Summer Festival Style Hack: Undone Waves

One of the most popular, effortlessly-cool summer festival looks is the undone wave. Easy texture, length, and volume come together for a stylish-without-trying hair style that’s easy to create and maintain, whether you’re outdoors enjoying music, the beach, or for a casual evening look.

Step-By-Step with Haley from Salon 77 West

In this video tutorial from Vagaro’s Try This series, Haley Smith from Salon 77 West in Pleasanton, California will walk you step-by-step through creating her signature undone wave look. In this demo, Haley will be showing you how to curl hair to create voluminous loose waves that are perfect for work, play, or festival season! Haley walks you through each step of her technique using a large barreled curling iron to achieve effortless, beachy hair. Haley provides pro tips along the way to make sure your hair is protected during heat styling, so you don’t compromise the health of your hair to get a salon look.  

Recreate the Look at Home

To re-create Haley’s undone waves, you’ll need the following tools and products. Contact a stylist near you to book this service or find the professional products used in this demo!  

Step 1

Prepare the hair for heat styling with your preferred combination of a thermal protectant and smoothing serum. Haley’s preferred products to prepare the hair for heat styling are Kérastase Ciment Thermique and Kérastase Oléo Relax, which are available at salons carrying the professional Kérastase line. Next, using a small amount of Kérastase Créme Magistrale or comparable light hold leave-in treatment, emulsify product in hands and apply to hair, focusing primarily on the ends, where hair is most dry. Brush through the hair to make sure the product is evenly distributed.  

Distribute product evenly through hair

Step 2

Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, section it off and secure with clips to ensure a professional result. Haley recommends sectioning hair at the temples and working your waves from the bottom of your hair up towards the crown. If your hair is long or particularly thick, you may want to divide into three or more subsections to achieve a uniform look.

Section hair at temples

Step 3

Haley recommends a 1 ¼ barrel professional curling iron, used on the hottest setting. However, if your hair is chemically compromised, thin, or fragile, you may want to use a lower setting. To achieve Haley’s look, begin your styling with a small subsection from behind the ear. Wrap the hair from the hair’s mid-shaft around the barrel towards your face, leaving the ends out to pull through as you slide the curling iron down. Undo the top loop of the wrap as you begin to slide the sub-section of hair down the curling iron.

Wrap from the mid-shaft, so you’ll have room to slide to ends

Step 4

For a more natural wave, Haley recommends wrapping the hair around the temples in the opposite direction, away from the face. When working with the sub-sections in the temple area, don’t hold the hair around the iron for as long, as face-framing hair tends to be finer and responds to heat styling quicker.

Alternate direction of wrapping for a more natural wave

Step 5

Continue wrapping small sections of hair, gently pulling down to the ends. When you’ve completed the section of your hair, allow the curls to rest while they’re hot and cool down. When the curls have cooled, unfasten the crown section of your hair.

Unfasten crown after completing lower curls

Step 6

Once your lower section is styled and cool, move on to styling the crown. For Haley’s signature look, she prefers more volume at the crown and tighter waves in the temple area framing the face. To achieve this effect, Haley suggests using smaller sections of hair when styling the crown than used when styling the lower section of hair. Focus on creating tighter curls in the crown and around the face by smaller sections, tighter wrapping, and except where the hair is fine or delicate, a slightly longer application of heat.

Focus on crown area

Step 7

To re-create Haley’s look, spend most of your styling time focused on the face-framing sub-sections of hair, as those are what you’ll see most, what will be photographed, and these are the sections of hair that tend to “go flat” first. The tightness or looseness of your curl is dependent on the thickness of your hair and the size of the section you curl, so adapt your technique to suit your desired look. As with the section below, as you finish curling each section, allow the curls to fall and cool without touching them, which loosens the curl pre-emptively.

Focus on the face-framing sub-sections of hair

Step 8

In the top section, to achieve more volume and avoid the hair “flattening” at the crown, wrap the curl as close to the root as possible. This will help you maintain the style throughout the day. When moving to the back of your head, Haley suggests having a second mirror handy, so you can see the section of hair you’re curling clearly before you apply the curling iron to it.

Step 9

Once you’ve completed curling your hair, allow the hair to cool down, and don’t touch the curls for at least 10 minutes. The more you allow your hair to rest before finishing the style, the longer the look will last. Be patient, it’ll pay off!

Let the hair cool down before finishing the look!

Step 10

To finish, start at the bottom of your head and rake upwards with your fingers, to gently loosen up the curls. Rake through to the root, gently breaking up the “barrels” of the curls to create a natural, beachy wave. At this step, apply your preferred combination of a light dry oil finishing spray and/or texturizing spray. Haley’s preferred products to finish out this look are Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and Kérastase V.I.P., available at professional salons carrying the Bumble and bumble and Kérastase lines.

The Finished Look

Adjust the amount of loosening, volumizing, and product to suit your individual style. Haley prefers a more voluminous, slightly edgy look, but the greatest part of the undone wave look is that it’s customizable to your hair length, thickness, and your individual style. Your finished style will have an air of effortless cool that’s perfect for the job, the beach, an outdoor festival, or nighttime events.

Watch Haley in Action

Want to see more clips like this? Don’t miss Vagaro’s Try This root tapping balayage tutorial with Salon 77 West owner and Master colorist Annie Miller, as well as our other Try This and Be Awesome Vagaro videos, focused on industry services, trends, and techniques.

Ready to get an undone wave of your own? Need to locate the professional products Haley recommends in this demo? Use Vagaro to book a stylist in your area, or to find Bumble and bumble or Kérastase retailers near you!

Header Image: Kevon Thompson via Vagaro