360 waves, spinners, or tidal waves is a short, trendy hairstyle that most black men rock. Generally, The curls are laid down to achieve a pattern resembling a ripple on water.
You can’t walk into a barbershop for a 360 wave haircut.
Because this is a style that develops over time.
After a few weeks of brushing your hair and following the routines provided below, you’ll have nice, enviable waves.
The main question here is; how do you get 360 waves?
If you are wondering the same, this is the right place to find those answers.
In this post, I’ll take you through a simple, step-by-step guide on how to develop 360 waves as well as everything else you need to know about this hairstyle; including:
- The history of 360 waves.
- Steps to follow to get deep waves
- Tips and tricks to get the best waves
- Is it possible to get 360 waves in 5 minutes, an hour, or a day?
- Compare 360 waves, 720 waves, and 180 waves
- I will also answer the most asked questions about this hairstyle.
Are you ready? If so, let’s get wavy!
The Rich History of 360 Waves
History dictates that Egyptians were wearing waves over 5000 years ago.
360 waves have been with us since the beginning of civilization. Thus, making waves one of the few hairstyles that have stood the test of time.
This style wasn’t as popular in other parts of the world at the time. But, its uptake began to shift a few centuries and decades later.
Generally, the early 21st century saw an even broader adoption of this hairstyle; among African-American men. It was easy to achieve, looked great, and didn’t require much maintenance.
In, came the do-rags (du-rags).
The modern history of waves is closely linked to du-rags. That’s why you can’t mention this style without mentioning a durag.
A du-rag is a piece of cloth worn to maintain or accelerate wave formation. The best ones are made of silk, satin, spandex, or velvet.
While waves date back centuries ago, durags were first made in the early 19th century. Back then, durags were worn by African American women to hold the hair in place and lock in moisture.
In the 1960s, after the Black Power Movement, durags became a fashion statement and a piece of black men culture.
So, you might be wondering – why is a du-rag important for 360 Waves?
Ideally, waves need to be held in place, especially during their early days. A du-rag comes in handy to keep the hair in place; hence, accelerating the wave formation process.
There are a dozen ways you can wear waves.
From short waves to the blowout haircut with waves, 180 waves, the half-moon, two half-moons, or even high fade waves.
Want waves for any of these styles?
First, let’s get a few things out of the way.
What’s The Best Hair Type For 360 Waves?
Here is the thing:
When it comes to 360 waves, texture and hair type matters.
Here is how to test your hair…
- Grow your hair at least 2 inches.
- Check to see if it has a natural wave to it.
The easiest way to know whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair type is to use the Andre Walker Hair Typing System.
** Andre Walker is Oprah Winfrey’s personal stylist.
You are lucky if you have a hair type that holds an “S” shape.
This makes 3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b the best hair types for 360 waves. If you want to know how hard it will be for you, check how far you are from type 3a.
While it might be slightly hard for those with 2c, it will be hardest for those with 1a.
The straighter your hair is, the tougher it will be.
If your hair has natural curls, your waves journey is off to a good start.
What Tools and Products Do Need to Make 360 Waves?
Before you start working on your waves, make sure you have these items.
- 2 or 3 wave brushes (soft, medium-hard, and hard bristle wave brushes).
- Hair food grease.
- Leave-in conditioner.
- Several durags (nylon or spandex) or wave caps.
- Commitment (not really a tool but just as important).
How To Pick a Waves Brush
When creating any kind of waves, one of the most important tools you’ll need is a Wave Brush. And while there are many options to choose from, it’s always wise to go for the most ideal one.
On that note:
Here are a few things you should know when shopping for a wave brush.
a) Know The Different Types Of Wave Brushes
There are three types of wave brushes; the main difference being in the bristles’ hardness, type, and length.
You can opt for soft, semi-hard, or hard bristle brushes.
What’s the difference?
A soft bristle brush is ideal for:
- Sensitive scalps; as these brushes are kinder.
- Maintaining waves.
- Fine and short hair during the initial days.
A soft bristle brush is gentle on the scalp. It’s what you want to use right after getting a haircut; just before you start waving.
The flexible, gentle bristles on soft brushes help distribute hair products evenly and keep your waves flat and sleek.
When wolfing, a soft bristle brush may not get through the hair easily. Therefore, you may need a semi-hard or hard bristles brush.
Hard bristle brushes make it easier to manage waves before getting a haircut. They’re also an excellent tool to lay your hair down when taking a shower.
These brushes are ideal for coarser hair or those who want to get waves faster.
However, it’s important to note that these brushes can be a bit harsh and rough on the scalp. Hence, not the best choice for men with sensitive skin.
You can always opt for a double-sided wave brush. These tools come with hard bristles on one side and medium-hard bristles on the other side for added versatility.
b) Understand The Different Designs of Wave Brushes
Apart from the bristles, another consideration to make when buying a wave brush is the shape and design.
The last thing you want is to give up on your waves because of a painful wrist.
That’s why you need a brush that feels good and comfortable in your hands. One that offers a nice grip and is easy to hold for hours.
You have two main options – paddle brushes and regular wave brushes.
What’s the difference?
- Paddle brushes are normally bigger because of their rectangular head.
- While Regular wave brushes are smaller, making them travel-friendly; i.e. you can carry one in your bag conveniently.
But, take note:
Paddle brushes cover a large surface when combing hair. Thus, making them ideal for men with a lot of hair.
c) Bristles Spacings and Type of Handle
Pay attention to the bristles.
The best wave brushes have bristles that are evenly spaced. They should neither be very closely packed nor too far apart.
Uneven spacing can cause irregular waving patterns; that won’t bode well for you.
Also, consider the type of bristles.
Boar bristles are better than goat, horse, or synthetic bristles. Boar bristles are firmer, long-lasting, and don’t smell.
When it comes to the handle, you will find wooden, metallic, and plastic options.
Well, I’d go with the wooden handles.
They are better, durable, and more comfy. Plus, these handles look great and are lighter.
Can you use a regular brush?
Waves brushes are designed for wavy hair, unlike regular hair brushes. There are also specific wave brushes with bristles designed for thick hair.
Moreover, these brushes’ bristles reach the scalp. And their special design is what allows them to evenly spread the hair in a circular shape.
Steps on How to Get 360 Waves
Before starting this process, it’s important to make sure your scalp is healthy.
A healthy scalp is the best base for 360 waves. If you are struggling with dry scalp or dandruff, remedy these issues using the right products before trying this hairstyle.
I also recommend giving your hair time to heal if you have dry or damaged hair.
Let’s get down to it…
Step #1: Start By Getting A Fresh Haircut
The best conditions for 360 waves is a fresh haircut.
When getting a haircut, inform your barber that you want to get waves. An experienced hairdresser will easily identify the right haircut for you.
To be on the safe side, arm yourself with photos to help them get a clear picture of the look you want.
Ideally, get a #2 haircut because it leaves a 1/4-inch of hair on the scalp.
Rule of thumb:
Your scalp should not show.
And that’s why a #2 haircut gives you enough hair to create circular waves, signature to 360 waves; without exposing the scalp.
At this point, I’m assuming:
- You know your hair type
- Your scalp is healthy
- You got a haircut
If so, let’s get into washing.
Step #2: Give Your Hair A Thorough Washing
When developing waves, you’ll have to wash your hair at least once a week. Therefore, it’s best to start with a clean scalp.
Start by applying shampoo and lather up; then, spread throughout and gently massage the scalp.
Start brushing when you apply shampoo. The Lather helps to create waves even before using any moisturizer or pomade.
For the best results, brush your hair along the grain before using a conditioner and rinsing.
Step #3: Apply A Wave Cream or a Water-Based Pomade
After washing your hair, partially dry it.
Then, apply a suitable wave pomade or cream. But, ensure you use just enough to cover the entire head and work it into the hair for a few seconds.
Step #4: Now, Onto Brushing
This is what you shall be doing religiously every day for the next few weeks – brushing and brushing some more!
It may seem a bit too much?
Brushing is 100% key to getting natural 360 waves. If you don’t spend your time brushing, the resulting waves won’t meet your expectations.
No pressure here.
Consistency is paramount.
So, with that in mind, how do you go about this?
Here’s what you need to know…
How To Brush Your Hair To Get 360 Waves
360 waves is a water-ripple pattern. Therefore, you must brush your hair in a pattern that will produce these waves.
Step #1 Start at the top of the head.
Begin brushing from the crown to the front. Brush your hair in a forward motion and repeat 50 to 100 times. To form a wave pattern.
Yes, 50 to 100 times – at least once a day.
While doing this, remember to cover the entire front part of your head. Consistent brushing is what makes waves.
The brushing pattern should be consistent. Changing it will have a negative effect on your progress.
Step #2 Onto the right side.
Again, from the top.
Brush hair in downward motions. Repeat this 50-100 times. In fact, if you can, repeat this process a few times a day.
Step #3 Tackle the left side.
Your brushing motions should start at the top downwards on the left side. Remember to angle the brush such that it follows the direction your hair grows.
Step #4 Lastly, do the back of the head
The back of the head can mess with the way your crown looks after forming waves. To avoid this, use a mirror so that you can easily and comfortably see what you are doing.
You need to continue brushing in a downward motion, repeating as many times as possible down to the nape of your neck.
Trim the hairline to achieve a sharp, contrasting effect.
Also, you can apply some more pomade after brushing throughout the head and repeat brushing for a few more minutes.
Brushing is the hardest, but most important, step in getting 360 waves. And since it can get monotonous, try doing something else when brushing your hair.
Depending on how good you are at multitasking, you can watch a movie, listen to radio/podcasts, or stream your favorite music.
If that’s not possible, ask a friend or partner to help with this.
How to Deal With Hard to Wave Spots
A common issue with most people is getting a few spots that don’t form waves; for example, having incessant, untameable cowlicks.
If your hair is void of cowlicks but still contains patches of hard-to-wave regions, it could be because…
- You are sleeping on one side only. Hence, this impacts the waves on that specific side.
- Or, it’s because of thin hair. Note that thin hair doesn’t develop waves easily.
If you have tried everything and it’s not working, look for a curl-enhancing product; especially, one that is made for hard-to-wave hair.
Since this is not a permanent solution, assess what could be causing these spots. If it’s because of damaged hair, apply the right products and let the hair recover.
Step #5 Du-rag Time
A good silk or satin Du-rag is the key to maintaining the waves you are creating.
A Durag (Do-rag) should be part of your nighttime routine. It’s best to wear it every day for banging deep waves. And to soften coarse afro hair.
Silk and satin material lock in the moisture in your hair to avoid dry or frizzy 360 waves.
What if you don’t have a durag?
Ever heard of wave caps?
Also called stocking caps, wave caps are made of similar material to women’s stockings. But they have a thick elastic band to secure the cap around the head.
On the plus side:
A cap gives hair additional compression. And you can use a durag together with a wave cap for extra-defined waves.
A Few Pro Tips You Need To Know About 360 Waves
- Moisturize Your Hair At Least 3 Times A Day
Apply moisturizer in the morning, afternoon, and before bed. And remember to brush your hair every time you moisturize.
For the speedy wave pattern formation:
Brush hair for 10 to 20 minutes per session, 3 times a day.
Well, it’s called training, guys.
Waves will take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to form after you start a proper brushing routine
- Wash Your Hair Once Or Twice A Week
This is important:
After you start developing your waves, don’t wash your hair every day.
Because some shampoos tend to straighten hair and can limit/negatively affect your progress.
Instead, rinse with hair conditioner or water only.
- Avoid Touching Your Hair
As tempting as it may be, touching your hair can easily undo the waves you’ve created after brushing.
Therefore, if you have to, mimic the movement of the brush to feel the waves.
Touch hair while moving outwards – away from the crown.
- Place A Hot Towel On Your Head After Applying Pomade Or Cream.
The warmth aids in melting oil and wax-based pomades; thus, letting the products spread evenly throughout the scalp.
- A Few Common Mistakes to Avoid (The Don’ts)
Obviously, there are several impediments that may hinder your waving process.
So, you should avoid:
- Brushing dry hair
- Using cheaply-made brushes
- Brushing against the hair grain
How much do you know about wolfing?
Then, here are a few things to note.
How to Maintain 360 Waves During Wolfing
Wolfing is the process of growing your hair while training it for waves. This means skipping your regular haircut routine for a while.
In the meantime, you are supposed to:
- Moisturize your waves every day.
- Use a hard bristle brush when wolfing. It gets deep into the waves.
- After 2-4 weeks, get a # 2.5 WTG (With the Grain) haircut to maintain wave patterns.
- After the haircut, use hair grease/gel/wax to lay the hair down.
- For your nighttime routine, use a styling cream and pomade before tying a durag to define the waves.
You cannot space out or change the size of your waves. The spacing depends on your hair type.
The curlier the hair, the smaller the waves. On the other hand, if you have straight hair, you will have wider waves.
And that brings us to this…
How to Get 360 Waves with Straight Hair
Can you get waves with straight hair?
You have to develop curls to get waves.
This can be difficult to do if you don’t have natural curls. That’s why straight hair gets a bad rep when it comes to getting 360 waves.
Even black guys with 100% straight hair will find it hard to train their hair for waves. And it’s even tougher with thick straight hair.
What can you do?
I’d say, ”manage your expectations, but give it a try.”
Developing curls from straight hair requires the right products, time, and commitment.
Here’s how to wave straight hair…
- Start by getting a haircut and buying the required tools and products.
- Thereafter, use a soft brush for short hair, then move on to a medium and later a hard brush when you can no longer feel your scalp.
- Also, don’t forget to wear a durag before sleeping. In due time, you should see your waves coming in.
If, after a few weeks of commitment, there’s still no waves, it may be time to reconsider getting them.
Time-Frames: Is It Possible To Get 360 Waves In 5 Minutes, 1 Hour, Or Overnight?
I know what you’re thinking.
I just explained that you need to brush a few hours every day for weeks before waves start forming.
Is there a faster approach?
You can’t get waves in 5 minutes, 1 hour, or overnight. And that is even if you have naturally curly hair.
If you had waves but accidentally slept without a durag, or you slacked for a few days, you can train them back easily.
How To Wash Your 360 Waves Like A Pro
Apart from knowing how to get a 360 wave, another important skill you must perfect is washing.
As I earlier indicated, 360 waves can take weeks before starting to form. All this time, your work will include washing, brushing, and taking care of the hair.
That’s where it gets tricky.
Remember, I advised against washing daily…?
So, how do you keep your hair clean without regularly washing it?
Well, this is what you will need:
- Your favorite brush.
- Wave washing/curl-enhancing shampoo.
- Shea butter for waves.
1. Start by applying a dime-sized shampoo to damp hair. Following the direction of the waves, thoroughly spread to lather the hair using your fingers.
2. Start brushing the hair following the same pattern you follow when making waves. This process should spread the shampoo down to the hair roots.
3. To rinse the hair, use warm water; but continue brushing following the same pattern.
4. Lastly, towel dry the hair following your waves pattern. Apply shea butter, continue brushing until the hair is dry. And don’t forget to wear a durag or a wave cap to hold the waves in place.
Do this after every 3 days.
There are two types of washing; shampooing and rinsing.
When rinsing, you only use water without any cleaning products. On the other hand, washing includes shampooing and conditioning the hair.
I recommend shampooing once or twice a week and rinsing every day.
How To Maintain Your 360 Waves To Keep Them Healthy
As you have seen, getting 360 waves involves a lot of repetition. On top of brushing, another important thing is the maintenance/care routine.
How do you keep your 360 wave haircut healthy and well-maintained?
Here are a few tips:
- Rinse your hair daily or a few times a week but wash the hair using a wave-inducing shampoo and conditioner at least once a week.
