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Let's Talk Waves

As wedding season comes into full swing, I’ve definitely noticed down, curly hairstyles becoming a hot bridal trend. But I’ve also noticed that aside from the words “down” and “curly,” clients often don’t have any other words to describe what they want!

As a hairstylist, “down” and “curly” can mean a million different looks. Worst-case scenario, a stylist may have to go through a handful of the “wrong” version before finally creating what their bride had in mind. On behalf of formal stylists everywhere, here’s a little vocabulary lesson that will help brides articulate the type of “down, curly” hairstyles their looking to rock on their big day:


This look is the perfect balance between curl and wave. Featuring undone curls, this deconstructed look appears natural and effortless while still remaining elegant. This hair feels authentic and lived-in, perfect for a fun-loving, whimsical bride. Highly popular for summer and coastal weddings, this perfectly imperfect look is popping up everywhere.


This constructed curl can make a bride panic when she’s watching the process happen (if you ever notice your stylist turning you away from a mirror, it’s probably to prevent this reaction.) The ringlet type curl is usually set with a 1 inch curling iron, creating UBER tight curls. It’s done this way because starting with a tighter curl gives hair a stronger backbone, so to speak. Remember – wedding days are LONG, and you’ll want to rock this look all day.

A handful of brides may want to stick with the super-tight curl (featured below) but most will decide to go with a tamer version of this look. To do this, a stylist simply pulls the tight curls out, resulting in a blowout-type look with better hold and well-defined curls. If you feel your curls are a tiny bit too constructed for your liking when your stylist is done, resist asking them to tone it down more. Your hair will settle as the day goes on, resulting in a more natural, but still constructed, curl.


If you’re looking for that old-school Hollywood glam, this is the look for you. The Hollywood Wave is one of the most structured looks out there. A specialty style, it is among my most highly-requested looks for brides and formal occasions. This look features well-defined, obedient waves that are simply stunning. Roll out the red carpet, because this look is going to be a head-turner!

Still not sure exactly what to call the look you’re going for? BRING PICTURES! Us stylists are visual learners anyway. We’ll just be grateful to have more to go on than just the words “down” and “wave.” (We all know you have an entire album in your phone dedicated to your wedding anyway.)

Sue Natale is a Long Island-based hairstylist and fashionista. Her work experience includes several salons on Long Island, including the world-renown Red Door Salon at the Garden City Hotel. Today, she works as a freelance hairstylist affiliated with Metamorphosis New York. Follow her on Instagram @suenatale_thestylist, or click here to book an appointment or consultation.

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