Complete Guide To Getting 360 Waves
My Wave Journey
I’ve been in the “wave game” for about 18 years now. I started at the age of seven, when my father started cutting my hair. At first I didn’t know why he always insisted that I learn how to brush my hair in “that pattern” down from the crown, but after I started to see the waves ripple up I knew I was on to something. My dad was a waver, and thus I ended up learning the game from him. I don’t have “good” hair, neither does my father.
If I had to grade my hair it would be below average to bad. My hair is thick, coarse, dry, and naturally nappy. Lots of people think I have that “good hair.” I’ve even been asked if I’m Dominican more than once, but no, I’m just an African American man who knows how to take care of his hair. The reason I am sharing this with you is to show you that I have firsthand experience as to what it is like having to manage “bad hair.” I have no advantages. No good hair. Just a brush, the right products, and the right strategy.
A Word on “Wave Kits”
Like everything in life you should avoid the shortcut because it is usually bad for your health long-term. Waves and wave kits are no different. Think of it like working out. You can take 6 to 12 months of eating right, lifting, and sleeping and build your body or you can take a shortcut and get buff in 3-4 months. However if you take a shortcut like using steroids you’ll likely experience one of the multiple side effects such as decreased libido, heart enlargement, depression, etc. The same goes for waving up.
Wave kits are dangerous for your hair. The only thing they do is chemically relax your hair to make the waves appear faster than if you took the time to brush and use the correct natural products over a longer time span. Truth be told, the long term effects of using these chemicals on the scalp are not known but many people believe that it can lead to permanent hair damage, hair loss, scalp burns, and permanent skin damage.
Some wave kits are fine, they simply contain a combo pack of grease and moisturizers. Stay away from any wave kit that texturizes or relaxes your hair. As a rule of thumb, if the box says you have to leave some product in your hair for a certain amount of time while it “activates” then you don’t want to put it in your head!
Wave kits DO work…. But are you willing to pay the price? Put those kits in the trash and read on to learn how to do this the right way.
Taking Care of Your Hair!
The purpose of this article is not only to help you get those shiny, flat, “swagged up” waves but also help you learn complete hair management. A lot of young men of color do not know what they need to be doing to keep their hair soft, healthy, and manageable. That’s why you see so many cats walking around with dry frizzled up hair. There is no excuse for that.
The first thing in taking care of your hair is KEEPING IT CLEAN! I cannot stress that enough. If you let dirt and grime build up in your hair then you might as well not even try to get waves. If your hair is dirty you are going to be miserable, your scalp is going to itch, and you are going to hate life. If you have a natural problem like psoriasis or dry scalp then we can combat that. However, if you are the type of cat that just NEGLECTS his hair… I want you to go to CVS or Walgreens right now and grab some shampoos, take a shower, wash your hair, then come back and read the rest of this book.
A Word on Shampoo
While we are at is as well… a word on shampoos. A lot of black people do not know that some of these shampoos are more damaging to their hair than anything they can do themselves. Remember shampoo has chemicals in it, and some of those chemicals may not react with your hair the way you want it to. The shampoos on the market for the most part were not manufactured with the African American consumer in mind.
How to know if you should change shampoo:
- Your hair itches after you wash it
- You can get rid of your dandruff
- Your scalp is always dry
- Your scalp feels “tight” even after you wash it
- Your hair smells funny after you wash it (not like the flavor of the shampoo, but smells like a wet carpet or wet dog)
What you should do if you are having a problem with your shampoo:
- Go to Sally’s Beauty Supply and purchase a shampoo with all natural ingredients
- Wash your hair less often; rinse it instead of using shampoo some days
- Change shampoo brands
- If you are using a “flavored” shampoo, try the regular version
- Consider washing your hair with your own natural mix
- Consider washing your hair with egg yolk
- Pre-treat your hair before you wash it with apple cider vinegar or African Oil
If You Have Dry Scalp or Dandruff
This is a touchy subject because this is something I personally struggle with my own hair every single day. Dry skin runs in my family, and I have to deal with it. The good thing is thanks to that I have some strategies that can work for you. Remember, this isn’t just about getting waves. This is about total hair health.
The first thing you should do is determine if you have dandruff or dry scalp. They are not one and the same. Dandruff can largely be solved be a change in diet, or using over the counter dandruff prevention products. Dry scalp (aka psoriasis) is a hereditary trait that you will never be able to cure fully, but you can diminish it’s effects on your life if you manage it correctly.
