How to Handle Thick and Wavy Hair


Everyone wants that perfect hairstyle, but not everyone has the right hair type to make it work.  Essentially, you’ve got to find a style that works with the hair you’ve been blessed with (or cursed with depending on your perspective).   If you have thick and wavy hair like me, then chances are you’ve gone through struggles of dealing with poufy hair, hair that won’t hold in place, and hair that seems to have a mind of its own and just goes where ever it wants.  I’d like to share my tips and solutions to addressing my wavy hair frustrations and to help makes yours more manageable – and, no, the solution isn’t to buzz it all off.  There are several options when it comes to thick and wavy styles, but the overall idea is to embrace the waviness and use that to your advantage by creating looks that are visually interesting, yet playful.  

The simplest method, for tackling your thick, wavy hair is to keep your hair short.  By cutting your hair shorter, you’re basically solving the issue of excess waviness and your hair will be more controllable.  With shorter hair you’ll also find that high hold products will help create the style you’re trying to achieve and actually keep it in place throughout the day.   With shorter hairstyles, using a blow dryer can be key because you can basically get your hair close to the style you want without any product – the styling product will then be used to finish off the look and lock it in place.


With thick hair, you can go in a couple different directions with shorter styles:

Messy / Disheveled Look with some Volume



Haircut: Length on top about 3 inches, sides even with #2 guard

Style: Towel dry, then use finger comb it while blow drying it to shape.

Product: Use a matte finish, high hold product.  We recommend the Natural Beeswax Paste.  Less is more.   Start by using about a dime sized amount, add more if needed.  Remember, less is more with styling products.


New Faux Hawk

New Faux Hawk

Haircut: Length on top about 3-4 inches; texture cut on top. Sides use a #3 or #4 guard.

Style:  Add a bit of light / medium hold product into your towel dry hair.  Blow dry it using your fingers while twisting the hair to add texture and to set in multiple directions. 

Product:  Start with the Sculpting Clay prior to blow drying, which will give the hair extra body, then add Natural Beeswax Paste to hold the look if desired.


Short Side Part

Short Side Part

Haircut: About 2-3 inches on top, 1 inch on the sides.   Use thinning shears to add texture.

Style:  Blow dry hair using your natural part as your guide.  Shape it to the side and to the front. 

Product:  This is a flexible look, so add a bit of medium hold product to keep it from frizzing out.  We recommend the Sculpting Clay or the Moroccan Texture Paste if you like a medium shine. 


Messy High Top

Gus Kenworthy

Haircut:  Fade on the sides and kept textured on top, about 3 inches

Style:  According to Kyle Kreiger, who created this style on Gus Kenworthy, he says “I applied the clay (Sculpting Clay) after towel drying hair still damp. Used my fingers to pull the hair straight as I blow dried it to release the tension of the curl. After it was dry I applied the beeswax (Natural Beeswax Paste) and then sprinkled the Texture Powder to finish for a slightly unkempt vibe.

Products:  Kyle used Sculpting Clay as a prestyler, Natural Beeswax to keep the hold, then Texture Powder to add a bit more volume. 


For Medium length cuts (4-7 inches), I highly recommend utilizing the thinning shears for the cut.  This will both minimize the thickness and volume of your hair while giving it some depth and texture.   Medium length styles are popular currently; most popular is the quiff or side part.  A lot of these styles can be achieved with a form of undercut.   The undercut style maintains length on top and using clippers on the side.  


Quiff / Modern Pompadour

Modern Pompadour

Haircut: 5-6 inches on top, tapered to 3-4 in the back.  Side length is up to you.  This one here is about #5 or #6 guard. 

Style: Use a bit of prestyler in your hair and blow dry it to shape.  To get that extra volume start blow drying it opposite of the natural direction, then finish drying it in the final shape.  Use a cool blow dry setting to set it in place without having to worry about the heat damaging your hair.

Product: For the prestyler, the Sculpting Clay is amazing for this look.  After hair is blow dried, use Natural Beeswax Paste (sparingly, not too much!) to give it a bit more texture and hold.   If you have a lot of hair, add just enough Beeswax Paste to spread it throughout.  Using too much will weigh it down and you’ll lose the volume through the day.


Messy Side Part

Messy Side Part

Haircut: 4-5 inches on top.  A bit longer on the sides, blended with the top. 

Style:  This is a meant to be a loose version of a side part and the hair can be a bit out of place and still look good.  Start with clean hair and use a blow dryer to start.  Blow dry the sides down and back and the top in the opposite direction of the natural part to give it volume.

Product:  Because this is a looser style, I’d recommend the Moroccan Texture Paste to give it a little bit of shine and separation.   Don’t use too much of this product either or the hair will end up looking greasy and not a healthy shine. 


Maximum Waviness

Max Wavy

Haircut:  This one is a bit longer, but if you have patience to grow your hair this long it’s a really relaxed style.  I’d say this one is about 7-8 inches on top and the sides are probably 3-4 inches. 

Style:  This particular look has a very loose styling, but you’ll need a product with hold to control fly aways and to make those waves really stand out.   Once again, use a blow dryer and finger comb your hair into shape and to keep the bangs from falling in your face.  Add a little bit of Texture Powder to provide some volume and finish it off with a matte, high hold product.  Using a comb is not recommended as it will make this hairstyle look too structured and neat – remember to embrace the playfulness of the waves.

Product:  After you apply a little bit of Texture Powder, use a nickel sized amount of Natural Beeswax Paste.   Get it really warm in your hands and make sure when applied to your hair it gets down to the roots.  Don’t be gentle here, get it mixed up really nice.  Then once it’s all applied, finger comb your hair back into place.

2 Responses

Annie Marks
Annie Marks

December 17, 2015

I have very thick hair and it has always been a pain to deal with! That is awesome that your barber can actually use tools to thin your hair out! I really like that with thinning shears you can have the look of thin hair, while only changing your hair minimally. Thank you for sharing, I’ll have to ask for my barber to use thinning shears for my next hair cut!


November 04, 2015

Thanks for the tips! This is exactly my hair type and it drives me crazy.

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