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How to Encourage Your Natural Waves

Try these cutting techniques.
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Welcome to our Hair Consultation column. To request an online hair consultation from celebrity hairstylist Bill Angst, follow the instructions here.

Q: Hi, my name is Alicia and I need some hair advice! I am 24 years old and about 5 feet 3 inches tall. I've been dyeing my hair for 10 years now, so I can only assume what my natural hair colour might be. Judging by my grow-out, I would guess it's dirty blonde. 

From The Styling Edit Archives

Alicia's hair is wavy underneath, but almost straight on top.

It's pretty thick, with a combination of really wavy underneath, and almost straight on the top portion of my head. 

Alicia wants a cut that will bring out her waves.

I would love it if the wave would consume more of my hair—maybe you can suggest a cut that may promote the top to be more wavy? The ends are prone to frizziness, which may just be a result of damage. Thank you for offering this great advice! — Alicia

A: Alicia, I really dig your capability to do extreme changes with your hair. 

I am not sure which colour you are currently sporting, but here are my conclusions for three style options.

A short blonde cut will eliminate the wave completely and leave you with a longer, straight top.

Elisha Cuthbert at New York Fashion Week in 2007.

I feel this would frame your face beautifully. With your thick hair, you would need to do a lot of thinning of the ends for this one.

Here is a long, wavy option with bangs.

Keira Knightley at the 2009 Edinburgh premiere of 'The Edge of Love.'

Keira Knightley at a 2008 Rodarte event.

You need to get more movement in your side-swept bang. 

To blend it into the curl, leave the hair longer. Then thin out the top section. This will help bring out the bit of wave and will lighten it up to swish across your forehead with ease. 

Thinning causes the long hair to curl over the shorter hair—that is the theory as to why it can create more movement.

If your hair is dark, I would like to see it shorter and cut back a bit farther from your face to see more of it.

Rachel McAdams with layered dark brown hair.

Again, the bangs should be a bit longer, but with this cut you want all of the ends blunt. Then notch a series of small pieces, cut 1.5 inches from the ends. No thinning, only chopping small, blunt pieces. 

I think a curling iron or wand would be your best bet for a styling tool.


Bill Angst is one of Canada’s top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Angst Salon at 240 Queen Street East in Toronto. Call 416-360-5942 to book an appointment.