If you have dandruff you likely are plagued by the large flakes of dandruff in your hair. They can be washed or combed out rather easily. The cause of dandruff is usually diet (yes, what you eat). Simply eating better and using dandruff removal products should help you get rid of dandruff.
Dry skin is a whole different beast. Dry skin will usually result in the small specs of your dry skin breaking off your scalp and getting in your hair. Usually people with dry scalp also have patches of dry skin on their necks and faces as well.
Depending on the severity of your skin problem you may wish to see a doctor. When I was a child I had a really bad episode where I had to see a doctor and they gave me a medical shampoo that really helped. If your scalp is really irritated and itches that badly then please see a dermatologist to see if you have a bigger problem than you realize. Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s about your health.
You can also buy dry scalp shampoo over the counter as well such as Nizoral or Neutrogena T-Gel:
Another thing to do for your dry skin is to keep it moisturized with daily rinsing and oiling of the scalp. African oil is good for this.
Also, if you have dry scalp try to stay out of the sun. Your scalp is just like the skin on the rest of your body and if you are having problems, then you should definitely stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you HAVE to be outdoors on a sunny day then wear a cap to protect your scalp.
And one final word, keep all non natural additives out of your hair! If you go swimming, IMMEDIATELY WASH YOUR HAIR AFTERWARDS. If you use conditioner, wash it out COMPLETELY when you are done.
Keep your hair clean of all chemicals, additives, etc. that are not supposed to be in it!
Shampoos and Conditioners I use:
- Suave Vanilla – not really good for dry skin but smells really nice.
- Head & Shoulders for Dry Scalp – probably the best for dry skin
- Garnier Fructis Conditioner – smells really good, makes your hair feel really slick, I use it about once a month
Getting Started Waving
Beginning Your Journey
The beginning steps to getting great deep waves are simple. First you have to get a fresh hair cut. It’s just easier to start from a new cut than to try to untangle a head full of hair into waves. The second step involves planning how you are going to moisturize your scalp and soften your hair. There is information available on this if you are not sure what type of moisturizers you should use for this.
The final step is to brush! Brushing your hair down is the only way to get waves. Depending on how soft you get your hair and what products you use your waves should get the way you want them in no time and you too can sport the classic classy 360 waves in your hair.
What Type of Hair is Needed?
It doesn't matter what type of hair you have, you can get 360 waves in your hair. Just remember that for different textures it will take different amounts of time for the waves to start coming in. Those with easier to manage hair will find it easier to get their hair to lay down. Also, because no two people's hair is exactly alike, you the waves you form in your hair may look different from others. Some people get long spaced out waves, some get smaller closer waves, a lot get somewhere in between. It really depends on what type of hair you have.
Why do a lot of black men prefer to wear their hair in the 360 waves style? Well the answer is simple. It is the simplest hairstyle to manage and looks the best the fastest, with the least amount of work.
If you are disciplined, you can start from a fresh cut and have a very nice wave pattern in less than four weeks. That's only a few days longer than one month. So if you work at it, you can be spinning in about one month's time give or take a few days.
A Lifetime with Waves
Why are more men cutting off their braids and dreadlocks for waves? There are a multitude of reasons. One reason is the time it takes to manage it. Getting hair re-braided and re-twisted can take a while finding someone to do it, and then hours sitting down waiting for it to get done. Do you really want to waste a few hours getting your hair pulled when you could hit the barber shop, get a fresh lineup, and hit your hair with a brush all in less than 20 minutes? If you are a man who values his time the answer is clear.
Getting your hair braided and dread locked also costs money. Even if you get a friend to do it you still have to pay her. Salons are known to charge $50 and up for basic cornrows. A haircut from a good barber costs no more than $15 a month, with $5 lineups at your leisure.
There are many reasons that black men like to wear the 360 hair wave style and these are just a few. Depending on who you are waves may just be the right choice for you.
The Best Wave Practices and Supplies
The first step to getting waves is getting a haircut if needed. You cannot get waves in your hair if you are currently sporting a long hairdo such as an afro, braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, etc. It is best to start your wave pattern off a fresh haircut.
The next thing to do is visit your local department store and pickup a few supplies. Here are the supplies you should get at the very least.
- "Doo rag", stocking cap, or another type of hair scarf- this is to stop you from messing your pattern up when you sleep. Don't let all that work go to waste.
