Waves are a rather popular hairstyle among black men that dates back over 2000 years to the early Egyptian period.
It’s also one of the most versatile hairstyles irrespective of your gender and ethnicity. If you’ve landed on this page, it means you want to learn how to get 180 waves.
180 waves for men are easy to pull off if you have coarse hair, but slightly difficult if you have straight and soft hair.
In this guide me and my team at Thelivesofmen will take you through the complete process on how to get 180 waves. I will even include a few pointers you can follow as well as recommend some products that I feel work wonders when it comes to creating good waves.
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How to Get 180 Waves
180 waves are easy to achieve especially when you have the right tools present and are willing to take the time to set your hair right.
Anyone can get them from the confines of their home and if you’re going to try it out for the first time, these steps will help you get perfectly styled 180 waves in no time.
What are waves?
Waves are a form of hairstyle for men and women that involves brushing your hair in a circular motion. The ripples that form on your hair are the waves and this can be achieved by following certain steps.
Based on the way you brush your hair, you can achieve either a 180 degrees wave, 360 wave or a 720 wave.
What Do I Need to Create 180 Waves?
Before you go out there and experiment with your hair, there are particular things you will need in order to style your waves well.
- Clarifying shampoo – A clarifying shampoo will help remove product build-up and any grime from your hair. This is essential since you’re going to use a number of different products to style your waves and will end up clogging your pores.
- Wave brush – A wave brush is essential as they are designed specifically for men/women who are looking to set waves. Ideally, choose a wave brush that’s made from boar bristles instead of synthetic ones. You will also have to choose between a hard wave brush and a soft brush depending on the type of hair you have.
- Pomade, grease, cream – Styling products such as wave pomade, grease or cream are needed to lock your waves in place while styling your hair. Ensure these products are made from all-natural ingredients and do not leave behind any residue.
- Durags – Durags are unique caps for men that are made of high-quality nylon, velvet or satin. They are also known as weave caps as they help set waves in an easy manner.
Step 1 — Get the Right Haircut
Regardless of whether you want 180, 360 or 720 waves, the first thing you should do is get a haircut to suit the hairstyle. 180 waves are easy to achieve post a simple haircut and a quick trim will help you easily set in your waves.
Unfortunately because waves won’t set if your hair is long you will need to cut it short enough and the ideal length will depend on what kind of waves you’re looking to create.
I’ve worked with numerous hairstylists in the past and from personal experience there are 4 types of haircuts you can get that will create some fantastic waves in no time.
The four haircuts I recommend you try are:
- A 1.5 haircut with a bald plate
- A 1.5 or level 2 haircut with edges at the back including a side taper
- A 1.5 or 2 haircut with mullet at the back
- If you’ve had waves for some time then you can get a level 2 haircut with an all-around bald fade
TIP – I would also recommend you to shampoo your hair once prior to cutting it to soften the scalp and prepare it for the haircut.
Step 2 — Shampoo and Condition your Hair
Next, now that your hair is cut, it’s time to shampoo and condition it so that your hair is healthy and clean for you to proceed to the next step.
However, not all shampoo and conditioner will work and you will need to use products that are specially formulated for African American hair such as Shea Moisture.
Once you pick the shampoo that will help your hair become tangle free and soft, don’t overuse it as this can strip your hair of its natural oils and this won’t be good for your waves.
Instead use a pea sized amount of both shampoo and conditioner and while washing your hair use a wave brush to help detangle it.
I’m suggesting a wave brush and not a regular comb because wave brushes generally use original boar bristles that are known to develop waves and will help keep the scalp exfoliated.
Check out these shampoos that are designed for men looking to create waves. All three brands; WaveBuilder, Creme of Nature and Shea Moisture have conditioners that go with the shampoo (sets) and these are relatively more cost effective on the long run.
|WaveBuilder Wash in Waves
|Amino acids, wheat proteins, jelly proteins
|Best shampoo for 180 waves
|Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo
|Best shampoo for dandruff and dry scalp
|Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus
|Coconut, hibiscus, shea butter, neem oil and silk protein
|Best wave shampoo for shine
Step 3 — Apply a Pomade or Wave Grease
Now that you’re done washing your hair and shampooing/conditioning it, it’s time to apply a wave pomade or hair cream. These creams are designed specifically for black men who want 180 waves.
I advise creaming your waves because when you use the wave brush in the shower it can leave your hair a bit dry and dry hair is never good for waves. So applying a little wave cream or pomade will help keep your hair moisturized and hydrated.
Another added benefit to using a wave cream is that it helps detangle hair and control frizz.
Again, this is tied into the moisturization aspect of it but some men may experience frizziness even though their hair is moisturized post the shower and a good wave cream or hair moisturizer will help set and define the waves while minimizing the frizz.
TIP – Use a dime sized portion of product on your hair and gently rub it through your hair. While applying the pomade, cream or moisturizer, use a wave brush and brush your hair in the appropriate direction for it to set.
Here are some fantastic hair creams you can try on your waves today.
|Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair
|Coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, avocado oil, jojoba, sage
|Best moisturizer for 180 waves
|WaveBuilder Cocoa & Shea
|Shea butter, natural cocoa butter
|Best moisturizer for coarse hair
|Tgin Butter Cream
|Shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E
|Best moisturizer for thick and long hair
Step 4 — Brush your Hair
Though you’re already brushing your hair in the shower and while applying pomade or hair cream, it’s important that you continue brushing in your waves whenever you get the time.
