How to Wake Up With Perfect Waves

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Most women would give anything to be able to roll out of bed, throw on an outfit and be out the door. And while only a few of us may be blessed with flawless skin that lets us skip the makeup step in our morning routine, with just a little bit of nighttime prep—each one of us can have gorgeous hair. Here, celebrity hairstylist Eli Brian Lee of Anthony Leonard Salon in NYC shares his A-list beauty secrets to teach us how to wake up with perfect waves and be on our way.

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In-Shower Step
“It’s great to start any style with clean, healthy hair,” says Lee. He suggests using a hydrating cleanser like Pai-Shau Replenishing Hair Cleanser ($26) to lock in moisture and protect and invigorate strands. If conditioning is an essential part of your shower routine, apply to the tips of your hair only to ensure volume at the top.

Post-Shower Prep
“Biphasic Infusion by Pai-Shau is my go-to product,” says Lee, explaining that a nickel-size amount of this weightless primer should be applied to towel-dried hair for an all-in-one treatment. “It instantly restores, smoothes and de-frizzes,” he says, “and the exotic tea scent is a client pleaser!” The rejuvenating concentrate also works as a heat protector against blow-dryers and curling irons. $45, pai-shau.com 

Pre-Bed Routine
Lee recommends finding the dominating part in your hair with a tail comb and making three braids, one to each side of the part and one going down the back of the head, and tying each braid with a ribbon to avoid heavy marks on the ends. “The trick is to limit the braids to only three and keep them on the fatter side. You don’t want skinny braids; this will give you a crimped look, and we want waves!” he says. Lastly, use Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray ($39) for some extra, long-lasting hold.

To Dry or Not to Dry
If your hair is damaged and heat-torn, Lee suggests letting it air-dry before braiding. It can also be damp and towel-dried, if you don’t have time. “For a more polished look, blow-dry hair in sections with a large natural bristle brush, and once it’s dry, use a large barrel curling iron to style in sections of about 3 inches wide and an inch to an inch and a half in thickness,” he says. Lee prefers using Hot Tools irons to give hair more bounce and added shine before putting it into braids.

Morning Touch-Ups
Lee loves to freshen up morning-after waves with a texturizing spray or a dry shampoo, specifically Sachajuan Volume Powder ($35) or Batiste Dry Shampoo ($9), to give hair a just-done look. “For best results, hold up sections in between wave patterns and spray from about a foot away,” he says. Batiste Dry Shampoos are also available in many colors, which Lee says are great for touching up any root regrowth to last you until your next salon appointment.

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