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Congratulations! By taking the time to read this guide, you’ve taken the first step in getting deep, spinning, rockin’ waves that will get you plenty of compliments – from folks you know and even a few from those you don’t.
Many have adopted the notion that gaining an attractive wave pattern may be impossible, or that there is a secret procedure you must follow to attain perfect, spinning waves for your hair. Dedication to a grooming plan that involves strategic, regimented brushing methods and hair care practices is the only step between the hair you have now and the spinning wave look you desire.
The WaveBuilder Wave Training Guide isn’t just an overview with a few photos of guys with great waves and barely any instruction on how to take care of your hair. Instead, it is an actual guidebook, thoroughly researched and incorporating a vast array of men’s real life experiences with contrasting hair texture, maintenance preferences, styling product usage and so on.
We encourage you to reference this guide frequently during your wave training period and to make use of the message boards at http://www.wavebuilder.com to discuss the process with guys who are just beginning to train their waves and others who have mastered the look.
1. What Are Waves?
2. Begin Your Training
3. Your Brush and Brushing
4. Your Styling Products
5. Your Barber
6. Your Maintenance Routine
7. Things to Remember
8. Training Chart
9. Maintenance Chart
What Are Waves?
It’s a given that you know what waves look like, but the unsure or uninitiated may not realize what actually makes up those hot, spinning waves.
Men with a hair texture that would be considered curly to extremely curly are prime candidates for waving their hair. Many men choose to keep their hair very short to deal with the natural texture of their hair, but for those who are looking to develop a slick, stylish appearance, very curly hair has the ability to develop an off the hook wave pattern.
With minimal grooming and when allowed to grow, curly hair will naturally “tuft.” That is, produce the familiar “Afro” look by essentially growing into long, looping curls that intertwine and actually extend away from the scalp. Waved hair, in short, is your natural hair, longer than usual but “trained” to closely follow the contours of your scalp. This effect is achieved by repeated brushing and the intelligent use of the right styling products.
As people vary from one to another, hair texture does too. You may have even noticed that members of your own family may have darker, shinier, thicker or curlier hair than you do. This being the case, you may need to make adjustments to your training routine over the next few weeks as you notice your wave pattern developing. Not to worry, alternative for training a multitude of hair textures will be discussed in the following chapters.
Begin Your Training
“The finished product is only as good as what goes into it” is an appropriate adage when it comes to training your waves.
Before you even think of embarking on the Wave Training Program, make sure your hair and scalp are in good health and that the overall “look” of your hair is in prime condition.
If it’s the winter and your scalp is dry or you’re battling a bit of dandruff, either wait for more humid, temperate months or take aggressive action to remedy your scalp’s problems. If you work in a harsh environment where you’re required to wear equipment that causes patchiness, breakage or hair loss due to tight headgear fittings, make sure to be refitted with something less irritating. Waves are about cultivating and maintaining a permanent pattern in relatively long hair. If you invest a good amount of time defining your pattern in the recreational hours of your day, the last thing you want to do is throw away all of that hard work while you’re at work.
You should take a look at your schedule and find times of the day when you are completely free or are able to multi-task, as training your waves will require lengthy effort (especially in the beginning) to persuade your hair away from immediately curling upon it’s departure from the follicle.
A trip to your favorite barber will be in order, especially if it’s been a while since your last cut or if your hair is longer. Although you may have been requesting that your prior haircuts essentially “clean-up” your natural hairline, many men who wear waves start to have their barber style in a “razor line” (a completely horizontal line at the bangs from temple to temple) or opt for a traditional “Caesar” cut. Sharpening up the front portion along with the usual attention given to the back and around the ears will provide awesome contrast and “pop” once your waves begin to form.
Once these points have been taken into consideration, begin to amass the tools that you’ll need to train your waves. There are a few essentials that required for starting the Wave Training Program.
First and foremost, you will need a men’s hand brush. It is important to use a hand brush as brushes with handles and convex bristle placements are designed to brush through longer hair. Handled brushes do not offer the sort of control required to develop your wave pattern and locating a handled brush in the array of bristle firmnesses that men’s brushes come in can prove to be difficult.
