How to create Hollywood waves

How To | Hollywood Waves with ghd Curve

how to create Hollywood Waves - tutorialIn my head, I basically look like a cross between Lana del Rey and Scarlett O’Hara.

It’s honestly a bit of a bummer every morning when I wake up, look in the mirror, and realise I actually look nothing like either of them. The perils of a vivid imagination, huh?

Anyway, there’s not much I can do about the Scarlett O’Hara thing (I mean, I’d give it my best shot, but those hoop skirts are a real pain, seriously…), but I can at least try to achieve Lana’s hair, can’t I? You know that super-glam, Hollywood wave thing she sometimes does? I LOVE that look: and now, thanks to the nice people at ghd, I can attempt to replicate it. (Please note the word “attempt” in that sentence: it’s an important one…) They very kindly sent me one of their Curve Wave stylers to try out, and whaddya know: the photo on the box is pure Lana (Note: not actually Lana). Hollywood waves, here I come! First, though, and just so you can see how totally delusional I am about this, here’s a ‘before’ shot, featuring my naturally straight, unstyled, uncombed, badly-in-need-of-a trim hair:

straight hair before using GHD wave styler

I literally called my stylist friend right after taking this photo, I swear. She came round yesterday and cut a chunk of hair off the bottom: phew!

Here, meanwhile, is what I’ll be using to try and transform this into glamorous waves:

This is the ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand, and it’s all kinds of awesome. The main thing to note here is the oval barrel, which is what creates those big, deep waves, but this also has some other pretty cool features, like the extra long swivel cord (Which means that whatever angle you hold it at, you’re not going to risk wrapping the cord around your neck…), and the cool tip, which lets you wrap the hair around the barrel and then grab on to the end of the styler, without burning your fingers. (I obviously DID burn my fingers, but that’s because I’m clumsy, and didn’t use the cool tip, not because of the styler…) Crucially, this also uses what ghd describe as tri-zone technology to make sure that the entire length of the wand remains at the optimum heat for curling, the whole time you’re using it. It heats up in just a few seconds, and I know this is superficial of me, but I really like the sounds it makes when you turn it on and off, so there’s that, too.

But on with the waves! This wand is, as I said, designed to create big waves, just like Lana’s. If you’re looking for ringlets, or other, tighter curls, this one probably isn’t for you (There are curl stylers in the ghd Curve range too, though, and I now want to try them ALL…)

First things first, you’re going to want to section your hair into two layers, and pin the top layer up, out of the way:

tutorial: how to create Hollywood waves

pin the hair on top of the head

Just for fun, try taking photos of yourself while you do this: it won’t make your hair look any better, but it WILL turn it into a fun challenge!

Next, take your styler (which will have heated up in the time it took me to write this sentence), and start wrapping your first section of hair around the barrel, holding it diagonally, like so:

Note how I’m holding the styler at the tip, which is totally cool to the touch. I’m doing this because I’d already learned my lesson the hard way, and touched the actual barrel of it – don’t be like me, people!

(Also note that that’s not my bra you can see in this photo, it’s a cami top, worn because that top always gapes at the neckline. Note to self: wear a brooch next time, self…)

One of the best things about this wand is that you only need to hold each lock of hair in place for around 10 seconds or so, so it’s pretty fast to use. When you release the hair, it should look something like this:

waves created with GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand

Aaand, there’s that cami again!

I could basically just end this tutorial here, having passed on all of my wisdom on this subject, but I’ve started now, so I may as well go ahead and curl the rest of the bottom layer of hair, which ends up looking like this:

waves created with GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand

waves created with GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand

So, loose waves rather than tight curls, basically: and once you’ve released the top layer of hair and repeated the process with it, you’ll end up with something like this:
tutorial: loose waves

How to use the GHD Classic Wave Wand to create loose waves

You could, of course, just leave it at that, if you’re looking to create a style with more of a curl to it. If you’re after that so-called “Hollywood” wave, however, there’s one more step to go, and that’s to carefully brush through the curls, to smooth them out and create this kind of look:

tutorial: how to create Hollywood waves

how to create loose waves with the GHD Classic Wave Styler

As you can see, my result is messier and less coiffed than Lana’s (And at last the mystery is solved! Finally we know why she’s a world-famous star, and I’m taking photos of my own head, while flashing my camisole at the internet!), but that does make it more of an “everyday” kind look, albeit with a touch of glam to it. I’ve found that although the curls will loosen slightly (especially if it’s a windy day, which it always is…), they’ll still be more or less in place by bedtime, and if I put my hair in a bun before going to bed, I’ll still have some waves the next day. ghd stylers are one of the few hair tools I’ve used which will actually keep the curl in my hair (I do actually have the Curl Hold Spray, which I totally forgot to mention in this post, but I find the waves will last even without it. Oh, and I ALSO forget to mention the Heat Protect Spray, which I’ve also been using: my hair is horrendously dry right now, so I’ve been using this to stop it getting even more damaged. I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes, but it smells DIVINE, so it’s worth it for the scent alone…), which is why I really wasn’t joking when I said I want to try all of the curlers in this range: you can never have too many, right?

Before and after: GHD classic wave wand

  • Hi Amber, I was thinking the other day about buying some new curling wand as my hair is now quite long. I might look into these as I like the idea of a cooling tip to the wand, as I (and I’m sure many other) hate burning my fingers on them.

    July 27, 2016
  • Tanya


    Great post, Amber. Just wondering where your top is from? Looks like Collectif…

    July 27, 2016
  • The Other Emma


    I normally manage to burn both my fingers and my face when curling my hair – it’s a special skill……………….

    July 27, 2016
  • I’d like to add that the Babyliss Diamond Waves styler is one of the few I’ve used that’s achieved a look like this for me and actually held in place all day – great bit of kit that. Would be good if you’re looking for waves a bit tighter than this, but I like the look of this product for those big-ass ones!

    July 27, 2016
  • Ohhhh this looks so pretty! Perfect natural looking waves! x
    Sophie Cliff

    July 27, 2016
  • Myra


    Looks great

    July 27, 2016
  • You are stunning! When you dream, dream big!

    July 28, 2016
  • Great post! The final hair results look beautiful. The curls created were very stunning, full-bodied and look glamourous. It’s great to find the right products and tools to master such looks, and to be able to use it with such ease is even better!

    August 15, 2016