Single vs. Double Barrel Hair Waver

There are dozens of ways to create texture, volume, and movement, and hair wavers are probably the easiest and fastest way to go about it. Lindsey Olson, Sam Villa Ambassador (@lindsey.marie.olson) demonstrates the difference between a single and a double barrel hair waver as she creates glam waves two ways. 

Regardless of the hair waver used, Olson recommends the following steps: 

  • Apply a dry mousse like Redken Root Lifter 10 to build volume, combing it through the hair and blow drying it. 
  • Use dry sectioning clips to section the hair—they won’t leave a mark. 
  • Spray each section with Redken Thermal Spray 22 and comb it through. For highly polished results, the hair has to be smooth before compressing it. The denser the hair, the smaller the section. 
  • Begin compressing, counting to three for each compression for consistency. 
  • Cool hair thoroughly before breaking it up and styling; this will make the waves last longer. 
  • Use your fingers to break up the hair for a loose, boho finish, a wide-tooth comb to push waves together, or a Sam Villa Artist Series Polishing Paddle Brush for an ultra-smooth, glam finish. 
  • Finish with Redken Shine Flash for added gloss. 

Olson used Sam Villa Pro Results Double-Waver and Single-Waver irons for the demonstration, along with diagonal back sections to create a soft flow away from the face. 

The Hair Waver Results 

Double-Waver: Two subtle rounded barrels 

Result: Waves are soft and round. These waves are good for boho updos, soft braids, romantic, soft texture, and on natural curls to accentuate and define texture. 

Single Waver: One deep, narrow barrel  

Result: A poppy wave with more intense ripples—the ultimate accordion glam wave with a luxe feel. This makes more of an impact than the double barrel hair waver and the perfect glam waves in far less time than a traditional set. 

“If you do a lot of brides and updos, wavers will save you so much time. They’re faster than using a regular curling or flat iron, especially for making glam luxe waves,” says Olson. “And, yes, they are different, so don’t choose one over the other. Trust me, you need both!” 

See Olson create effortless, lived-in waves with a double waver and Marcel iron in just 10 minutes here

Sam Villa is co-founder and chief creative officer of the Sam Villa Company (Allvus, LLC), a leading education and styling tool company for the professional hair industry. He is also Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken 5th Avenue, a L’Oreal brand. Villa is the 2021 NAHA Educator of the Year, Hair Awards USA Hall of Fame Inductee, 2021 AHP Icon Stylist Influencer of the Year, 2020 International Hairdressing Awards ‘International Hair Influencer of the Year,’ the 2017 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Intercoiffure America/Canada Member, Behind the Chair Stylist Choice Award Winner for Favorite Platform Artist and Educator (2012, 2011 and 2007) and Favorite Overall Educator of the Year (2015). His inspiring education and innovative ergonomic styling tools can be experienced on The Sam Villa brand brings free digital education to everyone including hot tips and techniques, as well as access to livestreamed educational events. The company also offers professional tools for consumers so they can achieve salon-quality results at home with minimal effort.   


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the difference between a single and double waver? A double waver has two subtle rounded barrels whereas a single waver has one deep, narrow barrel.   
  2. What results will I get from a single or double waver? With a double waver, the waves are soft and round. These waves are good for boho updos, soft braids, romantic looks, soft texture, and defined texture on natural curls. A single waver will give a poppy wave with more intense ripples—the ultimate accordion glam wave with a luxe feel. This makes more of an impact than the double waver and will make the perfect glam waves in far less time than a traditional set.  
  3. How do you make your hair wavy? If you want to know how to make your hair wavy or a client’s hair wavy, follow these steps: Start with dry hair. You can wash hair the night before or if you wash it the same day, you can use a heat protectant cream or a styling aid while it’s still damp. Blow-dry the hair. Once the hair is dry, use a heat protectant spray for each section. Starting at the nape, section out the hair in 1-inch sections. Starting at the head, start with a single waver, double waver, or triple waver and hold the waver for three seconds, moving down the hair strand. Continue working your way up the head in each section. If you want a looser wave, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to separate the wave once it’s cooled. Finish with a hairspray or shine spray.
  4. How do you use a hair waver? To know how to use a hair waver, follow these steps. Make sure the waver is set on a temperature of 300 degrees (or higher if the hair is denser). Section the hair out starting at the nape in a 1-inch section. Starting just beyond the scalp on the root section, clamp the waver down and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat down the section of hair until you reach the bottom of the hair shaft. Repeat this process on the whole head, continuing to work your way up in 1-inch sections.  
  5. How do you create loose waves? If you want to find out how to make loose waves in hair, use a bigger diameter waver such as a 1.5 inch or bigger. Once the wave is cooled, use a wide-tooth comb or gently pull on the curl to break it up.
  6. How do you get tight beach waves? If you’re curious how to get tight beach waves, here’s the key: Use a smaller diameter waver. This can be a ½-inch or 1-inch barrel in a single waver, double waver, or triple waver.   


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