Another staple will be a mild, yet effective shampoo. WaveBuilder™ Wash In Waves is perfect for the job. Wash In Waves is specially formulated to clean without over drying and messing up your waves. Wash In Waves is great because not only will it cleanse your hair and scalp throughout your wave training but as your waves develop it will rid your hair of any styling product build up. Many people are accustomed to following shampooing with a conditioner. WaveBuilder™ has your conditioning needs covered with Brush In Waves. Brush In Waves provides conditioning while you brush and ensures that each individual hair strand kept soft and supple. Softer hair is wavier, more manageable hair. Both of these products have killer hydrating/moisturizing ability and will aid in the moisturization of your hair during the Wave Training process.
Additionally, be sure to pick up a high quality nylon or spandex durag or stocking cap. WaveBuilder™ is on the cutting edge of cap design and production – offering styles and features not found in traditional durags and caps. The WaveBuilder™ Seamless Wave Rag offers incredible style and the revolutionary benefit of leaving no lines in your hair when using it. The WaveBuilder™ Wave Cap is a standard stocking cap on top but with spandex on the bottom for extra wave making power. Of course, there are standard durags, stocking caps and wave caps available for the traditionalist. The headgear you choose will serve two roles in the development of your waves; it will help slow the liberation of moisture from your hair and scalp and will protect your waves from the ravaging effects your pillow through a night’s sleep.
For optimal results, other styling products like WaveBuilder™ Spin’n Waves and WaveBuilder™ Deep Wave will come into play as your waves begin to develop and will be discussed in the maintenance chapter of this guide.
Your Brush and Brushing
There are many factors that one need take into account when purchasing a brush. You should first assess the texture of your hair. Fine or less curly hair will require a soft to medium bristle brush. Be wary that some brushes for these hair types may actually be too soft and will be ineffective in producing waves. If in doubt, step up to a brush with harder bristles. If you possess hair that is really, really thick or has a very tight curl pattern you should choose a brush within the hard to very hard bristle firmness range. These very firm bristles will not only be responsible for brushing your hair into the desired direction, but will be literally pulling each strand of hair along your scalp so it conforms to your head’s contours and begins to wave.
Brushes with wooden bases and 50% boar bristle 50% synthetic bristle composition are your best choice but will also be costly. You may find yourself going through a small trial and error process in order to find a brush that yields good results if you choose a fully synthetic bristle brush.
Once you have made your brush selection you’re obviously ready to begin brushing. On your first day it’s advisable to have your first brushing session after your morning shower. Blot your scalp dry if you’re not in the habit of doing this already. If you’re accustomed to rubbing your head dry this will complicate the appearance of waves in future weeks as you’ll be tussling your hair out of pattern. Once the excess water has been blotted from your head, stand in front of a mirror or if you have a mirror setup that enables you to see the back and sides f your head, all the better. Watching yourself in the mirror for the first few days will be fundamental in developing good brushing form and habits. After a few days pass, muscle memory will take over and you’ll be brushing in good form with or without a mirror. It is worth noting that some prefer to complete their morning brushing session while in the shower. While the concept behind this (your hair being constantly doused with water) is great, beginners should refrain from this method until their brushing technique has been thoroughly established. Failure to follow good form can be counterproductive in the formation of waves.
Your first application of the brush should be to the top of your head. Brush this area forward, starting at the peak of your head and finishing on the sides, right below the where the side of your head begins, or on the side about an inch and a half above the eye line. Brush through at least 50 strokes.
Your second brushing area should be the back of the head down to the neck. This area should be brushed from the rear crown (where you see guys getting a bald spot) downward and extending to the sides just behind the ears for another 50 strokes at least.
The final portion of the head that requires brushing are the sides. Being that this final area essentially “closes the gap” between the top and back, you must compromise between the forward and downward strokes used to maintain the 360 degree circular look. Begin just below the crown of your head, right above your ear and with a diagonal motion toward your cheeks, brush through at least 50 strokes on each side.
Many feel that this morning brushing session is the most important as it sets the pace for the maintenance brushing you’ll be doing the rest of the day. Another benefit of the morning session is that is the time when your hair will be at it’s most hydrated, making it much more “agreeable” to waving versus curling. Make the whole ritual easier and more effective by using WaveBuilder™ Brush In Waves during your morning brush-through.
Remember, you cannot brush too much!
