Waves 101: How to Get 360 Waves - Complete Guide
What Are Waves
In simple terms, 360 waves (or 180 waves, or 720 waves) are laid down curls. This pattern of hair is most commonly seen among Black men and dates back as far as the beginning of the civilization amongst Egyptians.
Waves can be achieved by constant brushing of short hair. Over time, this constant treatment of short hair, forms curls and ripples on the head, creating the illusion of waves; just as you would see in the ocean.
They come in various forms based on how the wave patterns are formed on the head. For examples, waves that form only on top of the head are classified as 180 waves. Waves that form all around the head are classified as 360 waves. And finally waves that form vertically around the hair are classified as 720 waves.
No matter, your pattern waves have always been known as a classic look for black men. Not only does it make your hair look neat, but it also makes your hair the topic of discussion in any setting.
If you are interested in getting starting your wave journey or taking your waves to a whole new level, look no further. This article will breakdown everything you need to know about getting wave patterns and more!
Can Anyone Get Waves?
Before you try to get waves, you have to understand if you can even get it in the first place. So can anyone get waves? Well, assuming everyone trying to get waves has short hair, the short answer is yes. But it is a bit more complicated than that. Technically, anyone can get waves but of course, you don't see everyone with the hairstyle. Let's breakdown who can get waves and who cannot.
What is your Waves Hair Type?
Certain types and patterns are more favorable to achieving the wave pattern. More often waves are more easily formed in hair that is very kinky.
There are 4 main types of hair that every hair falls into. Type 1 (straight hair), Type 2 (wavy hair), Type 3 (curly hair), and Type 4 (kinky hair).
Type 1 Hair
Type 1 is straight and it is mostly found in Caucasians or Asians. The hair is extremely straight and thin. This is the straight type of hair on any human and does not tend to curl naturally. Type 1 hair does not favor waves.
Type 2 Hair
Type 2 hair is similar to Type 1 hair in that it is also found naturally in Caucasians expect, the hair tends to have long curls. The long curl pattern of the hair are noticeable only if the hair is real long and are almost non-existent when the hair is cut short. As such, Type 2 hair does not favor waves although it is not impossible to achieve waves with this type of hair.
Type 3 Hair
Type 3 hair is mostly found in those of mixed ethnicity. Individuals with type 3 hair have medium coiled hair. When the hair is very short, you can typically still see the coil patterns in the hair. This type of hair is great for waves but not ideal. Individuals with Type 3 hair can get waves but you will have that their waves are very spaced apart compared to those with type 4 hair.
Type 4 Hair
Type 4 hair is the best type of hair for 360 waves. This hair type is mostly seen in people of African descent or Black individuals. The pattern of this type of hair is extremely coiled and tightly packed. This type of hair is very ideal for waves because the waves can easily form when you brush or extend the tightly coiled hair. Anyone with Type 4 can get 360 waves provided they take the time to get waves.
What You Need to Get Waves
Before you can start your wave journey, there are a few things you need to pick up from your local health and beauty store.
Every wave journey will take time and consistency. The items I mention below will help speed up the 360 wave process.
Here are the most essential things you need to start your wave journey:
- Brush (you need both a soft and medium bristle brush)
- Pomade (get one that is thick like the sportin' wave one)
- Durag (any durag is fine)
- Shampoo (any shampoo will do)
- Conditioner (any conditioner will do)
- A Haircut (you need to get a level 1 haircut)
How To Get Waves for Beginners
Getting waves is not as hard as most people think. With patience and consistency, most people who follow a strict guide, start to see waves in as little as 1 month. We breakdown how to get waves in general. We will also teach how to get waves in different forms, including 180, 360 and 720 waves.
Step 1: Get A Wave length Haircut
Before starting any wave journey, you need a haircut. Your haircut will depend on where you are on your wave journey. If you are just starting out your wave journey, your need to start fresh with a low haircut. If you have been waving for a while, your initial haircut for these waves does not need to be too low.
There are a few haircuts you can get for waves. Here are some haircut ideas for waves:
- Level 1.5 or 2 top hair with an all around bald fade (go with level 2 if you have been waving for a while)
- All around level 1.5 or 2 haircut
- All around level 1.5 or 2 haircut with side and back taper
- Level 1.5 or 2 haircut with moulette at the back
Step 2: Shampoo and Condition Your Hair
Your hair will become dry and you will need to shampoo and condition the hair to keep in the moisture. Use natural shampoos and conditioners when you shampoo and condition the hair. This will keep the hair looking healthy and moisturized.
Apply the shampoo in the shower as instructed on the shampoo bottle. However, for waves, make sure to brush the hair in the shower after the shampoo is applied to the hair.
