How to Create Old Hollywood Waves Like Jessica Alba and Jessica Chastain


If there’s one beauty trend that’s swept the red carpet this spring, it’s Old Hollywood style hair. This sleek and sophisticated look has always been a glamorous choice but more and more celebrities have been shying away from the controlled updos of the past and working with this retro style. Luckily, it’s very easy to do at home, and with a few small adjustments, you can really make it your own. See our tips below for how to create red carpet-ready Old Hollywood waves.

Jessica Chastain Old Hollywood wavesJessica Alba Old Hollywood waves

Depending on the natural texture of your hair, you can start with it in its natural state, or if you’re looking for a bit more volume, blow-dry it with a thickening cream, such as Living Proof’s Full Thickening Cream, $26, for a glossier, more polished finish. Be sure to part your hair deep onto one side; play around to see which side works best for you. There are two ways to get romantic waves: a curling iron or hot rollers. If you’re using hot rollers, simply set them in your hair and let them cool. If you’re using a curling iron, separate your hair into square sections and start curling medium sized sections all going the same direction with a one-inch barreled curling iron, such as Sultra’s The Bombshell 1 Inch, $130.

Once you’ve curled your whole head, spray lightly with a medium hold hairspray, such as Bumble and bumble’s Does It All Styling Spray, $14, which offers flexible hold to help keep the waves in place. The next step is the same no matter which method of curl you choose. Take a brush and fully comb through the curls. At first this will feel weird — after all, you’re ruining all your hard work — but trust that it will work. Gather your hair into a low ponytail and thoroughly brush through until your hair almost looks like on giant curl. If you find the curls separating at the bottom, backbrush underneath the hair and it should keep them in place. This is the perfect place to stop if you’re happy with the waves, but for extra hold, you can also use flat clips to define the curls more before you do a final spray with a firmer hold hairspray.

Eva Longoria Old Hollywood wavesAmy Adams Old Hollywood waves

The way you style it now is up to you. If you want to be traditional, sweep one side behind your ear and let the curls fall along your opposite shoulder. For a more modern twist, try doing a small French braid on the side where your part lies and let it follow your hairline to the back. Then pin it underneath the curls. 

Images: Lia Toby/