Sophisticated with a sultry edge, the wet hair look is that girl. Zendaya, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian—pretty much every one of our favorite celebs has rocked this timeless hairstyle on the red carpet, inspiring all of us to put it on our mood boards to one day recreate it for ourselves. If that day has come for you but you have no idea where to even start (because, believe it or not, this look requires much more than a shower), then you’re in luck.
We’ve turned to Justine Marjan, a celebrity hairstylist who’s worked with the likes of Ashley Graham and Hailee Steinfeld, and Charlotte Mensah, hairstylist and founder of Charlotte Mensah Manketti, for a foolproof guide on getting the wet hair look at home. Read on to see how you can re-create it for yourself.
Have Your Essentials Ready
Marjan says you’ll need to have the following hair products ready at your disposal for styling hair: mousse, hair gel, a shine serum, and hairspray. For naturally curly hair, Mensah recommends some sort of pomade that you can mix in with the gel—which is a key step. “Using gel without hair cream will leave your hair crunchy,” she says.
For hair tools, Marjan recommends a sectioning comb and settling clip to help you style. Those with curly or coily hair texture should also have a paddle brush, says Mensah.
Start With Damp Hair
Don’t wait to blow dry your hair before styling. For the wet hair look, you’ll want to start with—you guessed it—wet hair. Mensah says that you’ll want strands to be freshly washed and deeply conditioned, so get hair to be at least damp. If it dries too quickly as you’re styling, she says to have a spray bottle at hand to spritz on water to keep hair wet. Then you’ll section off hair in small sections and work in your products from there.
Grab Your Gel
The key to the wet hair look is gel—and loads of it. And it doesn’t matter if you have straight hair, short hair, long hair, curly hair, etc. either. No matter what your hair type is, as Marjan says, the wet-look hair can work for anyone. How you use the gel is dependent on your hair texture. The experts break it down with some general guidelines:
Fine hair doesn’t need that much extra product to achieve this look. Just focus on spreading a gel like the TRESemmé Extra Hold Gel from root to tip. Marjan says once your entire head is covered, then section your hair and style it as you wish (slicked back, textured, etc.) as the gel dries into the strands to give it that wet effect.
Extra Hold Hair Gel
Instant Freeze Hair with Jojoba Oil & Sea Kelp Gel
Marjan says to prep your waves with mousse to help look extra moisturized. After you work that in, then you’ll grab your gel and start spreading it from the root to your ends. She emphasizes that you don’t need to use a conservative amount and to apply more than you think so you can really make your waves look extra wet. Then use flat clips or the end of the sectioning comb to define your waves for added drama.
Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse
Pequi Medium-Hold Styling Hair Gel
Curly / Coily Hair
Moisture, moisture, and more moisture is key for natural curls that tend to achieve this look. Mensah says to start by mixing gel and pomade together (she even likes to mix an hair oil like the CM Manketti Oil with the CM Pomade and gel for this). This mixture will keep curls hydrated but also provide that slicked-back shine and hold you need.
Once you have your mixture, start working it in, section by section. She recommends detangling hair with a paddle brush as you go. Again, don’t be afraid to use a lot of gel. In fact, she encourages using a bit more than you think you should to help elongate your hair and for that extra hold. You can even use those hair clips to help flatten those curls if you want. “I recommend adding some weight to the ends of your hair…to slightly pull the curl out,” she says. “Leave them in as your hair air dries and then remove them. This will create an all-day hold while keeping the style locked in.”
To help curls air dry properly, she says to cover hair with two silk scarves—one for the front and one at the back to keep the length of hair in place—while you wait.
Manketti Oil Pomade
Olive Oil Professional Styling Gel
Finish With a Serum
To get hair to look—and stay—wet, Marjan says to work in a shine serum on top. For long staring power, you have to make sure you use enough styling product (“Don’t skimp on the gel,” she says) and set it with a hairspray that has a stronghold, and gives shine and helps reduce frizz or any flyaways.
So, as far as hair trends go, it’s one of the easier looks to recreate for yourself. Just follow these simple steps to elevate your glam and you’ll be good to go.
Super Skinny Serum
Ghost Weightless Hair Oil
Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold Unscented
Volume Spray 25