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This ‘Finger Wave’ Hack Defines Your Curl Pattern with Way Less Damage

This pro-inspired finger wave hack defines your waves and curls while cutting down on heat damage. Here’s how to make the trick work for you.

Having a wavy or curly mane can sometimes feel like a full-time job. As much as we want to embrace our natural texture and let our strands air-dry to perfection without the help of hot tools, many of us know how unrealistic it is for our locks to be uniformly defined and frizz-free across our whole head. But whipping out the curling iron defeats the purpose of helping our waves stay healthy over time. What to do?

Well, we can’t get enough of this finger wave hack from ambassador Bradley Leake during our Mane Campus: Semester of Style campaign. The trick involves alternating between either wrapping small sections of hair tightly around your index finger or coiling larger pieces around a curling wand.

“I absolutely encourage all of my curly girls to embrace their natural curls, but not all curls and hair types are created equal,” says Leake. “Using your fingers to help define your curl pattern and cut down on heat damage is the best way to keep your curls hydrated and happy.”

Watch Leake’s quick tutorial below, then keep scrolling for his best tips and tricks to make a finger wave hairstyle work for you.

How do you section off hair to make finger waves?

The best part about finger waves is that you don’t have to take too much time out of your routine to create them. Rather, you only need to touch up the outer layer of hair to control your curls and give off the appearance of a more polished ‘do.

“They can be done around the entire head, but typically the crown and hairline to define the exterior of your curls,” says Leake.

finger wave hack

How long should you keep strands wrapped around your finger?

“I recommend defining the curls while the hair is saturated with product and then not touching the curls again until the hair is dry,” says Leake. “This is the best way for a frizz-free end result.”

What products can you use alongside finger waves?

“Always use a heat protectant such as Redken’s Thermal Spray 11 Low Hold before using a curling iron,” says Leake. This lightweight, thermal heat protection hairspray adds shine and reduces frizz. He adds: “Make sure the hair is 100 percent dry before adding any heat from a curling iron or wand. Remember, less is more with your hot tools.”

When it comes to helping finger waves retain their shape, Leake says that a good hydrating all-in-one leave-in can make all the difference, as well as running a hair oil serum through the ends to help seal the curl. In the video above, he uses Kérastase’s Curl Manifesto Crème de Jour Fondamentale Hair Cream and the brand’s Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil to make the finger wave hairstyle come to life.

Prefer to streamline your routine using only one product? We suggest picking up a do-it-all formula like Redken’s All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment with Hyaluronic Acid. It offers heat protection of up to 450 degrees, restores and retains moisture within the hair, and shields against humidity and frizz for up to 24 hours.

In addition to the right products, a few tweaks to your hair care routine can also ensure your finger waves thrive.

“Sleeping on a silk pillowcase at night will help to keep your frizz at bay, and using a microfiber or old cotton T-shirt to scrunch your curls after the shower also helps in a major way.”

If you take Leake’s tips for a whirl, we have a feeling your natural pattern will be healthier (and more stunning) than ever.

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