How to Create 360 Waves: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

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

360 waves is a hairstyle worn by Black men that’s been around for decades. This hairstyle 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 as “brush waves” because of how you get the waves to form around the head (spoiler: a lot of brushing), 360 waves have now become a popular hairdo choice for a lot of guys with natural hair. We completely agree: They’re a cool, professional way to embrace your natural texture while giving you do a stylish spin. Read on to try out this oldie but goodie:

With some patience and the right products and tools, you’ll be able to easily create 360 waves in short hair.

What are 360 Waves

360 waves is a hairstyle worn by men with natural hair. The look is achieved by the constant brushing of short hair, which forms ripples throughout the hair, creating a wave pattern.

Tools and Products Needed

When creating 360 waves, arguably one of the best haircuts for waves, there are a few essential items you’ll need before starting: Pomade, a brush, shampoo and conditioner, and a durag. You don’t need much, but these five things will allow you to easily achieve and lock your waves in place. When choosing a brush, you can never go wrong with a soft to medium boar bristle option.

Ready to try out this style yourself? Trust us, it’s easier than you think! Check out all the steps below to learn how to achieve 360 waves.

Step 1

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.

Once you have a waves haircut, 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 SheaMoisture Men African Black Soap & Tea Tree Oil 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner.


man with short hair
Step 2

Apply your product.

Usually, a quarter-sized dollop of wave cream like SheaMoisture Men Argan Oil & Shea Butter Oil Pomade is enough for the entire head. If you’re looking for a pomade that will add more shine, Dove Men + Care Polishing Pomade is a great option. 


man using hair styling paste
Step 3

Brush hair.

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

360 waves: brush hair cool hairstyles for men
Step 4

Wear a durag to preserve.

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

360 waves: durag
Step 5

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.

360 waves: back view

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!

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