InStyle September 28, 2023



The 12 Best Cuts for Wavy Hair


Haircuts for waves offer the perfect blend of texture and movement, supplying endless options for styling. Whether you're coveting a tousled lob or flowing layers for fall, it's time to get inspired. Here, experts share tips for finding the perfect haircut for your waves and enhancing your natural bends.


Jenna Spino is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.
Raven Hurtado is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


“Long layers, face-framing layers, and layered shags, all help accentuate natural waves and make them appear wavier or even curly. They are super easy wash-and-wear cuts,” says Jenna Spino, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

“Bobs are also great for wavy hair, especially hair that is slightly wavy and needs a little help getting there. The weight of longer hair can pull it down, so bobs can be great to get more waves,” adds Spino's colleague Raven Hurtado. Hurtado also says that layers are also good for wavy hair because they remove weight and bulk from the length while adding definition and movement.

How to Enhance a Wavy Haircut

If you want your wavy haircut to have more body and movement, Hurtado suggests asking your stylist to add long layers to create more contrast and definition. “By adding longer layers to a wavy haircut, you’ll see more movement and life,” she explains. 

Both experts also recommend applying styling products to enhance the natural shape of your waves to give them bounce. “I like to use a curl cream to enhance wavy haircuts and reduce frizz,” says Spino. “On next day hair, use a curl refresher spray or a texture spray to give your hair lift. Whenever I see a few pieces of hair that don’t look good, one of my favorite tricks is to take a small curling iron and wrap the hair around it like a wand. Using a diffuser can also enhance your waves.”

Maintaining a Wavy Haircut

Maintaining a wavy haircut combines proper care, styling techniques, and products that enhance and preserve your waves. Below, our stylists have recommended some of their top tips for keeping your wavy haircut looking its best:

1. Use a Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

Choose products designed to hydrate and enhance waves. Look for sulfate-free options to avoid drying out your hair.

2. Use a Wide-Toothed Comb

When detangling wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb to prevent breakage and maintain your wave pattern.

3. Apply a Leave-In Conditioner

After washing, apply a leave-in conditioner to keep your waves soft and manageable.

4. Gently Towel Dry Hair

Pat your hair dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing it vigorously to prevent frizz and preserve your waves.

5. Air Dry or Use a Diffuser

Let your hair air dry whenever possible to maintain your natural wave pattern. If you need to use a blow dryer, attach a diffuser to minimize frizz and enhance waves.

6. Use the Scrunching Technique

To enhance your waves, scrunch your hair gently while it's damp. You can also apply a curl-enhancing product before scrunching.

7. Avoid Heavy Products

Use lightweight, wave-enhancing styling products to define your waves without weighing them down.

8. Protect from Heat Damage

If you must use heat styling tools, apply a heat protectant and use a low-heat setting to avoid damaging your waves.

9. Get Regular Trims

Visit your hairstylist for regular trims every 6-8 weeks to remove split ends and maintain the shape of your wavy haircut.

10. Protect your Hair at Night

Use a satin or silk pillowcase to reduce friction and prevent frizz while you sleep. You can also loosely braid your hair or use a silk scrunchie to prevent tangling.

11. Use a Sea Salt Spray

If you want to enhance your waves further, you can use a sea salt spray to create a beachy texture.

12. Avoid Excessive Manipulation

Try not to touch your hair too frequently or brush it excessively throughout the day, as this can disrupt your wave pattern.

13. Be Kind to Yourself

Remember that everyone's hair is unique, and it may take some experimentation to find the best routine and products for your specific wavy hair type.

Haircuts for Waves Inspiration

1. Medium-Length Waves

“I like this medium length haircut on Taylor Swift because the bangs give a youthful look, and the length of the cut is light and fresh,” says Hurtado. “To try this cut, ask your stylist to cut the length of your hair below the collarbone and to texturize your bangs for softness."

2. Short Curly Bobs

"Curly bobs are a super easy way to wear waves," says Spino. "Ask for a bob with some long layers [tailored to where] you want the length to be. To style, apply your favorite curl cream and diffuse or air dry." 

3. Long Layered Bob

“I like this long wavy bob with face-framing layers because the layers enhance the waves. This type of cut works on every hair type,” says Hurtado. “To try this cut, ask your stylist for the length to hit at the collar bone, with long layers throughout the back to remove weight and long face-framing layers for lift and volume.”

4. Short Layered Bob

The versatility of this cut makes it chic and classic. You can wear it wavy, straight, or slicked back, and it will still look great! "To achieve this look, have it cut one length below the jawline with long face-framing layers to soften the features around the face," says Hurtado. "To style it, use a mousse for body and scrunch up for texture. Part it on the side and use a hairspray to tuck the hair behind your ears for a sleek look."

5. Long Layered Cut

“This is a basic long layered cut. I like the ease of air drying that you get with a basic long layer cut. All you need to do is to put some product in and go,” says Spino. “If need be, you can take a curling iron to some pieces to enhance the waves."

6. Short Shag

This look is fun, free, airy, and requires little maintenance. "To ask for this cut, ask for shorter layers to give a shag-like feeling," says Hurtado. "To style this cut, twirl sections with your fingers to get more defined waves. Use a diffuser to accentuate the waves and to give them volume." 

7. Long Layers

"I love a simple long-layer haircut because it is easy to manage and maintain," says Spino, who suggests enhancing curly or waved looks with a curling iron for extra definition. "Be sure to use a heat protectant before curling," she says. "Allow curls to cool and run your fingers through and finish with a texture spray or oil."

8. Inverted Bob With Bangs

This wavy inverted bob with bangs frames the face and accentuates the cheekbones. "To ask for a similar cut, have the length cut at the jawline with layers that are texturized and choppy bangs above the eyebrows," says Hurtado. "To style, use a lightweight oil to keep it tamed, shiny, and polished."

9. Blunt Textured Bob

Bob haircuts are a super chic way to wear waves. This blunt textured bob is a pretty low maintenance bob, as far as bobs go. It can be air dried or styled. "I like to style this type of bob with a Trademark Beauty Sunny Styler. It's great because it can be used to straighten or curl," says Spino. "Taking horizontal sections, rock the iron back and forth, creating a bend. This can also be achieved with a curling iron or wand. Curl only wrapping the hair around once or twice, leaving the ends out. Finish with a texture spray."

10. Long Bob With Side Part

This long bob with side part is universally flattering, anyone can wear it! "To ask for this cut, ask for the length to be cut at the shoulders and have long layers cut into it for movement," says Hurtado. "To style this cut, use a sea salt spray for texture and part it at the side for extra body." 

11. Layered Lob

Layered lobs are perfect for those wanting an in-between length. "Ask for a cut around the collar bone with some face-framing pieces. This cut can also look great air-dried," says Spino. "To get this look, blow out your hair with a round brush and use a curling iron, like Trademark Beauty Mood. Finish with a texture spray to get a tousled look." 

12. Cropped Waves

This style is great if you want your waves to have some length and volume in the front and more of a short cropped cut at the back. "To ask for this cut, request that the back be shorter than the front and keep the front long enough to tuck behind the ears," says Hurtado. "To style this cut, you can use a curling iron to accentuate the waves and then comb out the waves with a wide tooth comb to make the style more glamorous."