Skip to main content

I’m pretty much always game to try a beauty hack, especially if it comes from TikTok. I’ve learned some amazing tips and tricks just from scrolling my FYP, like how to make curls last overnight and even how to make a ponytail look fuller with just a hair tie. When I came across a video showcasing how curling your hair a specific way can completely change the way your face looks, I added it to my mental “to try list” faster than you can say “beach waves.”

Recently, a video on TikTok went viral for showcasing how “contour waves,” aka curling your hair to frame the face, can completely change the way you look. After seeing the results my interest was piqued, so I decided to give it a try for myself using expert tips from celebrity hairstylist Sophie Sugarman. Keep scrolling to learn about this latest hair trend and to see how contour waves worked for me.

What Are Contour Waves?

Essentially, contour waves are face-framing curls that enhance the eyes, cheekbones, and jawline in the same way that makeup would, just with hair. You can either curl your hair inward so your eyes and cheekbones are more covered or outward so those areas look more open and visible. The hug each section of the face you want to accentuate.

How to Do Contour Waves

To thoroughly test this hack, I decided to curl one half of my hair as I normally would, and curl the other half using the tips and tricks from Sugarman and TikTok. To start, all I needed was a tool of choice, a hairspray, and a heat protectant. Since my hair was dry, I prepped it with dpHUE’s Color Fresh Thermal Protectant Spray ($28). This is my favorite heat protectant for dry hair because it sprays on like a texture spray – it’s essentially weightless – plus, it smells amazing. For my curling tool, I opted to use GHD’s Classic Curl 1.25in Curling Iron ($199).

When curling my hair I like to divide it into three sections: bottom, middle, and top. For each section, I took a one-inch piece of hair, sprayed it with hairspray for extra hold (I used Unite’s Texturiza Hair Texturizing Spray ($40)), and then curled it. I essentially curled the bottom and middle sections of my hair as I normally would, but the front pieces of the top section are where I did things a little differently.

“When it comes to the face-framing pieces, I love to enhance the cheekbones and jawline, so I use that as a guide for how I want my waves to sit,” Sugarman tells POPSUGAR. “To add the contour effect, start by waving the hair away from the eyes, scooping it back in around the cheeks, then away again around the jaw.”

When curling the front pieces, I started by brushing through them to make sure there were no knots. I then lightly coated the pieces with hairspray. Next, I picked up the front piece of hair in one hand to try out contour waves. To use the new technique, I placed the curling iron on top of my hair, making sure it was positioned at the top of my head, as close to the root as I could get it. (My curling iron has a clamp, so to use it as a wand I just lifted the clamp with my thumb and wrapped my hair just around the barrel.)

I wrapped my hair around the barrel of the curling iron going away from my face three times, so I would have curls on the three points of my face I wanted to accentuate- my eyes, my cheek, and my jaw. I held the curling iron for about 15 seconds, then let go. I made sure not to touch the curl afterward so I could give it time to set in the desired shape.

As for the front pieces on the other side of my face, I repeated the same steps, except I curled my hair as I normally would, starting the curl roughly at ear level rather than at the root. Also, I usually curl my hair using the clamp of the iron, twisting sections upward while it’s clamped inside, rather than twisting my hair around the curling iron.

I let my hair cool off for about 15 minutes and then I brushed through my curls. When I surveyed the results in the mirror, I was honestly shocked to see what a difference the hack had made. Curling my hair the way TikTok suggested really did help frame my face in a way that called attention to my eye, cheek, and jaw. It was essentially like contouring my face, but instead of using makeup, I used my hair. I even noticed that on the side of my face where I didn’t use face-framing curls, my under-eye looked shadowed and like I had dark circles underneath it. My other eye looked bright and lifted.

Doing contour waves didn’t take me any extra time than curling my hair my regular way, and it made such a drastic improvement that I’ll absolutely continue curling my hair this way in the future. If you’re looking to accentuate and contour certain areas of your face without ever even needing to pick up a makeup brush, I can’t recommend this method enough.