Vintage fingerwave updo

Get the steps for creating this classic fingerwave updo hairstyle. It takes some time, but is well worth the effort. And it’s so much fun!




The Set. This will build the foundation of a lasting fingerwave updo. Separate the hair from the temples to the crown and set in pincurls (video coming on this). Here, a 1inch curling rod was used on sections about 1″ square, and then the curls were flattened against the scalp and secured with pincurl clips. This set was done in alternating directions with the first section, from the heavy side of the part, pivoting at the crown and returning to the forehead, all sections curled clockwise around the barrel. This means the curls I started with were moving toward the face but as I worked around the part and toward the front of the face on the other side, it ended up winding away from the face. This is VERY important for getting a consistent wave pattern. The second section was curled counter-clockwise. Also very important for having a smooth, consistent wave that is easy to mold into shape. A third small section (just 3 curls) was pincurled on the heavy side of the part to ensure balance. And, as you might have guessed, these were wound clockwise.


Create a secure bun in the bottom section. I took the center back section and wove a small braid, then twisted it up and secured. Then took each side back section and wound it around the braid and pinned. This way you create some width in the style and can use that braid as a sort of cushion to secure the rest of the hair.


Once pincurls are set (and completely cooled if you used heat) remove the clips and comb through all those lovely bouncy spirals to start forming the waves. Lift sections and lightly backcomb the root sections to blend. Then smooth out the sections and distribute around the head as you wish for them to lay. Here, I have split the sections at the back to reveal the bun in the bottom section.

Use a comb to encourage the natural ‘C’ patterns that emerge as you smooth out the waves and push the hair back on itself. Place small flat clips in the grooves between the waves to hold the hair in place as you work down the length. Spray the top sections with a medium to firm hold hairspray to set this new shape.


The ends of your vintage fingerwave updo can be handled in whatever way you please. If this style were for an edgy event, I might leave them mostly loose and backcomb for some expansion and intentional frizz, then define a few waves. Or for a very polished look, coil the ends down and pin in shiny loops. I chose to do a loose french braid with them and tucked the ends up underneath, pinning to the bottom braid/bun section. Then I removed all the clips and did some final sculpting and pinning to create a shape that was pleasing from every angle.