Continuously brushing your waves will help develop your waves like a pro and while you’re brushing it make sure to follow the correct procedure. If you’re new to it then i’ve created a 4 step way you can achieve 180 waves by brushing.
- Spend at least 20-30 minutes brushing your hair on a daily basis
- Brush only the top of your head near your crown to set your 180 waves and always stand facing a mirror so you get the angles correct
- Gradually increase the time spent brushing to around 40 minutes a day as your hair grows out
- At the end of 3-4 weeks you will notice the waves starting to get defined.
During my time searching for the right wave tools, I came across these wave brushes that are designed for men with waves. They all use genuine boar bristles and work well with any hair length.
|Torino Pro Wave Brush #350
|100% pure boar bristles
|Ideal for coarse and thick hair
|Royalty by Brush King #709
|100% pure boar bristles
|Ideal for thick hair and Afros
|Aosina Curved Palm Brush
|100% pure boar bristles
|Ideal for waves (180/360)
Step 5 — Wear a Durag
Finally, now that you’re on the way to get 180 waves, it’s time to keep your waves in place and for them to be protected from natural elements. For that I recommend you use a high quality durag that’s made from either velvet or satin.
The thing about durags is that you will have to use the one that’s made for waves and not a regular cloth head wear as these can strip the moisture from your hair.
For men with thick and coarse hair, I recommend wearing a durag daily for as long as possible, at least until your 180 waves start forming.
They are also great to wear even when you’re going to sleep and will keep your hairstyle in place so you won’t get up with pillow hair in the morning.
Here’s how you can tie your own durag at home
- Level out the durag over your head and make sure the front edge is in line with your hairline and eyebrows
- Grab a hold of the durag ties at the back and perform criss-cross ties around your head twice so the ties are at the back of your head
- Tie the durag ties together and ensure that it’s firm but not too tight
- Adjust the durag over your hair without disrupting your waves
How long will it take to get 180 waves?
If all the steps are followed to the letter, you will start seeing your 180 waves form within a period of 3-4 weeks.
It’s important to get a haircut or a trim every 4 weeks once you start seeing your 180 waves forming.
However, there are some issues which may result in a longer setting period or prevent your waves from forming. It can be one of the following or can be a combination of two or more conditions.
- You’re not brushing your hair often or in the appropriate direction
- Your wave brush is not of good quality material and does not use authentic boar bristles
- If you’ve gotten a haircut that’s too short (lower than level 1)
- If you have the wrong hair texture. People with curly hair can get waves easier and faster than people with thin and straight hair.
Use the right products
It’s not always easy styling your hair without any product or the right equipment. In order for you to get well defined 180 waves, you will have to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner on a daily basis.
Use the right product depending on the type of hair you have. For example, a good moisturizing shampoo made from natural ingredients will easily let you tame coarse and tangled hair which makes it easier for you to form 180 waves.
Similarly, by using a good wave pomade or cream, your hair will stay nourished and moisturized, which is important for the formation of 180 waves.
Pro tips to know about 180 waves
- Moisturize your hair at least 2-3 times a day and brush your hair every time you apply moisturizer. For a speedy formation, brush your hair up to 30 minutes, twice or thrice a day.
- Ensure that you wash your hair only once or twice a week and do not wash on a daily basis if you want your waves to set.
- Refrain from touching your hair post brushing it. Randomly touching your hair can disrupt your waves and if you do feel the need to touch your hair, make sure you do so by touching it in the direction of your waves by moving outwards from the crown
- If you happen to use a thick or oil based pomade, place a warm cloth over your head to evenly distribute the product.
Is it hard to get 180 waves with coarse hair?
Coarse hair is the ideal kind of hair to set waves. It’s harder to get well-defined 180 waves if you have smooth and straight hair, but if your hair is coarse or curly, you will be able to set waves with only a few simple steps.
Should I use a hard or soft brush to set 180 waves?
Soft brushes are not ideal for 180 waves mainly for the fact that they don’t help set waves appropriately. That’s because soft brushes are meant for people with soft and straight hair. Hard brushes on the other hand are perfect for waves because they are designed for men with thick or coarse hair where it’s easier to set 180 waves.
Is it safe to wear a durag for a long time?
Yes, it’s completely safe to wear a durag 24/7 considering that it’s not tied too tightly.The best time during the day to wear a durag is at night and after brushing your waves for the day. Also, make sure that the durag is made from quality materials such as satin or linen to prevent breakage and split ends/tangles.
How often should I shampoo my hair for 180 waves?
While shampooing your hair on a daily basis might seem like a good idea, it’s unhealthy for your hair and won’t permit the formation of waves. Shampoo your hair at least once a week and always use a conditioner post shampooing to boost the moisture in your hair and keep it hydrated.
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Darnell Jackson is a grooming enthusiast. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and has always been passionate about men’s fashion and grooming. Darbell started his career as a freelance writer, contributing to various men’s lifestyle magazines and blogs. He has since become a published author, with his book “The Art of Man Grooming” receiving critical acclaim.