Woman with short finger wave hairstyle
Hair Styling | Wavy Hair Hairstyles

Finger Waves: Inspired by the Roaring Twenties

What comes to mind when you think of finger waves? The sophisticated style first came to be in the 1920s as a way to spice up the uniform bob sported by flapper girls at that time in jazz clubs. The style made a comeback in the 90s for black hair and now it’s doing the rounds again in 2020!


Sought-after fashion designers such as Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs integrated finger waves into their recent fashion shows, which then inspired many celebs to try them out on the red carpet. If you’ve taken a liking to this “in” retro hairstyle, try it out for yourself. It’s super easy! The modern take on finger waves means that just the sides are wavy, not all the hair. And this time, it’s not just for short hair – it works on any length! Read on for how to get finger waves and step back in time to the roaring twenties.


How to Do Finger Waves

Follow these steps and you’ll have gorgeous finger waves in no time.

  1. First wash your hair. Hair needs to be wet in order to shape finger waves properly.
  2. Work a generous amount of hair mousse through your wet hair. It’s best to use a tail comb so the mousse can be evenly distributed throughout your hair and can hold the finger waves in place better.
  3. Create a deep side part. Next to the part, separate a wide section of hair (about 2" wide) above your forehead. This section of hair will be used to form the finger waves..
  4. Use the tail comb to pull the separated hair strands forward towards your face and start shaping the finger waves next to the part, working your way towards the end of the strand. First push the hair upward towards the parting to shape the first of the finger waves rows.
  5. Secure the base of each newly formed wave using a special finger wave clip.
  6. Alternate between pushing your hair upwards or downwards, which is how to do the finger wave rows. Secure each row with a clip before shaping the next wave in the opposite direction.
  7. The first time around, your finger waves may not be quite as perfect as you want them to be. Don’t worry, you get to practice as often as you like as long as your hair is still wet.
  8. Once you are happy with your finger wave hairstyle, allow your hair to air-dry before you remove the finger wave clips.
  9. Last, but not least, fix the retro style with hairspray. We recommend göt2b® Volumaniac Hairspray or for an even stronger hold, göt2b® Glued freeze Blasting Spray will ensure the waves are kept in place especially those next to your face.

Finger Wave Hairstyles for Work and Play

The alternative to classic finger waves also originated in the twenties. In this alternative version, the finger waves are soft and not quite as defined. In the twenties, hair stylists formed the waves using a hot iron. The modern version of this hot iron is the flat iron:


How to do this finger waves hairstyle: Separate out a section of hair about 2" wide. Starting on top of your head, roll the hair inward by turning the flat iron once. Then pull the flat iron slightly downward. Now roll the hair over the hot flat iron in the other direction and pull the flat iron downwards a bit. Alternately roll your hair over the flat iron inward and outward until you reach the end of the strand.

Finger Wave Styles: Suitable Outfits and Make-up

Whether you hair is blonde or brunette, the style of the roaring twenties suits everybody. Depending on the occasion, you may choose more or less expressive make-up. For a dramatic appearance in the style of Hollywood divas that graced our screen literally a century ago, you’ll need false eyelashes and bright red lipstick.


Wide, knee-length dresses, pearls, cloche (fitted bell-shaped) hats, Alice bands, strap court shoes, art deco patterns, sequins and feathers are the best suited outfits and accessories for the finger wave hairstyle. Once you’ve mastered how to do finger waves, experiment as much as possible to get the perfect look.

Tip: Don’t forget to try out other 20s hairstyles if this is the decade for you.