360 Waves – How to Get this Hair Style & Haircut

This is a tutorial on how to get 360 waves for men with curly hair. A typical black men hairstyle, 360 waves offer a good styling option for men with the tightest of curl types!

The 360 Waves hairstyle aims to give an illusion of waves cruising through the scalp, which can look pretty cool provided you have the curl type for it. The waves are caused by brushing the hair so that the kinks clump into each other, thus forming lines when the brushing is done evenly.

360 waves work best on kinky curly hair; Type V curly hair is the best curl type for this hairstyle although you can also do 360 waves on Type IV curly hair. The hairstyle takes some maintaining but it certainly pays off as it can look pretty sweet on short kinky (i.e. afro textured) hair.

Let’s have a detailed look at the 360 waves hairstyle with this tutorial!

How to get 360 waves hairstyle picturing a teenager black male

Some cool looking 360 waves, son!

360 waves – How to get this Hair Style & Haircut

Hair-length category


Suitable curly hair type

Type IV and V

Haircut for the 360 waves hairstyle

The haircut for the 360 Waves hairstyle must be an even length on the top of the head (a #3 or #4 guard length or 3/4 of an inch maximum). There should be no tapering or fading, although you can taper the very beginning of the nape’s hairline or do a blocked nape. Use a hair clipper to get the haircut for the 360 waves and either do it yourself or have someone else do it (e.g. friend or barber).

You should not get a haircut once you start the 360 waves for at least 2 months. As you start from a short hair length as stated above, your hair will grow during those 2 months, which, combined with your daily brushing (as per the Styling instructions below), will create deeper and deeper waves; this process is called wolfing, by which the depth of your waves increases as the hair grows longer and the waves become much more noticeable. After 2 months (or even 3 months), go to a barber who knows how to cut 360 waves; bear in mind not all barbers know and a barber who doesn’t know how to cut 360 waves can easily destroy your waves in an instant!

Haircut difficulty

2 out of 5

Styling of the 360 waves hairstyle

The actual waves in the 360 Waves hairstyle take time to form and are not instant. Once you have got yourself the proper haircut, it is then that you use a special brush to brush the hair on top of the head forward and starting from the vertex (aka crown, back of top of the head). Then, you must brush the hair on the sides of the head (at an angle towards the front) and the hair on the back of the head (in a downwards motion). In essence, think of yourself standing up on the floor: you should be brushing forward at an angle from the floor for the sides of your head while you should brush vertically from the floor for the back of the head. Likewise, taking the floor as a starting point, the hair on the top would be brushed parallel to the floor.

Diagram showing how to get 360 waves hairstyle by brushing the kinky hair

These are the brushing areas and directions: top, sides and back.

The above brushing motion will cause the so called “waves” to cruise all around the scalp; with the 360 waves hairstyle, the waves will appear to be radiating in a circumference from the vertex, giving a very peculiar even pattern of lines (i.e. waves) on your scalp.

To brush your hair, ensure that the hair is damp (see this general hair styling guide) and coat the hair with a leave-in conditioner (use very little) prior to the brushing so that the kinks are moisturized. You may also use some drops of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to coat the kinks instead of using the leave in conditioner, or you can use both the leave-in and the EVOO together prior to brushing (first apply the leave-in, then the EVOO). I recommend you to stay away from styling products in the beginning, although you can experiment with small amounts of hair pomade if you want an even shinier look.

Essentially, the more you brush, the faster your kinks will clump into wave patterns. Thus, spend every day giving yourself brushing sessions that last a couple of minutes each (although you can go for longer in each session). The brushing motion should be smooth and without exerting too much force, and the hair brush should be soft or medium grade (start with a soft brush for the first 4 weeks). It can take some 2-3 months of daily brushing to achieve great-looking waves, so be patient!

Use a dorag or a sleeping cap when going to bed so as to protect the delicate wave-like formation of the kinks with your 360 waves. Likewise, use a dorag for most of your time during the timespan that it takes to develop the waves (e.g. if it takes 3 months to get the pattern dialed in, then use a dorag during that timespan when you leave your house). You can also continue to use a dorag after the waves have been formed and wolfed.

A black male showing his 360 waves hairstyle after wolfing it

Some sick 360 waves!

Styling difficulty

4 out of 5

Which male celebrity has sported a 360 waves hairstyle?

Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy) has sported some cool-looking 360 waves for most of his music career although he seems to prefer doing the waves on the top only (in this case, the style would be called simply Waves instead of 360 waves).

Puff Daddy mugshot showing his 360 waves hairstyle

Not the most appropriate picture of Puff Daddy, but in this mugshot you can more or less see how Puff Daddy’s 360 waves look from the front and side!

The hair of Puff Daddy styled with 360 waves in a videoclip

That’s a tad better

Hair products for 360 Waves hairstyle

Click to purchase

The 360 waves hairstyle is one cool style option for men with short curly kinky hair. While the styling of the 360 waves takes a bit of time, it is worth the effort if you follow this tutorial and are motivated to get your waves flowing!

Image credit: Facebook and Wikipedia

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Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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5 comments for “360 Waves – How to Get this Hair Style & Haircut

  1. Karrem
    June 8, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Anyone with curly hair at all can get waves. but the looser the curls the bigger the waves

  2. Wavykid201
    March 26, 2015 at 2:30 am

    I got a taper wit my waves and it looks just fine.

  3. Marvin woodson
    March 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Show waves going sideways. I cannot find nothing on it

  4. Phil Norman
    October 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

    You can wash your hair in the shower. You can even brush your waves while you shower. Just don’t brush your hair the opposite way that your waves go. If you go against the grain of your waves it can undo all that work that you had put in. Even wash your hair in the shower just make sure to do it with the grain of your waves.

  5. khary
    June 22, 2014 at 5:08 am

    i like the tutorial about about making waves but i didn’t see any info on washing the hair is that a no no or is it ok to wash it?

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