Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
Say hello to the wash-and-go ‘I woke up like this’ wavy hairstyle of your dreams…
There’s nothing we love more than a new hair trend, but the majority tend to be aimed at people who want to take their hair shorter; think pixie cuts, bobs, and one-minute mullets.
In fact, other than this year’s hot new fringe style – yes, the 70s-inspired curtain bangs – or switching up your colour (there are plenty of Instagram-approved blonde and brunette shades to try), it can be difficult to dream up new ways to shake up your look without losing any of the length.
Thankfully, though, we now have the answer: the ‘cool girl waves’ trend.
Steadily gaining traction on social media, this cut features plenty of textured (or “messy”) layers, creating lots of body and movement.
And, thanks to its versatility, it can be adapted to suit almost any long hairstyle.
Tempted to try it for yourself? Here’s what you need to know about the ‘do.
What are ‘cool girl waves’?
Dom Seeley, hair stylist and international creative director at Color Wow, explains that the look has been making a scene for a number of years now.
“Originally from LA, it filtered through to Paris Fashion Week, where we saw that undone, hard-to-do, natural cool girl texture. It’s a mixture of a barely there wave and a lived-in texture – think hair on day two or three.”
Why are ‘cool girl waves’ trending right now?
Zoë Irwin, colour trend expert for Wella Professionals, explains: “The rise in this trend is definitely linked to the explosion of luxe loungewear over the past 12 months.It’s an elevated version of a beachy relaxed look and wave – because, essentially, we want our hair to capture the same chic but casual vibe of the cashmere sets we’re wearing at home. Thinkmessy and textured and done, yet not done at the same time.”
Who suits the ‘cool girl waves’ look?
Seeley says: “This wash-and-go style suits pretty much any hair length from shoulder-length down. It can make any hair look unique and personal, but it also has nods back to the 90s, so it can also really dress up an outfit.”
What should you ask your hairdresser for?
Irwin says: “This style needs satin shine, hydration and hold so there’s a glow to the hair, rather than it looking grungy and scruffy. To achieve this, make sure to ask for very long layers that are tapered at the bottom, giving your ‘do a more natural feel.”
Seeley adds: “The more soft rounded layers you have cut in, the more movement and bounce your hair will have. It’s all about keeping it soft and wispy, so weight is removed to create the shape. Remember, though, that layers can take a while to grow out, so you need to be committed to this style.”
What do you need to maintain the ‘cool girl waves’ style at home?
“To style this at home, I suggest lots of root lift,” suggests Irwin. “Try spraying something like Wella Professionals EIMI Root Shoot throughout the hair at 4cm intervals to give you volume throughout.
“Next, blowdry your hair and then tong horizontally, one section behind the tong, the next in front. And, to get that high-shine effect, consider using Sebastian Professional No Breaker – it’s a leave-in bonding spray that gives both strength and hydration – or the Wella Professionals Color Fresh Mask, which should add gloss and shine and a super luxury feel.”
Seeley, meanwhile, says: “Something like a Dyson Airwrap, rollers or a blow-dry tool will really help you get that ‘stepped out of the salon’ blow-dry and help you style your new layers easier.
“Volumising products like Color Wow Xtra Large, meanwhile, should help give your clean hair a great foundation of thickness. And, as there are no alcohols, salts or drying hard resins in the formula, it won’t leave any heavy product coating on your hair, either.”
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