Creating 360 Waves the Right Way for Beginners

Listen up: You'll need a brush and a lot of patience.

Hair Types

360 waves is a hairstyle worn by African American men and is one that’s been around for decades. In case you’re wondering, it gets its name from the circular wave pattern that naturally forms and spirals out from the cowlick over time.

If you’ve got super short, curly hair from the root, you can definitely achieve this look, as long as you’ve got the patience—and a few key tools. Previously referred to by some as “brush waves” because of how you get them to form around the head (spoiler: a lot of brushing), 360 waves have now become a popular hairdo choice for a lot of African American guys. We completely agree: They’re a cool, professional way to embrace your natural texture while giving your ’do a stylish spin. Read on to try out this oldie but goodie:


Get a haircut.

Make sure your hair is around 1 ½” short for an optimal wave, but you can start the brushing process (read on) on short cropped hair if you like. You’ll be trimming with short clippers just around your head from this point on for at least six weeks, so make sure to go to a barber you trust.

Rinse hair with a dynamic shampoo and conditioner before you start to cleanse off any buildup. You’ll be going longer between washes when you’re waiting for your waves to form, so it’s better to start with a clean base. We like the fresh scent and light afterfeel of AXE Dual 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner.


Apply your product

Usually, a quarter-sized dollop of wave cream like Suave Men Styling Paste is enough for the entire head.


Brush hair.

Beginning at the crown or where your cowlick starts, brush away and downward from that spiral. Brush time: 2 minutes


Wear a durag to preserve.

This is optional, and only if you want to protect your waves from mussing up while you sleep.


Remove the durag the next morning. Repeat steps for 3 weeks.

Don’t brush your hair or shampoo for two weeks, or as long as you can tolerate it (we think after one week is forgivable). Note: Shampooing breaks up your curl pattern, so the longer you can go without it, the more defined your waves will be.

Editor’s Tips:

1. Repeat Steps 1 to 8.

Do this for the next three weeks, or until your waves start to come in, then go for a haircut with a 1.5 guard on the grain.

2. Moisten with hot water.

If you’re iffy on piling up on product without washing regularly, use hot water to moisten the top, back and sides of your head before brushing. Wear a durag to hold the wave in place while you sleep.

Guys, a friendly reminder: To set a tighter wave, hair should only be brushed when it’s moist. This also helps prevent hair breakage. Remember to brush evenly around the head—patience is a virtue!—and you’ll be rocking that enviable 360 waves hairstyle in no time!