During shampooing, make sure to start brushing your hair in the shower. You should make it a habit to brush your hair every time you are in the shower or when the hair is wet.
How often should you shampoo your hair for waves?
You should not shampoo the hair everyday. In fact some people choose to opt out of shampoo because over shampooing, dries the hair and removes essential oils from it. Instead of shampooing the hair everyday, some shampooing everyday, opt to shampoo a maximum of twice per week. Always accompany your shampoo with a conditioner to restore the oils lost in the shower.
Some wavers skip the shampooing session and only use conditioners as a way to keep their hair moisturized. With this method, you can wash the hair everyday.
Step 3: Apply Your Favorite Pomade
Now that your hair is shampooed, it is now time to apply your pomade of choice. The job of the pomade is the keep the hair moisturized and sleek enough to brush. It also helps in laying the hair down which is ideal for creating the wave pattern.
Apply a dime sized amount of pomade to the hair and massage it throughout the hair. After this, use the palms of your hand to go over the hair in the same direction as you would brush it.
Step 4: Start Brushing
After (and during your shampoo session), you want to immediately start brushing your hair.
What brush should you use for waves? When you first get your haircut, you should use a soft brush. As the hair grows, you want to start using the medium bristle brush.
How do you brush your hair to get waves? Since you want the waves to form only on the top of your hair, you want to brush only the top of your hair. Take your time to brush your hair only in the direction it grow. Start from the crown at the back of your hair and brush the hair forward towards your forehead, sides and back. Repeat for approximately 5-15 minutes.
This will require a lot of commitment because it is the single most important thing you need to get waves. Brush in the shower, when you are at home, when watching t.v., when using the bathroom, and everywhere else. Take your brush with you to school or even work. Brush, brush and brush some more.
You need to brush as often as possible to form the wave pattern on your head.
Things to avoid when brushing waves:
- Never brush dry hair
- Never brush against the grain of the hair
- Always use premium brushes
Step 5: Wear a Durag
After you have finished your brush session, you need to wear a durag. A durag is a silk material that helps to keep your hair pressed and down. You want the durag tight enough on the head to press it down but not too tight to give you a headache.
Here is how to tie a durag:
- Place the durag on your head and line the center seam of the durag with the centre of your head. Make sure the front edge of the durage sites between your eyebrows and hairline.
- Wrap the ties of the durage behind the head. Take each tie in one hand and cross them over each other at the back of the head. Make sure to keep the ties flat and not rolled. The ties should lay in the crevis between your ear and head
- From the back, bring the crossed ties to the front of the head, making sure to keep the ties as flat as possible. Cross them over each other on the front edge of the durag. After crossing them, bring the ties toward the back of the head
- At the back of the head, tie a knot with the ties. Be sure not to make it to too tight or you will get a head.
- Pull the flap at the back of the durag down to ensure that the durag is pressed firmly on the head
How often should you wear a durag? You should wear the durag everyday, right after your brushing session and when you sleep. After your brushing sessions, you should be wearing the durag for at least an hour.
Is it safe to wear a durag all day? Yes, as long as it is not to tight on your head or gives you a headache. If you experience any headaches from wearing a durag, you should immediately stop wearing it and let your head rest.
After wearing a durag, you can wash the hair with water, brush while washing, apply a conditioner or pomade, brush again, then reapply the durag. Repeat this everyday.
How to Get 180, 360, or 720 Waves
The method explained above is a general guideline you can use to get the 3 different kinds of waves (180, 360, 720). However, you have to modify a few of the steps to get the different kinds of waves.
How to Get 180 Waves
180 waves are the most basic and easiest form of waves to get. These waves form only on the top of the head and is usually accompanied by an all around fade or a part at the top of the head.
These types of waves were mostly popular among rappers in the 90s. Rappers like Nas, Raekwon, Drake and Michael B Jordan are most famous for rocking the 180 waves.
The 180 waves haircut is most ideal for Type 3 and 4 hair. These hair types are very coiled at the top of the hair compared to the sides and back.
To get 180 waves you only have to modify how you brush your waves.
How to Brush your hair for 180 waves
To brush your hair in order to get 180 waves, you only have to brush the top of your head, from the crown to the forehead. This method of brushing will only give you waves at the front of the head (or top) in one direction. This is why it is known as the 180 waves.
Best Hair Cuts for 180 Waves
The best haircuts for 180 waves are those that leave the top of the head high enough to get waves. For obvious reasons going bald is not ideal for 180 waves.
The best haircut for 180 waves are:
1) 180 waves haircut, level 1.5 with all around bald fade
2) 180 wave haircut, level 1.5 all around with side taper
3) All around 1.5 wave cut taper with part in the front
4) All around 1.5 wave cut with no taper
How to Get 360 Waves
To get 360 waves, you only have to modify how to modify the way you brush your hair.
