Although this has been a classic hairstyle featured in the African American community, not everyone has heard of this mostly male specific hairstyle. When I attended Velma B's Cosmetology school in Dallas to learn traditional African American hairstyles the 360 Wave style was discuss as were braids, coils and other related styles.
Why is the hairstyle called 360 Waves?
Because when it is perfectly developed, the hairstyle, looking from the top down, consists of a series of perfectly formed waves that fall into 360 degree circles.
A perfectly formed 360 Wave hairstyle is truly a work of art and very impressive. And yes, it can take time, work and the proper techniques.
360 Waves do not work well on longer hair since the longer the hair, the harder it is to hold the 360 wave pattern. It is not always easy for every African American male to re-create. This is because the 360 style often requires work for the perfect creation of waves.
Although the theory that constant brushing will guarantee waves, this is not always correct. Other factors are at play and some African American male hair textures are not as conducive to the development of 360 Waves as other textures. Some hair textures are either too kinky to soften into waves and other textures may too loose to hold the wave pattern.
Some have much better success developing the traditional 360 Waves than others. It's a fact that some men have a much harder time developing perfect 360 Waves than others. Are there secrets to creating 360 Waves? Absolutely. Some of the best known techniques are included in this post.
When 360 Waves are successfully created through constant brushes these are referred to as Brush Waves or 360 Brush Waves.
Ironically some guys are born with natural waves and are not even aware that they have the coveted style. Several months ago I saw a guy with perfect waves at a local restaurant. I stopped him and asked him about his wave style and he gave me a funny look.
What are they called, he asked? 360 Waves I explained. "Oh", he said, "my hair has always done this naturally". Really I asked? "Yes".
Need I say that was one lucky young man? Others struggle with all types of different cuts and products to try and re-create what this guy was born with.
How To Create 360 Waves
The best length for hair to be for starting the 360 Wave Training program is between 1 1/4" and 2". Hair that is too long will not hold the wave patterns well. Hair shorter than 1 1/4" will also not hold the waves.
Step OneShampoo hair with your regular product. If you hair tends to be dry use a moisture enhancing product. If tend to have lots of product in your hair you may want to first shampoo with a clarifying product to remove any product build-up for a fresh start. Do not use a rinse out or leave-in conditioner. Rinse shampoo well.
Towel blot hair to remove excess moisture.
Step TwoApply a quarter sized amount of wave grease to your hair. Recommended products (everyone has a different opinion of what is best) include Blue Magic, Dax, Murray's or Nu Nile. Make sure hair is completely saturated. If the first application does not completely cover your hair, apply a little more. There can never be too much grease.
Step ThreeApply a pre-soaked and wrung out hot towel to your hair for 2-4 minutes. Experiment with wrapping the towel to make sure the entire surface of your hair is covered. Use your hands to apply a light pressure to make sure the wave pomade melts into your hair. This is key. The purpose of the hot towel is to push the pomade down into the hair.
The consistency of your brushes is important. If you find you can only develop waves at the crown or only on the sides, it is because you are not brushing evenly. When in doubt ask your barber or stylist to teach you the proper way to brush. Areas of the head that are not brushed correctly and consistently will not form waves.
Step FiveApply a Du-Rag, also known as a Doo-Ray. to your newly brushed hair. Make sure the Du-rag fits snugly over your head. The goal of the Du-rag is to hold the waves in place so that they can be trained to form. A
lthough it is acceptable to wear a Du-rag outside, it may not be acceptable to wear to school or for other events. Some Wavers prefer to apply the Du-rag before going to bed or when hanging around the house.
Step SevenAt the beginning of your 360 Wave Training process you should repeat Steps Two through Four at least 2 times a day.
Step EightOn weekends, when possible, do the process in the morning, in the afternoon and the evening before you go to bed.
The more energy and effort you put into applying pomade, brushing and wearing the Du-rag, the faster and deeper the waves will form.
Other Important 360 Wave Creation Notes
1. Do not shampoo hair for the first 10-14 days while beginning the wave training program. Why? Water will loosen the wave pattern. Avoid any type of moisture since any wetness will soften your waves, including the moisture from a shower.
Consider either taking baths or leaving your Du-rag on covered with a plastic shower style cap (don't worry, no one will see you) or cover your Du-rag with Saran or other plastic wrap. You don't want to loose those great waves after working so hard at daily brushing. The longer you can wait between shampoo times, the stronger the wave formations.
2. Work with a barber who understands and works with other 360 wavers.
Go to your barber for a careful trimming if you wish, but do not have your hair cut for the first 2-4 weeks of the wave training process.
Again, if you get your hair cut you will lose the ridge formation that you are working so hard to develop. Discuss your goals with your barber who might have other Wave Creation Secrets to share.
3. After the first set of waves have formed completely around your head, you may get a haircut with a 1 1/2" guard. This is very important.
Be sure the barber cuts WITH the grain. This is why it is important to work with a barber or stylist that either has 360 Waves or works with other wavers.
After you receive your first haircut your newly formed waves may be looser. Do not panic. Repeat the original training process of shampoo, towel blot, apply grease, use hot towel and then brush and apply Du-rag. The waves will tighten again quickly.
Can you create waves without the grease or Du-Rag? Probably not. The grease is what molds the newly forming waves and the Du-Rag holds the brushed and molded waves in place. Are their shortcuts? Yes, but that topic is for another day and another blog.
HairBoutique.com was the first website to every develop a community around the 360 Waves topic. To visit this forum stop by and read the many thousands of posts with feedback and personal experiences and contribute your own thoughts on this historic topic.
A lot of other websites have copies us but we are the first, the original and the best HairTalk forum for 360 waves. Other websites are cluttered with bad language and fighting. Our HairTalk is serious 360 Wave info.Visit the 360 Waves Gallery with amazing images of 360 Waves from our many members.
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