Nicole Keen
Nicole Keen

The secret to foolproof flatiron waves

This is the story of how I joined the “S” club—as in “S” waves or “Scandi” (for Scandinavian) waves. Lately, I’ve found myself in a hair rut. I’m in desperate need of a cut, but I can’t seem to find the time. Months ago my hair was a nicely shaped bob that gradually grew into a lob and now it’s flat out unruly and I’m feeling like a slob (see what I did there?). Needless to say, I was itching to find a simple way to spice up my strands sans scissors.

I’ve been wanting to master flatiron waves for a while now. To that end, I’ve watched dozens of video tutorials using various tricks, but I still couldn’t make sense of any of them. And then I stumbled upon this video by Nicci Welsh, a british-born, Copenhagen-based hairdresser, via social media, and it made me want to heat up my flatiron immediately! What I like most about this technique is that it’s easy (trust me, if I can do it, you can do it!), and it’s not meant to be too precise. Plus, it works with your hair’s natural curves instead of fighting against them.


The night before trying the “S” wave for the first time, I washed my hair and applied John Frieda Frizz-Ease primer while it was still wet, then I let my locks air-dry (I always find this gives my hair the best texture). The next morning I plugged in my flatiron and got to work—but not before protecting my hair against damage by spraying Tresemmé’s heat spray all over my head. On a side note, both of these hair products are faves because they don’t feel greasy or heavy.

Whereas other flatiron wave tutorials instruct you to twist your hair around the flatiron, this technique just calls for you to bend small sections of hair into an “S” shape and then tap the curves with your flatiron. You basically clamp your flatiron down where you want your hair to bend (a word to the wise, though, don’t hold your hair for too long or you’ll get an unsightly crimp mark!). It takes a couple of tries to get it right, but once you do, you’ll notice loose, surfer-girl waves emerging before your eyes. One more tip: save the front pieces for last and take extra care to make sure the waves frame your face just so.