How to brush your hair for 360 waves
Brushing your hair for 360 waves is a lot more complicated than it is for 180 waves. When brushing your have for 360 waves, it is important to know which direction your hair is growing not just at the from but at the sides and back. You always have to brush in the direction of hair growth at all times.
To brush your hair for 360 waves do this:
- The front of the hair: brush the front of the hair as you would if you were getting 180 waves. Always start brushing from the crown, then forward towards your forehead. For the sides at the top of the head, brush in the direction of the crown.
- The sides of the hair:brush the sides of your hair from the crown and down toward your ears. Keep in the mind the direction in which the crown grows in the hair.
- The back of the hair: brush the back of the hair down as you would if you were brushing the front. Always start from the crown and brush down.
- Repeat the process all around the hair until you get the desire result.
Best Haircuts for 360 waves are those that leave enough hair all around the hair to brush. Typically, most people start seeing waves when the hair is cut at a level 2
The best haircut for 360 waves are:
- All around 1.5 360 wave haircut taper with fade
- All around 1.5 wave haircut with no taper
- All around 1.5 wave cut with no taper
How to Get 720 Waves
To get 720 waves, you only have to modify how to modify the way you brush your hair. This form of waves are much harder to achieve and require a lot more precision on how you brush and train the hair.
How to brush your hair for 720 waves
Brushing your hair for 720 waves is a bit difficult than brushing it for 360 waves or 180 waves. 720 waves require special concentration when brushing to get the right pattern. Follow these steps to get 720 waves.
Here is how to brush 720 waves:
- Hold the brush vertically instead of the usual horizontal way you would hold it for 360 and 180 waves.
- The front of the hair: instead of brushing from the crown down, you will brush from the crown towards the side of the ear in which the crown is spinning. Do this in sections, starting from the top of the head and moving down towards the forehead.
- the side of the hair: continue holding the brush vertically and instead of brushing from the side of your head down, continue the side motion as in the front, and brush from where you left off at the from towards the back of the hair. You are basically trying to brush vertical circles around your hair. Make sure to brush in one direction all around the head.
- the back of the side: from where you left off in the side, continue brushing vertically from the side towards the back of the hair. Make sure to go in the same direction as the direction in which your grown grows.
Typically this method of getting waves takes much longer than conventional methods. As such, exercise patience if this is the type of waves you want.
How to Maintain Your Waves
Over time, your hair will grow and will become messy. You want to make sure that you give it a trim in order to get your waves going.
For beginners, you want to get a haircut at least after 4 weeks of constant brushing. When you cut your hair, don't cut it too low or you might loss your progress. Instead, cut the hair at a wave length higher than your previous haircut. For examples, if you cut your hair at level 2 to start your hair, your next haircut and subsequent haircuts should be at a level 2.5.
This way you are keeping the progress of the previous hair length and training new hair it grows.
This also bring me to the importance of a concept of wolfing.
Wolfing is the acting of letting your hair grow for a few months while you are waving.
Why is wolfing important for wavers? As you wave and continue brushing the hair, you are training the hair to form waves. Wolfing allows you to training the low levels of the hair longer, making the lower levels of the hair more susceptible to waves. After you wolf for 2-3 months, you will notice that your waves appear sharper and are more visible compare to if you didn't wave.
Most people use wolfing to speed up the wave process as they should because it works!
It is important to note that with wolfing, your hair will become messy. It is important to give your hair the occasional line ups while you wolf to keep the hair neat
Other Types of Waves
It is true, your head is not the only place you can get waves. In theory, you can get waves anywhere hair grows as long as you have the right type of hair.
How to Get Beard Waves
The most interesting place people have got waves in on their beard. Beard ways are a treat to see as only few can grow a beard long enough to achieve this. However, if you are ambitious, we will show you how to get waves on your beard.
Here is how to get beard waves:
Step 1: Make sure you have a full beard with type 4 hair. Cut your beard how down to a level 2 or 3.
Step 2: Shampoo, condition and oil the beard
Step 3: Brush the hair constantly as you would for 180 or 360 waves. Make sure to brush the beard hair with the grain of the hair.
Step 4: It is not required but you could place a durag on the beard after brushing.
Summary of How to Get 360 Waves, 180 Waves, and 720 Waves
Getting 360 waves, 180 waves, and 720 waves is not as hard as people make it seem. By being constant and persistent, anyone with the right hair type can get 360 waves fast. Above all methods, the key thing to remember when trying to get waves is to constantly brush.
Which is your favourite wave hairstyle? Comment below?