How to do a finger wave hairstyle

Fingerwaves are a foundation style for so many vintage hair looks.  They first became popular in the 1920’s.  However, fingerwaves are still used in many modern hairstyles, and recently I’ve seen Rhianna, Charlize Theron and Gwen Stefani sporting waved hairdos.

There are a number of different ways to achieve this cute waved style.  The most traditional method is to wet-set your hair into waves and sleep  in them overnight.  However, this method requires special equipment, like wave clips, which are difficult and expensive to buy.  There’s also a lot of room for error when you use an overnight wet set.  If you toss and turn in your sleep, you could wind up pulling out all your work, and waking up to a horrible hair surprise!  You can also use a special pin-curl setting pattern to achieve this look, but again, it’s time consuming and easy to make mistakes.

To get my finger waves, I use mousse to set my hair.  Mousse is ideal for this look, because it takes a little while to set, so you have a bit of play time to get the look right.  On the other hand, it doesn’t take too long to dry, so you aren’t waiting around for ages for your hair to set.

For this look, you’ll need:

– Mousse

– Hairspray

– Hair slides or bobby pins

– A comb (most combs are suitable for this look.  A wide-tooth comb may not produce the same results as a fine-toothed one).

This look works on both long and short hair.  It’s suitable for most hair types, although thicker hair may be more difficult to style.

The wave technique is a little tricky to get the hang of.  You might need to watch the video a few times and then practice a little to get the look right.  The good thing about using the mousse to wave your hair is that if you make a mistake, you can just brush it out and try again!

In the video, I do quite small waves.  Once you’ve got the hang of the technique, you can play around with the size and direction of your waves.  This is a really versatile style, which can be worn with vintage or modern outfits.

Have fun with this, and I hope this was a helpful video.



  1. This is great! I’ve been pin curling my hair a lot lately. Do you watch Boardwalk Empire? It’s inspired me to try out some vintage hairstyles myself. I can’t find a good photo of her hair on line, but one of the women’s hair styles in season 3 is soo pretty. *kind of* like a gibson tuck sort of thing with pin curls on the side, and when she takes out her hair its so wavey and pretty.
    Anyways, that would be my request for more hair tutorials- some more vintage hairstyles, and what to do with hair that’s been pin curled. I brush it out like you’re supposed to, but it gets really foofy and big and I’m not sure where to go from there as far as updos. 🙂

    • I haven’t watched Boardwalk Empire, but I’ve been meaning to for ages. I’ve got a huge list of shows I want to watch, and I think it will be one of the next ones I check out (along with Mad Men and Breaking Bad).

      I can definitely do more hair tutorials. I’ll put my thinking cap on and come up with some good vintage do’s for you.

      Pin curls are really fun to wear. I often don’t bother brushing mine out, because I like having long ringlets. Plus, brushing out gives so much volume, and it can be difficult to wrangle my hair into any sort of style! I’ll see what I can come up with for you though!

      • Thanks! Today I didn’t brush them, I just ran my fingers through a little to loosen them up and they look pretty cute. I pinned the sides up a little and it looks nice 🙂
        But yes, you have to watch all 3 of those shows!! Those are our faves for sure. Right now we’re on Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire while we’re waiting for the Mad Men and Breaking Bad to start up again.
        I think you’d like them all! Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad can be a bit…gross at times. I close my eyes at some parts, but they’re worth getting through those bits 🙂

      • Glad to help! That’s usually how I wear mine when I do a pin-curl set: I just separate them a little with my fingers and loosely pin up the top layer. So pretty.
        I’m still planning on doing a post about styling pin-curls. It might give you some more ideas and options for a bit of variety.
        The gross-ness is the reason I’ve kinda been putting off watching Breaking Bad. I think I’ll be hiding under the couch cushions for some parts, but I still want to watch it.

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