However, I usually find that gel, once it's combed thru, tends to flake. A gel that I love, and will soon be selling here on my site, is Layrite Gel by Hawleywood's. It smells lovely, hold great, and doesn't flake after brushing. Setting lotions are also ideal. Lottabody is a liquid that you must dilute with water before applying. The product I used in the attached video is Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion and it worked beautifully on Tori's hair. Can't wait to try it out on my own pin curl sets. I'll keep you posted with the results.

Until then, here is a brief tutorial for a soft finger wave and I hope to revisit the style soon, as I become more adept at the deeply ridged version of the look.


Maggie said...

Awesome video! I can't wait to try this on my friend, who has the best short hair for this style.

By the way, this is Maggie from facebook, the one who was talking about Ginger's hairstyle in Stage Door. I love your blog and your videos!

BaronessVonVintage said...

thanks for this!! I am one of those wavy hair gals who wants to put my waves into more polished form. Most videos and guides show how to finger waves on women with straight hair and hair that is much longer than mine. I'm going to check out these resources and products to help me in my own quest for better finger waves. I'd love it if you could show how one could do them on one's own hair!

Stefanie Valentine said...

I wish i could master fingerwaves! I've only attempted it a couple of times half-heartedly so maybe if i put more effort into i may get more success haha. I can't wait to see your results xx

jewlover2 said...

Baroness...I don't like the results in my own hair. Plus, my bangs make it difficult. Otherwise I certainly would have done it in my own hair. As it stands, my Veronica Lake waves will have to suffice. :)

Pasiphae said...

Great video, very helpfull! I bought the Vintage hairstyling book that has a similar hairstyle, I just need to buy the pomade, the tools and everything else I need to achieve the looks (and lots of luck of course!).

Laryssa Herbert said...


the freelancer's fashionblog said...

MY grandmother still fingerwaves her hair... :)

I've never manages (or actually even tried) to create proper finger waves, although I sometimes do a kind of fingerwavish style with a s-shaped wave in front fastening it with bobby pins. But now I'm tempted to give it a go for real! WIll be interesteing to see your up-coming "sequal" too :)

Anonymous said...

Oh no foam wrap will not do! I've been researching these for my book (out in April) Perpetual Flapper. You need Lottabody Setting Lotion, which can be found at Sally's Beauty. OMG that stuff is perfection!

With that I'm able to do the soft waves (actual fingers and comb) or the 'hard' waves with the clips.

jewlover2 said...

Hala...I actually like this stuff better than Lottabody. I've been using Lottabody for a long while but I like the condition of the hair after using Motions, and the look lasts just as long. :)

Anonymous said...

You must have more compliant hair than me! Foam wraps work good for extremely soft looks, but I could not get those finger waves to set (less with clips) without Lottabody.

Smooth N Shine gel is good for a really soft look, depending how willing the hair is.

Koddy said...


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