- Medium or soft hair brush- used to brush the pattern in. I say medium or soft because you don't want to scalp yourself with a coarse brush.
- Hair lotion or moisturizer- used to keep your scalp clean and healthy. Also used in some waving methods to help lay the hair down in the 360 wave pattern.
- Pomade- this is to keep your hair from moving and frizzing back out. The most common types you will see are Murrays, DAX (red can), Sportin’ Waves, or wavebuilder. Whatever you get, make sure it has great hold and is easy to wash out. Stay away from the “super holds.”
- Carrot Cream
- Pink Lotion or African Oil
- Wave Grease (recommended brand: Sportin’ Waves)
- Let’s Jam! (teal cap)
- Coarse Palm Brush
- Soft Brush
- Extra Brushes for Travel/Car/School
- Shampoo (recommended brand: Suave or Head and Shoulders)
- Conditioner (recommended brand: Garnier Fructis)
- Durags/stocking caps
Brushing for MAXIMUM Results
Brushing for the Win
Remember that the key in how to get 360 waves in your hair is to stick to your brushing and moisturizing schedule and your waves until your waves come in the way you want them. If you do not go against your wave pattern and wear your scarf at night, you will begin to see waves in no time!
Here is some easy tips to get you started when brushing towards 360 waves. Your first step is going to be getting a fresh hair cut. Like an artist you need a blank canvas. So go down to your local barber shop and get a low ceasar with the grain, commonly called a “1 & 1/2" type cut. He will know what you're talking about.
Next, go to CVS or Walgreens and pickup a few items (see the Shopping List above.) They will include a soft brush, your favorite moisturizer, a do rag or stocking cap, and a can of grease or pomade.
The brush is going to be used daily. Brush your hair from the crown of your head down towards your skin in a 360 motion. Hence, the name. Brush in the pattern that you want. Some people go at funny angles that also look good. Most go for the regular 360 pattern.
The moisturizer is to be used daily to keep your hair soft for brushing and your scalp healthy. I recommend carrot oil if they have it. Ive also used carrot creme, pink lotion, blue grease, and olive oil. The best other than carrot oil is carrot creme in my opinion. If you cannot find any carrot products go with pink lotion.
How long should you brush? What brush should you use?
Remember I told you to get two different kinds of brushes? There was a reason why. When you first get started you need to use your coarse brush. That is the brush that is stiffer. I also told you to get a palm brush, there was a reason for that as well. A palm brush gives you more power and control over the strokes you make and will lay your hair down much faster than using a soft brush. It’s like working out. When you are trying to get buff they tell you to lift with the heaviest weight you can do, not the lightest, right? The same thing applies to waves. Use the coarsest brush that doesn’t hurt your scalp when you are starting out. The soft brush if mostly for after you can already see the waves coming in. Bring it on home with the soft brush.
What type of schedule should you get into? Simply whatever maximizes your time. Many people brush in traffic, playing Playstation, in between classes, or just hanging out with friends. Whenever you have some downtime make sure a brush is on you and get to work. I try to get in about 4 or 5 10 minute sessions a day. So all together that is about a total of an hour brushing.
The H20 Method aka The Shower Method
There has been a lot of chatter about whether or not you can get waves with the H20 method. What is the H20 method? It’s simply what it says it is. Using water when you brush to lay your hair down.
Does it work?
I did an experiment a few months ago where I stopped using all products in my hair and tried to get waves. All I did was wash my hair, and then brush it immediately afterwards. If I wanted to brush my hair during the day I didn’t put any moisturizer in it I simply ran my hair under water then brushed it until it was damp-dry. Guess what?
I’m guessing this is what people in prison do to get waves. Have you ever noticed that people in prison seem to get waves even though they don’t have access to a regular supply of grease, conditioners, and moisturizers? I’m guessing they use the H20 method. The water makes your hair just soft enough to lay down with a brush.
I don’t suggest the H20 method if you can afford to use moisturizers. Your hair looks way more healthy and shiny when you use moisturizers.
The Correct Way to Brush Your Hair
There are two schools of thought here. One is to brush your hair from the crown down towards the hairline.
The second way to brush is to simply brush your hair down no matter where you are brushing from. To be honest, either way works. The only issue you’ll have is getting your sides to show that sick connection. I personally don’t think it’s worth waving if you are not going to connect the sides but hey, that is your choice.
