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Old Hollywood hair has made a big comeback!

Who doesn’t love big bouncy, sassy waves and those gorgeous 1940’s waves are roaring back. Retro waves can be seen on celebrities and beautiful heads of hair everywhere. So if you’ve been wanting to give them a try, here are a few tips and tricks for getting the best waves for your hair type.

Retro Waves

The soft and beautiful old Hollywood waves come in all different shapes and sizes. Some waves are tighter and some are extremely loose curls, while sometimes you’ll see an ever-so-slight wave in the hair. You need to be able to work with your hair type to get the right wave that you’re looking for. Some hair may have a natural slight wave while some may have a tighter natural curl. Some hair is stick-straight, and has no body or volume at all. Using the right products and a process that will work best with your hair will make your waves last longer throughout the day.

Getting That Retro Wave

If your hair has some natural body to it already, creating some retro waves will be simple. Start by gently combing through clean damp hair with a wide tooth comb. If you have thick hair, apply a good leave-in conditioner to your hair after washing. Spray the hair with curl booster and gently blow dry on a low heat setting while gently scrunching each section of hair.

Even if you have some texture to your hair, but it isn’t thick, let the hair dry naturally or give yourself a blowout with a round brush after using a heat protectant. After it is completely dry, use a curling iron to get some wavy curls all over.

For finer hair, try using a thickening spray on damp hair. Clip small sections into pin curls with small clips. Blow dry on a lower setting then remove the clips and gently put the curls in place with your fingers.

For a more feminine and tighter curl that can withstand movement, you can use a combination of methods to get your desired results. Take sections of the hair and spray with a light hold styling spray, then wrap them around a curling iron. When you take them off, gently pin them to the head with a pin. When each section is cool, remove the pin and softly brush through each curl for added softness.

If you have a good natural curl to your hair, then as long as you have a good haircut and some great products, you can achieve a good retro curl as well. Use an anti-frizz product to hold the curls together. Sometimes scrunching will give you a tighter curl; so instead, try setting the hair in the diffuser for a curl that is not as tight.

Benefits of a Retro Wave

As long as the humidity is not a frizz-inducing factor, the retro wave should stay in the hair for more than a day, as long as you use a good flexible styling spray. Day 2 hair can be worn down again, as long as you don’t mind re-activating certain curls that may have “wilted.” You can also wear some great up dos, and half-up dos with retro waves. High or low messy buns look great with some wave, as do messy braids and pony tails. This is also a great way to hide second day hair when it has gotten frizzy or flat in bed.

Retro Waves in Pop Culture History

It seems like old Hollywood retro waves have made an appearance in every decade starting in the 1940’s era. This was a decade when Hollywood vixens brought glamour into the everyday lives of women. With a deep side part and a good set of hot rollers going in the same direction, this look can easily be achieved. After the rollers have cooled and been removed, gently brush through the curl to loosen and create a soft wave. A curled short bob really gives a 1940’s throwback style.

Thanks to Farrah Fawcett in the 1970’s, the retro waves were really kicked into overdrive. For this style, a ¾ inch to 1 inch barrel curling iron is used. Wrap sections around the iron, then pin them in place while they cool. Then gently brush the curl into soft waves for a great retro 70’s style.

The 1980’s brought the retro waves with a more rocker style. Styled the same way as the 1970’s for the most part, the 1980’s waves were all about the bangs. Change the direction of the curling iron for an edgier wave. Gently brush these soft waves out so that the hair becomes fuller all over.

Whether you are going for old Hollywood waves, or simply retro waves, there is a way to style these gentle curls for every hair type. Having a cut that will encourage texture in the hair will make for an easier process. Also, the products that are used and the styling methods play an extremely important part in achieving this style. It can be pulled off by all hair types, and most lengths. So get your leave-ins, your heat protectants, your styling products and get curling for a fantastic wavy look.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing