How to Get Perfect Loose Waves
Follow hairstylist Eva Scrivo's 4-step plan for the ideal oversized curl.

When Julie Rath, a 33-year-old men's image consultant, tried to play up the natural wave in her long, thick hair, she aimed for a style that was smooth and sophisticated. "But what I ended up with was often just scraggly," she says. Hairstylist Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty, showed Rath a foolproof process for achieving lush, elegant waves.

Before You Begin:
Get the right haircut. If your cut is too blunt (like Rath's was), the thick ends will weigh down your curl. To cultivate loose, bouncy waves, Scrivo cut long layers into Rath's hair.
Step 1
Prep damp hair with the right styling product for your texture. If you have thick hair, work a smoothing oil from midlength to ends to control frizz. If you have extremely straight or fine hair, you'll need extra hold to keep waves intact, so comb a mousse from roots to ends.
Step 2
Blow-dry completely, using your fingers to pull hair taut as you direct the dryer's nozzle downward.
Step 3
Starting around the face, use a 1¼-inch curling iron to create waves in two-inch sections. Twirl the hair away from the face, and keep the iron at a 45-degree angle.
Step 4
Clip the completed front sections out of the way and curl the back half of the hair. Hold the iron vertically, with its top just above ear level.

Loose Waves
Once all of the waves have cooled, gently comb through them with your fingers.