How to Make a Marcel Wave

Updated February 21, 2017

The Marcel wave has been around since the 1870s. Similar to a finger wave, the Marcel wave was considered the height of fashion for many years after that. Special irons and combs were used to create the waves for women in beauty salons, but recreating the look at home can be done simply using a wide barrelled curling iron and hot rollers. This look would be perfect for a costume party or night out.

Wash your hair as you normally would, and let it air-dry.

Spray your hair with a conditioning spray. This eliminates frizz and makes for smoother waves. Brush the spray through your hair thoroughly.

Create a side part in your hair, and set your entire head with hot rollers. Leave them in for 20 minutes or until the rollers feel cool.

Spray the hair with heat protectant spray to prevent any damage from occurring since you are going to use an iron to heat style your hair.

Create the Marcel wave starting at the top of your hair right above your forehead. Clamp a wide barrel curling iron in place at the top of your head. Leave the iron clamped on to the hair for 15 seconds.

Twist the iron so it's upside down with the clamp opening on the bottom, and clamp it over the section of hair underneath that section for 15 seconds. This back and forth pattern will create the Marcel waves. Allow the waves to fall over your forehead for a more retro look.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray conditioner
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Hot rollers
  • Heat protecting spray
  • Wide barrelled curling iron
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About the Author

Christi Aldridge has been writing professionally since 2009. She graduated from Texas Christian University, where she was a featured contributor for several campus publications and won an award for best columnist.