How to Create Hollywood Waves in 2 Ways

Eunice Lucero | 12 October 2016
old Hollywood waves blonde medium
20mins Style Medium

Get ready for your close-up.

There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glam of the American film industry during Hollywood’s Golden Age. For nearly three decades, Hollywood actors and actresses dazzled cinemas everywhere with their stunning looks and ensembles. One of the most iconic—and most beloved—hairstyles of the era were old Hollywood waves, popularized by film actresses who were idolized due to their morale-boosting glamour during that bleak, war-torn time.

The look features big, soft, sculpted waves with a side part and a show-stopping shine (the better to impress on the big screen too!). See how to get this undeniably beautiful, red carpet-worthy look in a few easy steps. Read on to discover how you can create old Hollywood waves in two ways:

Tutorial: Old Hollywood Waves

woman with long straight blonde hair

Start with clean, freshly washed hair.

This look is all about a glamorous polish seen from miles away, so prep your hair while in the shower with a shine-imparting system that gives a lightweight sleekness. We love the gleam we get from Dove Radiant Shine Shampoo followed by Dove Radiant Shine Conditioner. Towel-dry, then follow up with a thermal protectant to aid in smoothening and styling hair, such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray.

woman with long straight blonde hair combing her hair

Blow-dry and detangle your hair.

Blow-dry your hair on a medium setting until hair is completely dry. Run a fine-toothed comb through strands to make sure hair is completely smooth and tangle-free, creating a side part while doing so.

woman with long straight blonde hair parting her hair

Section off the fringe area.

Using the end of a rat-tail or fishtail comb, section off your hairline from the rest of your hair.

woman with long straight blonde hair curling her bangs

Curl fringe around a wand.

Using a large, 2″ curling iron or wand, twirl the fringe area horizontally instead of vertically around the barrel. This method, which was also a much-buzzed-about runway trick, results in a structured Z-shaped wave as opposed to a loose, beachy curl.

woman with long straight blonde hair curling back of hair

Repeat on the remaining sections.

Continue curling your hair section-by-section, going in the same direction for more polish. Tip: For novices, you can also clamp the front area out of the way with a duckbill clip to help set the curl and also keep your vision free. Tip: To truly mimic the old Hollywood waves of the era, begin curling from your ear level.

woman with long straight blonde hair brushing her hair

Brush out your curls.

The gamechanging step: carefully brushing out those curls! A soft-bristled brush helps separate those ringlets smoothly and aligns the waves into a uniform bend.



woman with long straight blonde hair posing with old hollywood waves hairstyle


Finish with a shine-enhancing hairspray that also offers hold and control, like Bed Head by TIGI Masterpiece Shine Hairspray.

Ed’s note: For a lighter look for everyday, run fingers through hair once again after brushing out your curls for a more tousled, casual-chic feel.

Easy Way to Create Hollywood Waves

hollywood waves on dark brown hair
Want a more everyday look, try using a hair wand for a wavy effect.

Step 1: Wash hair with a volumizing hair care system.

To begin, start off with clean hair. We recommend using a hair care system like the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume hair care system that’ll give your finished look some amazing volume. First, apply the pre-wash conditioner to wet hair and rinse. Then apply the shampoo. Rinse, lather, and repeat. Towel dry your hair, then apply TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Touchable Bounce Mousse concentrating on the roots —this is where the volume (a.k.a the magic) begins! Bonus: it will make your curls feel really soft and natural.


Step 2: Blow-dry your hair.

Part your hair to the side and then blow-dry with a round brush to create even more volume. Starting from the back of your head, position the hair brush underneath the roots of each section of hair and place the blow-dryer with concentration nozzle attached at the top. Blow-dry your hair from the root-to-ends, continuing this process throughout your entire head. When you get to the front section of your hair, blow-dry in the direction you want your hair to fall. In this case, for the Hollywood look, blow-dry your hair up and away from the face.

Step 3: Create your curls.

Using a large curling iron, you’re now going to create loose and sexy curls. Section your hair starting from the back and clip away the rest of your hair. Place the curling iron to the mid-shaft of your section, then twirl your hair around the barrel. Hold for a few seconds then release. After each curl, pin curl the section. This will help set the curls. If you want a more wavy version of the curl, opt for a hair wand instead. Point the wand downward and wrap your hair around the barrel for a few seconds and release.

Step 4: Release the pin curls.

After curling your entire head, remove your pin curls. Comb or brush through your hair to give it a fluffy and natural-looking finish.

Step 5: Complete the look.

Use TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Flexible Finish Hairspray to lock in your Hollywood waves.  This hairspray will help keep your Hollywood curls hairstyle vibrant without leaving your hair stiff or sticky.

hollywood waves on dark brown hair
Wear this look throughout the season! It’s such a versatile hairstyle!

Pro tip: To get the most out of your look, pin curl your hair at night and sleep on a silk pillowcase, or with a satin bonnet. In the morning release your pin curls, massage hair at the roots to help revive volume. Smooth a hair serum onto your hair if you need any extra shine. If hair becomes greasy throughout the week, apply dry shampoo at your roots, massage it in then gently brush through the hair.



Read more