Waves Haircuts: 8 New Styles & How-To Tutorial

By Rich Krafting


The waves haircut is a popular trend right now. While 180 and 360 waves are traditionally Black styles, guys with all hair types are getting in on the style. Is there a straight hair waves haircut for Latino, Asian, or white guys? The more texture hair has, the easier it is to wave. Straight hair does wave but it takes more time and patience.

Here’s everything else you wanted to know about waves. It is a super tight men’s hairstyle.

The Best Haircut For 360 Waves

The waves haircut is a buzz cut. For full 360 waves, get a taper fade that only cuts the sideburns and neckline. Any fade haircut works with waves, from low to high. A mid or high fade cuts those waves down to 180 waves but that’s a legit look too. If you already have a fade, you can keep it up or grow it out. Most guys also add a shape up.

The length of the buzz cut for waves depends on hair type. The more texture hair has, the shorter it needs to be. On the flip side, straight hair needs more length for waves.

  • 1 or 1.5 guard haircut (1/8 or 3/16″) for coarse hair
  • 2 guard haircut (1/4″) for medium texture
  • 3-4 guard haircut (3/8 – 1/2″) for curly hair
  • 4-5 guard haircut (1/2 – 5/8″) for straight hair

These are good guidelines but you’ll figure out what works best for your hair.

Fade Haircuts With Waves

1. Taper Fade + Waves

Taper fade haircut with waves
Master Dorian

2. Low Fade Waves Haircut

Low fade waves haircut
Vic Blends

3. Mid Fade Waves Haircut

Mid fade waves haircut
Jose Montejano

4. High Fade Waves Haircut

High fade waves haircut
Jose Crespo

5. 180 Waves Haircut

180 waves haircut with beard
Fuss the Barber

6. Waves Haircut With Part

Waves haircut with part
Jose Montejano

7. Waves For Curly Hair

Waves for curly hair
Darth Fader – Carlos Chandia

8. Waves For Straight Hair

360 waves for straight hair
Mr. Yung

How To Get 360 Waves

The key to getting curls laid down into waves is patience and brushing. It’s all about wolfing – the process of growing out hair, brushing, conditioning, and duraging or wave capping to establish waves. How long you need to wolf depends on hair type:

  • Coarse Hair: 6-8 weeks
  • Medium Texture: 8-10 weeks
  • Straight Hair: 12+ weeks

During this time it is essential to wash hair as little as possible. Every two weeks works for some guys. Or go for a co-wash that cleanses the scalp while moisturizing hair. Wolfing means no cutting hair, but you can keep up with line ups, tapers, and fades.

This is what new waves look like. You can see the texture but keep wolfing for more depth, definition, and connection.

How to get 360 waves
360 Jeezy

Coarse hair can create waves with very short hair. If waves even disappear, it just means hair is too long. Get a cut and your waves will be back. For curly and straight hair, expect a looser wave pattern than more textured hair.

How To Brush 360 Waves

360 Wave Brush

Before you start brushing, you need a wave brush. Wave brushes are always boar bristle, either 100% or mixed with nylon bristles. Boar bristle brushes are stiff but gentle on the scalp and distribute oils to naturally condition hair. Nylon bristles are stiffer and harder to get through thicker hair. Brushes can be soft, medium, or hard.

A soft boar bristle brush is best for shorter and straighter hair while a medium or mixed brush for longer hair. Hard brushes can irritate the scalp, especially with how much brushing waves require.

Another feature to look for in a waves brush is a contoured head instead of flat. The curve makes maximum contact with the scalp to make the most of each brushstroke. Some guys like a brush with a handle but many opt for a handle-free military-style brush. This type of brush can also be used on beards.

If you don’t know what you like, try this medium boar military brush for under $10. Or check out the most popular brush designed for 360 waves. The Torino Pro Curve Wave Brush is medium-hard with boar and nylon bristles for hair suited for wolfing. It costs more but helps form waves faster for many guys. For shorter hair or sensitive scalps, try the Torino Pro Wave Brush #560, also recommended by waver 360 Jeezy. It lays down the wolf but doesn’t reach the scalp and works for fresh cuts, vertical brushing, and finishing brush sessions.

Wave Brush Pattern

Here’s how to get 360 waves. Brush, brush, and then brush some more. Starting waves can require an hour of brushing a day but that doesn’t have to be all at once. Break it up into four 15-minute sessions.

The pattern is easy. Start near the crown and brush straight out in every direction, kind of like a clock. Then focus on the crown with short strokes out from the center of the crown. Once waves are established, brushing on the diagonal instead of straight out from the crown can improve connections.

Picture: 360 Jeezy

360 Waves Products

Waves come from brushing but waves grease plus a durag help enhance their texture and lay them down. Also use a mirror to check out that brushing pattern.

1. Wave Grease

Wave grease conditions hair and helps lay down waves. There are a lot of options and opinions about what to use. There are pomades, creams, and greases that work. While many wavers swear by old school options like Murray’s, these petrolatum-based pomades aren’t our first choice.

Petrolatum locks in moisture but it also keep it out. Basically, hair is coated with it so shine and softness comes from the product, not hair. In contrast, different types of oils nourish and improve hair health. What you use is up to you but here are some of our picks for 360 waves products:

  • Cold Label Wolfin Pomade This all-natural balm is designed for wolfing with extra hold. Instead of petrolatum, it conditions and holds with a combination of oils, shea butter, and beeswax plus essential oils. Also, check out the Cold Label 7 Juices hair oil for added shine and moisture.
  • SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie This is a very popular product for Black hair that also works for waves. Use it before brushing for softer, more conditioned hair. It also works for straighter haired wavers.
  • Roller Coaster Waves This wave grease is water-based and contains Argan, olive, avocado, and Vitamin E oils plus aloe vera and shea butter for hydration and shine. It does use petrolatum but not as the first ingredient. The custard-like consistency is easy to apply and has plenty of hold for straight to medium textured wavers. It may not be strong enough for coarse hair.

2. Durag

A durag help you create waves. After applying product and brushing, put on the durag to sleep or for the day. The pressure compresses hair, improves texture, and lays waves down.

The best fabric for hair is silk but it is pricey. Satin, also called silky, is next best. The tightly woven polyester won’t snag hair. Satin durags vary in quality so the best judge is feel. It should be silky smooth to the touch. A seem down the center can be show up in waves so avoid that if possible.

3. Hand-Held Mirror

To see what you’re doing, get a hand-held mirror to check out your brush strokes, wave progress, and the state of your crown.

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