Wave and Curl

You probably came to this page looking for images of different waves and curls on men and women’s hair. It’s for good reason we’re not displaying those images here. The problem with this approach is that most people who view those images are seeing the curl pattern out of context of their own hair system or hairstyle, and it can be misleading. However, here you’ll learn more about the many intricacies of determining the correct wave or curl pattern for your hair system, and how we make it really easy for you.

Choosing a wave or curl

The great news is you don’t have to worry about figuring out if a light bend, loose wave, or various types of curl will best create your desired hairstyle. As part of Gather™, our personalized pre-consultation tool, you will either upload or choose photos of hairstyles you like. Then, your hair replacement consultant will determine which wave, curl, density, and length you need to achieve that result. We can do everything, from pin straight to afro, including light bend, loose waves, open curl, tight curls, and more. It’s that simple.

Variables to consider

There are many variables to consider when choosing the correct wave or curl pattern for a particular hair system with a certain hairstyle. That’s why we ask you leave it up to us. Below, we outline these considerations for your reference.

Method and rod size

Typically, hair processed for wave and curl is done at the factory, before the ventilation process. At the factory, bundles of hair are processed for wave and curl on long metal rods, and set via a heat-steaming process. However, if a wave or curl needs to be corrected or refreshed, we use traditional perming chemicals on the finished hair system, but shorten the processing time to prevent too much damage to the hair. In either case, whether steamed or permed and neutralized, human hair is never true to the original rod size. The finished curl will always be larger than the actual rod size that was used.

Hair length

Hair length greatly affects how the actual curl or wave appears on the hair. For example, a 1/2-inch rod will likely open to a 1-inch curl on 6-inch long hair, but the same rod on 16-inch hair will likely look more like an open wave, due to the weight of the hair and the amount of “drag” it puts on the curl.

The tighter the wave or curl, the shorter the hair will appear. To measure the actual hair length, you have to stretch out the curl.

Your hair consultant will determine the hair length needed to accommodate any “shrinkage” from the curl pattern, and plan accordingly so your finished length (after processing for curl) is not too short.

Hair color

Hair color has a direct influence on how far the wave or curl will open (or loosen) compared to the original rod size.

Darker hair colors hold curl better, and are truer to the expected size. Lighter colors, such as blonds and reds, will typically be looser, due to the extra processing the hair undergoes to achieve those colors.

We do not recommend tight curls on light hair colors and reds. More processing compromises quality, causing severe shedding, breakage, and tangling.

Hair type

Synthetic hair holds curl and wave quite well, but water, steam, and heat styling can easily cause the hair to lose the curl, requiring it to be reset.

We use Indian and Chinese hair in our human hair systems. Indian hair is soft and fine, and usually has a natural wave or bend to it. The fine, thin strands can’t withstand the processing necessary for tight curls or very straight hair, so Indian hair is a good match for hair with a slight bend or wave.

Generally, Chinese hair is thicker than Indian, so it can tolerate more processing. Because of its ability to withstand processing, it works well for afro curl and tighter wave and curl patterns. Curled Chinese hair doesn't relax quickly, doesn't frizz much, and holds the integrity of the curl better, unless the hair is light blond or red.

Density

Tighter wave and curl make density appear thicker and fuller. This is taken into consideration when determining the density for the wavy or curly hairstyle you choose, while keeping the density age-appropriate.

Styling

Keep in mind, if you provide a photo of a finished style for us to match, but for some reason request that your system not be cut, styled and blended prior to shipping, the wave and curl will not be same after you have it cut and styled locally. Removing hair length will change the way the curl behaves. Please speak with your hair consultant if this is a concern.

Also, there are times when some wave and curl will be required even if the hairstyle appears to be straight. For example, some shorter cuts and straight bobs need some wave for styling purposes, and brush back styles need some bend in the hair in order for style to hold.

In any case, be prepared to take the time to style your hair system and work with the wave or curl so you can mimic the hairstyle you choose.