- Get a haircut after a few weeks unless you are wolfing.
- Brush the hair every day. Only brush when it’s damp.
- Apply a wave moisturizer every day.
- Apply your favorite essential oils regularly; for instance, argan oil.
- Wear a durag or wave cap when heading to bed.
- If you are experiencing hard-to-wave spots, try using wave grease/gel, biotin and scale down washing/rinsing frequency.
- Whenever it’s humid or hot, make sure you put on a durag. This can be when running or hitting the gym.
- Make sure you have the right products for your specific hair type and tools.
- Ensure your scalp is healthy.
- If you have to use a pomade, go for water-based pomades to avoid buildups and product residue.
- Don’t forget to eat healthy, drink water, and maintain a fit lifestyle.
Here’s a common question…
Can You Get Waves If You Are White, Asian, Or Latino?
Have you been wondering:
It’s common to see black guys rocking waves, but can you get this hairstyle if you are White, Asian, or Latino?
Here is the thing:
While waves are popular with African Americans, there are no restrictions on who can rock them.
It’s not about race.
Provided you have the right hair type, tools, products, and know-how, getting waves becomes easy.
Wave Comparison: Which One Should You Go For?
How Do 360 Waves Compare With 720 Waves
Also known as swirl waves, 720 waves have a different trajectory compared to 360 waves.
360 waves start at the crown and flow straight in all directions.
With 720 waves, you start at the crown, but the waves flow diagonally towards the neckline and sideburns. This pattern creates spiral or beehive waves.
You can’t switch from 360 waves to 720 waves. You have to start fresh to create 720 waves.
How Do 360 Waves Compare With 180 Waves?
The easiest waves to achieve are 180 waves.
You develop the ripple pattern on the front section of the head only. This style is also known as half-waves.
What you need to do is:
- Get a fade haircut.
- Focus the waves from the crown to the forehead.
- Make sure to trim the hairline for a sharp look.
180 waves hairstyles look terrific when paired with a beard.
Frequently Asked Questions on How To Get 360 Waves
Can anyone get 360 waves?
Yes, anyone can get 360 waves; whether they are black, white, Asian, or Hispanic. However, how fast they form depends on the hair type.
Those with naturally wavy hair will get waves easier and faster than those with straight hair.
With consistency and time, most people can get 360 waves.
Apart from the hair type, getting the right products and following the process religiously also determines the results.
How do you get rid of durag lines fast?
One issue with durags is that they often leave dark lines on the face; especially, after wearing a durag for a long time.
The question is, how do you get rid of these lines?
Borrowing from the principle of “prevention is better than cure,” the best way to get rid of durag lines is to avoid them in the first place.
It’s in the way you tie the durag.
- First, make sure that the seam is on the outside.
- Secondly, make sure the edges from the ties don’t overlap. When they overlap, they create a pressure line; which causes the indentation on your forehead.
- Lastly, don’t wear the durag too tight. While you want the durag to compress the hair, it should not feel tight on the forehead. Tap it down all around your head so that it stays flat.
But if you already have the lines, there is a quick remedy.
Use a wet cloth to massage your forehead. This should get rid of any lines. You can also take a hot shower.
Will you lose the waves if you dye your hair?
I get it:
Dying your hair is a fantastic way to give your waves a new look.
The question is, will dying negatively affect the waves?
Well, in most cases – No.
Your waves will still be intact even after dying. Because hair dyes don’t change the hair’s texture.
If you have coarse hair, it may get drier.
The remedy, in this case, is proper shampooing and conditioning.
Evidently, getting 360 waves is easier than you think.
With the right tools, products and adhering to the processes above, you can easily make great-looking, deep 360 waves.
But there is no doubt that this hairstyle is not for the faint-hearted. It requires commitment and dedication.
Nothing good comes easy.
So, put in the effort, and deep 360 ripples will be your reward.
Be sure to let me know how your 360 waves turned out. I’d love to hear from you.
I am very interested to know your specific hair type, the products you are using, and how easy it was for you to get waves.