How to Do Finger Waves

Want to know how to do finger waves? This vintage hairstyle originated in the 1920s and 30s and was popularized by Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, and Bette Davis. Finger waves are styled without heat, using fingers and a comb to form their shape. To get the look, start with freshly washed hair that has been blotted but is not completely dry. Add a liberal amount of hair gel, aloe vera, or setting lotion. Pinch hair between fingers to make a ridge, and pulling with a comb to shape the curve. Keep reading for vintage hairstyle pictures and more how to do finger waves instructions.

For a matte modern look, try styling finger waves with a curling iron. Work gel into the roots of damp hair and mousse into the rest. Blow hair dry and part hair deeply to the side. Pull hair back, leaving the the section of hair to be styled free. Curl the section of hair into an S by curling hair under and then over hair, alternating between the front and back. Use clips to secure each peak of the wave, the point closest to the forehead. This finger waves hairstyle used this method and left in attractive bobby pins to highlight and add extra curve to the waves.



Finger waves are a fantastic style for short hair and way to wear vintage bangs. This flapper-inspires looks uses the traditional method of styling finger waves without combing hair out after. Finish the look by coiling hair into a ringlet in front of the ear and 1920’s makeup and jewelry.

This is crimped look is another way to wear finger waves with long hair. To get this look, use the curling iron method above on sections of hair along one side of the deep side part. Pull the rest of hair back into a chignon or low bun. Gently comb the waved hair out, position it over the ear, and pin it into the rest of the low updo.