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360 Waves: Hair Wave Cap Tips


One of the primary methods of developing full 360 waves involves brushing the hair. Another method is to apply various pomades, greases or other wave hair products to the head before bedtime and then sleeping with what is known as a "wave cap". Although often referred to as wave caps, they are also commonly known as du rags (do rag).

Popularity Of 360 Waves

Waves, whether 360 or not, are popular with younger African American males for a number of reasons:

1. They are highly prized as a type of status and accomplishment, especially when they are carefully nurtured and developed into the 360 circular pattern. Even more so when the waves are deep and shiny.

2. They are often more popular with African American women who sometimes prefer that their men have softer, touchable hairstyles. Generally, many women do prefer a wave style over styles that are less touchable such as braids, knotty dreads or locs or natural styles. Especially when the hair is naturally coarse and rough.

3. The wave and 360 wave style is often popular with African American celebrities, Hip Hop stars and sports figures. As a result, the style is sometimes considered to be the highest in African American male hair fashions.

African American Male Hair Texture

How successful someone is at developing a complete 360 wave pattern depends on a number of factors but the most important is the natural hair texture which is determined solely by genetics.

The key to having great waves, whether they are 360 degrees or not is tied directly to the texture of the hair. Generally speaking, African American male hair falls into two primary textural categories which are:

  • Soft, fine, delicate
  • Coarse to very coarse

While there may be exceptions to this rule, one more common occurrence is when there is mixed textures. It is more often the case that a head of hair may be a combination of both soft, fine and delicate textures with coarse strands. In some cases, the textures will be locate on different parts of the scalp.

Having mixed texture makes developing a full and deep 360 wave pattern more challenging. Usually textural challenges occur at the nape of the neck and along the sides of the head.

Shampoo Tips

The key to having great waves, whether they completely form a 360 pattern or not is to have hair that is not too straight or too soft. This will prevent the waves from forming.

Because a lot of pomade and grease is used to help with the waves, it is often suggested that a clarifying type of shampoo be used on a regular basis to help remove the grease from the hair.

Listed below are some general shampoo tips.

1. If hair is normal or not super dry, wash daily with shampoo that will not make hair too soft. Use warm but avoid using hot water for the shampoo. Hot water dries out hair making it harder to wave. 2. Rinse out shampoo completely. 3. Use wave brush to brush in wave pattern. Be sure to brush along the grain. 4. Add rinse-out conditioner letting it remain in hair at least 5 minutes. It can be left in hair longer if desired. 5. Rinse conditioner out with warm...not hot water. Do not wash all the conditioner completely out. A little helps to keep dry hair moist which makes it better for creating waves. 6. At the very end do a quick 25 second dose with cool/cold water. Use a clean plastic bottle pre-filled with cool water and dose it over head. 7. Finish with warm water. 8. Let hair air dry until about 90% dry. Add pink lotion, jojoba, baby or similar oil as desired being careful to keep off skin since this can cause skin breakouts. 9. Add some wave wax to hair. 10. Use good hard brush and brush thoroughly to get waves to form. Remember to keep brushing hair during the day. 11. Get a hot towel and then press it down on your hair in your natural wave direction. 12. Keep hair moist throughout the day by adding in a little oil as needed OR using a spritzer bottle filled with a little conditioner mixed with warm water and shaken well. 13. Wear a du rag or similar cap for sleeping at night.

Creating 360 Waves

Creating 360 Waves require the following steps:

1. Commitment 2. Good barber that knows how to cut hair to maximize wave pattern. 3. Using the right wave enhancing products. 4. Selecting the proper brush (hard vs.medium or soft) bristle 5. Following the best shampoo & care techniques. 6. Lots of brushing to deepen the pattern and care for the waves. 7. Willingness to try new methods of wave care for better results. 8. Hard work & patience.

Note: To see more 360 Wave Photos available at in the 360 Wave Forum.

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- Revised Publication Date: 04/18/11

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