About The Marcel Wave Hairdo from Associated Hair Professionals

A model poses with the perfect 1920's marcel waves hairstyle.The Marcel Wave

Want to make some waves? Introduce your clients to "Marcelling"

This column appears in Volume 1, Issue 3 of AHP Indie Stylist magazine


The Marcel Wave is named for French hairstylist François Marcel, who invented the process in 1872. Created with the help of heated curling irons, the wave remained popular for more than five decades—and it still works today.

Marcel styled the hair of popular actress Jane Hading with his waving technique, generating enormous publicity, which he promptly capitalized on. His first patent for a “curling iron” was granted in 1905. The look took off in the 1920s, when bold women started cutting off their long locks after seeing the waves on Hollywood stars like Josephine Baker, Mary Pickford, and Claudette Cobert.

Like many glamorous hairstyles of the past, women can still pull off this sleek and gorgeous style, especially for special occasions.


How do you create marcel waves?

Marcel waves are created by using a curling iron and your fingers to create a back and forth wave style. When creating marcel waves, you will not wrap the hair around the barrel like you usually would when using a curling iron. Instead, use the heat of the iron to make repeating divets in the hair going towards the nape of the neck. 

How do you use marcel wave clips?

Once you create your wave style, use marcel wave clips to hold waves in place while they cool. Place marcel wave clips horizontally to hold each wave all the way down the sides of your head.

Can you create marcel waves with a flat iron?

You can create marcel waves with a flat iron in a similar way that you would with a curling iron. However, while the entire barrel of the curling iron gets hot, only the center plates of a traditional flat iron heat up. For this reason, your waves may not look quite as rounded when using a flat iron.



AHP Indie Stylist volume 1 issue 3 cover pageAHP Indie Stylist magazine

AHP Indie Stylist is AHP's bimonthly publication, created to speak directly to you, the independent hair stylist and barber. In this issue:


Are you a licensed hairstylist or barber with something to share with other stylists? We would love to publish your expertise! Reach out to our editor mary@associatedhairprofessionals.com for more information.




Beautiful. I’ve been in the beauty industry since 1997. Happy to see this style lives on. Very classic

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