For the remainder of the day, continue to brush in the exact same pattern that you established in the morning. If you have a few minutes as you prepare for a morning meeting, on your way out to lunch or even as you prepare for a trip to the gym in the late afternoon, try to factor in at least three additional daytime brushing sessions.
Your final session will come before bed. This session is also important as you’ll be in the comfort of your own home and will be able to moisten your hair and scalp with a quick rinse, a warm towel wrapped around your head for three to five minutes or another treatment of WaveBuilder™ Brush In Waves. Perform your preferred method of moisturizing and begin to bush your soft, pliable hair with the brushing technique. After this nighttime session, throw on your durag or stocking cap so you don’t ruin a day’s worth of hard work while you sleep.
Day after day – repeat, repeat, repeat and you will begin to notice your waves developing in no time.
As your waves become more pronounced and defined you will probably feel the need to purchase a new brush with firmer bristles. This is due in part to your hair becoming longer and offering more resistance to the bristles and because brushes do lose their firmness with repeated use over time.
Your Styling Products
There are a multitude of products on the market claming to “give you waves.” Unfortunately, there is no single solution that upon application, instantly forms waves in your hair. Your first priority is to stick to the brushing program you develop. After that, you can get a little help in the definition and overall look of your waves with the following:
Without a doubt, when someone thinks of waves, pomade comes to mind. Pomade is a styling product that gives hold to the hairstyle and also imparts sheen to the hair. Unlike a gel or hair spray, pomade provides styling assistance without becoming dry and taking vital moisture from the hair and scalp. WaveBuilder™ Deep Wave pomade has been specifically researched and formulated to help enhance the subtle peaks that become visible during the first few weeks of your wave training and to provide hold and luster to deep, heavily trained waves.
WaveBuilder™ Spin’n Waves is a cream-like pomade that is very light, has exceptional holding strength, rinses easily and provides all the shine of standard pomade without excess weight. Another plus with using a holding cream is that there’s no hard to rinse buildup and no greasy feeling. You still get all the shine of pomade, but without the fuss.
If your hair is very resistant to brushing or you’re looking to get maximum wave results with minimal effort (or in an shorter time period), texturizers like WaveBuilder™ Wave-Tex can totally bump up your Wave Training effort. By acting on disulfide bonds in the hair strand, texturizers will actually change the consistency of your hair to make it straighter and softer – without all of the brushing. Obviously, once the curl has been “relaxed” a bit, the hair will have an easier time of lying on the scalp – resulting in fantastic waves. Please understand that even if you use a texturizer this doesn’t mean you’ve immediately got waves. You’ve still got to keep up with the brush, you just may not have to be as aggressive or wait so long to see waves start to form.
About two weeks into the Wave Training Program, you may feel the need to head to your barber for a clean up. It is essential that you inform the barber that the patterns forming within your hair are completely intentional. Most barbers will know exactly what they should do in this case, but in the event that your barber is unaware, inform them that they’re doing more than a clean up and razoring up the edges – they must cut your hair with the grain. In other words, the way you brush is the way they should cut. Clippers, even with a guard in place can act as brushes in and of themselves. You wouldn’t go and start brushing your hair in the opposite direction; your barber shouldn’t cut in that direction either.
Another point to consider when visiting your barber will be the overall shape of your style. As mentioned before, many guys choose to complement their waves with a “razor line” style. This sharp contrast of angular bangs and temples provides excellent contrast for the smooth, rolling waves all over your head. Some guys’ natural hair growth doesn’t provide for such a style and the familiar “widow’s peak” hairline becomes more visible. If the shape of your head is the right type for such styling (round skull and face), your barber can actually razor up the protruding peak to mimic the razor line look. For guys with more square or oblong faces, a sharp reinforcement of the natural hairline is your best bet.
Whichever style you choose, remember that the 360 wave style is really set off by a fine, symmetrical perimeter to the hairline, providing contrast to those deep, rolling waves.
Your barber can also be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to any problems that may arise during your Wave Training period. He comes in contact with many men like you who are successfully training and wearing waves. He also knows that wolfing out is a totally acceptable part of getting deep, connecting waves. Don’t feel that you have to hit up the barber shop every week! Your barber should be able to give you advice on brushing methods if your waves are having connection problems around your head. Being that hair care is their profession, they should carry a wide array of high quality styling products like WaveBuilder™. If they’re not carrying WaveBuilder™, now would be a great time to ask them to stock some.