How to Connect Your Sides
There is one simple answer for this, and that is you have to work at it. If your sides aren’t coming in it is primarily because either A) you don’t brush it enough or B) your hair is thin on the sides. If your hair is thin on the sides then try growing your hair a little bit longer before your next cut and stick to your brushing schedule. You’ll notice the waves will show up on their own on the sides if you let them come in.
Make sure you have a snug du rag as well. The do rag is to wrap your head up when you sleep. You need to wrap it pretty snugly. Some people wear them as a clothing accessory. We are worried about function above fashion.
The key to getting this right is brushing your 360 waves in every day. If you slack, it will show if you are starting from the beginning. So if you want your waves to connect on the sides, work for them! Brush during loading screens of your playstation games, or commercials, whatever. Just brush!
Advanced Waving Tools & Tricks
For the Ladies!
Can women get waves in their hair like their male counterparts? Believe it or not, the answer is a resounding yes. Black women can get waves in their hair just like black men can. You can use everything in this book to get waves just like men can. There are a few little things to make sure you keep mind off though. Here's some simple rules for the ladies looking to get waves going in their hair.
First of all, you must remember that waves come from curly (also known as nappy) hair. If your hair is too straight it will be much more difficult for you to get waves. This is a sensitive issue because a lot of black women like to straighten their hair, which goes against the natural curl. With that said….
….you’re going to have to do the Big Chop.
Once you chop off all your relaxed hair, let your hair grow naturally into a mini afro. The next step is to get a haircut. You will need to go to an experienced beautician or barber. Make sure they understand the look you are going for and have the experience to execute the look for you. You will need to get a shorter cut than you may be used to. If you go to a salon they may not know how do the “1 & ½” wave cut correctly so I recommend you see a barber. Tell him you want it tapered on the sides and dark on the top. That is how to achieve the look you are looking for.
After you get your hair done, you will need to maintain it. Wear a scarf when you sleep to avoid messing your hair up. In the morning use a pomade, gel, or spray to give your hair the hold and shine you desire. That's it - with these tips you can get your Halle Berry on in no time!
The Secrets behind Dark & Shiny Waves
There is one last thing I want to tell you before we depart. Have you ever seen someone with waves that were just SHINY? I mean P. Diddy status. Just waves that darn near blind you when the light hits them.
We all know that wave greases do this to a certain extent but they don’t make them really shine like the near-reflective status some people achieve. So how do they do this?
The secret: Let’s Jam. It is a product designed for women to maximize the hold and shine in their hair. Men can use it too and I can tell you first hand it works.
I use the teal top which is the medium hold strength I believe. It’s easy to wash out and looks good. Just put a little of this on after you moisturize and put your regular grease in. It makes a difference.
*Katt Williams Voice* “This ‘ish right HERE…”
How to get Super Dark Waves
This should be obvious but the secret to get super dark, jet black, waves is to dye your hair. Most barbers offer this but won’t advertise it. If you are cool with your barber ask him if he can dye your hair the next time he cuts it. This is commonly called a “Bigen cut.” Why? Because Bigen is the name of the dye that they use.
If you prefer to, you can probably just get your girlfriend/mother/aunt or another female you trust to follow the directions and do it for you before you go get a cut. Lots of your favorite celebrities from P. Diddy, to Ludacris, to Shawty Lo do some form of this.
How to Create Super Sharp Hairlines
The final thing I want to talk about is this foolishness cats are doing to get super sharp lines on their cuts. The haircut is only as good as the line, right? Well not when the line looks ridiculous.
Barbers now use this product called “black ice” to give their clients super sharp hairlines. Black ice is a temporary hair dye that is quickly sprayed on. In my opinion it just looks bad and fake. I’d never do it. A Bigen cut looks much more natural.
If you are going to do something to give your hair that extra boost then I’d suggest you shy away from black ice. Even if your barber tells you it’s the most swagged out thing to do, don’t. People are going to be laughing at you and your “drawn on” hairline. Carlos Boozer of the NBA once did this for a game and was severely clowned for it, just Google it.
I hope this has helped you!
I hope that this guide receives you well. For many years I’ve been helping men all around the world of different nationalities learn how to get 360 waves. I truly feel that anyone that wants to do anything in life can. The fact that you read this article and are going to see results in the next 2-4 weeks is proof enough that anyone can upgrade anything they aren’t satisfied with!