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Perfect Wavy Hair 101: The Easy Route to Sexy and Beachy

Ricky Pannell, owner of Manhattan’s hip Snip N Sip salon, styles some of the most beautiful, piecey, flowing, and perfectly Giselle-like wavy hair in the business. Here, how he gets the look:

Start with superclean hair. If you have very curly or wavy hair and you want to fight frizz, be sure to rinse it for a full two minutes to get all the conditioner out. That’s essential. Any kind of build up makes your hair harder to manage.

Gently blot your hair with a towel, comb it out with a wide-tooth comb and let it dry naturally. (If you have thick, unruly curls, run a drop of a silicone treatment like John Frieda Frizz Ease through your hair while it’s still damp.) No touching during the drying process—that lifts the cuticle and frizzes it out.

When your hair is 90 percent dry, twist it into four buns: one on top of your head, one on each side, and one in the back, and let them set for 20-30 minutes. (For waves all around, you need four buns minimum.

The Secret to great, natural-looking waves is shiny, healthy-looking ends. So tuck the ends into the buns smoothly.

I’m a big believer in finishing cream. When your hair is completely dry, arrange the waves with your fingers and smooth the tips with a light finishing cream like John Frieda Secret Weapon. I’ve tried a zillion expensive, high-end finishing creams, but I always come back to that one.

For some oomph, I use texturizing mist like Oribe Aprés Beach Wave & Shine Spray: It’s a dry shampoo with a little moisture, so it gives you volume and makes your hair look sleeker and shinier.

For more polished waves, skip the buns and do hot rollers: they only need to set for 5-10 minutes, tops. The key: don’t brush your hair after you take the rollers out. If the style feels a little Miss America, just blast it with a blow dryer to relax it a bit.

Use only one or two styling products at one time. That’s my rule: Any more than that and you get into trouble.

I’m not big on shampooing every day—it dries your hair out. Even when you do wash, cut down to just a dab of shampoo, like an eighth of what you normally use.

Get your ends trimmed regularly. If your hair is healthy and glossy, a few flyaways look fine.

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