Your Maintenance Routine
It’s probably taken you about 2 months of really keeping to your brushing and schedule, but here you are. Deep, spinning, off the hook waves are finally yours! Not only does your hair look better, but the stimulation that your scalp has received over this time has made your scalp stronger and new growth will be less likely to fall out prematurely. The regular application of a quality conditioning product like WaveBuilder™ Brush In Waves and wearing your durag or stocking cap like the WaveBuilder™ Wave Training Cap has also helped to keep essential moisture locked into the hair shaft, fortifying it to the core.
Unfortunately, all of this hard work can be easily ruined if you do not use a daily maintenance routine.
At this point your hair is probably much longer than you’re used to wearing it. Although it won’t look long because it has been smoothed to the contours of your scalp, if you were to extend the actual hair, you would probably be amazed at its length. In short, the more hair on your head, the likelier you are to require a bit more product and a little more time setting things in order with your brush. Don’t let that statement put you off from keeping up your incredible new look. Just stay the course through a few more weeks and all of this will become second nature to you.
If you still do your morning brushing after exiting the shower, you will probably notice that you need to perform a few more strokes to get your hair in order than you did when you first started the program. Brushing in the shower may be easier as the flow of water actually helps flatten your hair as it rolls down your head. Making sure your hair is in check in the morning will greatly reduce the chance of wolfing out with frizz and fly aways later on in the day.
After the morning session, your brushing will become less frequent. No longer will you have to endure the grueling, manic brushing sessions like when you first got into training your hair. Your hair is now “programmed” to lie flat against the scalp with an dope wave to it. This isn’t to say that you can stop brushing. After all, you’re only trained the part of your hair that has already grown out. Hair being produced in the follicle is new and will act the way that it is genetically “programmed” to. Brush when you have the chance, when your hair is out of place or when you need to perk up “dead spots” that you may see in the wave pattern. Otherwise, a slight touchup every three hours should keep you fresh.
If you notice that the ends of your hair or the peaks of your waves begin to lose their shine, especially on a day when you’re not using a pomade of any type, you may want to look for a moisturizing agent like WaveBuilder™ Brush In Waves to penetrate and lock in vital moisture. Dry hair can look flat out nasty and what’s worse is that dry hair is more susceptible to damage and breakage.
Finally, continued use of your durag or stocking cap is essential. Your waves are deeper than ever before, all as a result of your hair being long. Surfaces have a much easier time grabbing hold of long hair than stubbly or short hair. Just imagine the damage a scratchy pillow could inflict on a head of neatly waved hair! If you’re in an emergency situation, try to obtain a satin or silk scarf and fashion a kerchief from it. Make sure to firmly knot the kerchief without affecting your circulation. You certainly don’t want it slipping off while you sleep.
Things to Remember
The following are key points to remember for the lifetime of your hairstyle.
1. Moisture is your ally. You can never over moisturize your hair – especially at the program’s start. You’ll be putting your hair and scalp though a brushing routine that they are likely to have never experienced before, so keeping your hair moist and healthy will make sure you’re not breaking hairs while you brush. Make sure to keep WaveBuilder™ Brush In Waves on hand in the bathroom and maybe one on you for times when you can get home.
2. Lock that moisture in – Anything you can do to keep your hair hydrated is a plus. Use your durag whenever you get the chance. Moisten your durag with water and wring it out before wearing it. Keep internally hydrated by drinking lots of water after workouts or any physical activity.
3. Get frequent “clean up” cuts from your barber. During the training phase, getting a haircut once every two to three weeks will not only have you constantly looking sharp as a knife, but it will help with wave formation by eliminating those stubborn, hairs that refuse to lay into the “grain” and behave!
4. Brush. Brush. Brush. This cannot be stressed enough. Brush in the shower. Brush out of the shower. Brush on the way to school or work. Brush at lunch. Brush on the way home and brush before bed. Thinking about brushing at another time? Go ahead and do it, just always be mindful of the brushing pattern you’re using.
Download the PDF version to get a printable training chart to track your progress along the way.
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