How to Get Silky Waves

Anne Hathaway channels silky siren waves.
... Ian Gavan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Some hairstyles remain enviable style staples for decades. Veronica Lake's silky, seductress, 1940s trademark hair cascaded over her shoulders in gentle, smooth waves, descending from a deep part at the top of her head. To this day, stars like Angelina Jolie and Zooey Deschanel emulate Lake's locks. For both the pin-straight strands and the curly coiled hair textures of the world, there's nothing a bit of heat and the right smoothing products can't do to recreate the old Hollywood glamour of silky smooth waves.

Wash your hair with a smoothing shampoo to produce that final silky texture. Follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner. Leave the conditioner in place for five minutes before rinsing out with warm water.

Towel dry your hair until the strands are just damp. Apply a quarter-sized amount of smoothing heat protectant to your strands, working from the roots to the tips.

Place the tip of your comb directly behind your right ear, and move the tip directly around your head until you reach the point behind your left ear. Clip up the hair above the newly formed horizontal part.

Blow-dry the loose hair below the horizontal part until your strands are dry. Meanwhile, heat up a 1-inch curling iron to a medium-high heat setting.

Separate a 2-inch-wide section of hair from directly behind your right ear. Hold your curling iron horizontally.

Wrap the ends of the section around the curling iron. If you have a curling iron with a clip, keep it closed before rolling, as clips can create dents in the hair.

Roll the curling iron under the hair strands and up towards your scalp. Keep the curling iron horizontal to create the subtle, silky wave effect. Be careful not to touch your scalp.

Hold your hair in place on the curling iron for about 10 seconds, and then gently release the newly curled section.

Repeat the curling process on the next section of hair directly beside the first section of hair. Always curl the hair under and keep the iron horizontal. Curl all of the loose hair in the same manner.

Release the hair above the horizontal part from the alligator clips. Blow-dry this section until it is completely dry.

Begin the curling process again, starting with the hair next to your right temple. Work in 2-inch-wide sections, working around the back of your head, and remember to keep the iron horizontal as you wrap the hair around the curling iron.

Spritz your hair with a shine-enhancing firm-hold hairspray. Brush gently through your curled hair with a paddle brush using even strokes. Keep brushing until the defined curls have settled into a softer wave pattern. Your horizontal curls should develop quickly into waves.

Keep brushing until you like the desired volume on the waves. Spritz your hair a final time with the hairspray to lock the waves in place and enhance the final silky texture.

  • Unplug your curling iron when you have finished curling your hair.
  • Curl your hair in 1-inch-wide sections if you want tighter silky waves. The 2-inch-wide sections will produce the softer, silky waves.

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.