How to Get The Wet Look on Natural Hair: 5 Simple Steps

Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 05:31 pm

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have rocked the wet look on the red carpet at such events as the Met Gala. In this article you’ll discover how to get the wet look on natural in just 5 simple steps. It’s quite different and in my opinion, even more beautiful. You may have even seen this look all over social media at some point.

Kim kardashian wet look

The wet look is an effortless and simple hairstyle that can be done on any hair length. It’s one of those hair trends that typically comes around during the warmer months of the year but also done throughout the year.

What’s interesting about this style is the results achieved on different natural hair types. It doesn’t matter if you have thick hair or even a fine hair texture, the results will be quite similar. This is because regardless of the thickness of one’s hair, wet “looking” hair appears very similar when in this state. Of course, this “frozen” style is achieved with using certain hair products.

The Wet Look on Actual Curly Hair

easy natural hair style

To be clear, in this article I’ll be sharing on how to get the wet look on natural hair –  a hair type of 3 or 4 curls (if you need to define this by curl type).

Wavy hair and straight hair both yield a very different look. That’s not what I’m sharing below.

Us type 4 naturals have very tightly curled hair. The wet look that Kim Kardashian donned along with her gown that also appeared as if it were also dripping wet, is nothing like what we can achieve. This includes those with short hair.

If you have longer hair, you’ll get a lot more stretch due to gravity but even if you have shorter hair, your results will be pretty. Just check out the video below where I share one of the first ladies to rock this style. She definitely didn’t have long hair. 

The wet look isn’t really a new hairstyle but depending on the products you use on your natural curls, results can definitely vary by individual.

Kim Didn’t Do It Best

kim kardashian wet look
New York, NY – May 06, 2019: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive for the 2019 Met Gala celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If I’m being very honest (and a bit controversial), this “wet look” that Kim did looks a hot mess in my opinion.

It was styled really nicely at the top but as you get to the ends where it appears to give the illusion of wet hair, it just looks stringy and undone. Wet, yes but just meh; Kind of like a wet dog.

I truly believe that people only found it to be fabulous because it was done by Kim Kardashian. If a random unknown woman did it, she’d be accused of having stringy, messing looking hair.

You can see Kim’s complete look from the front here.

Decide for yourself.

Rihanna also did a wet look style on her hair for the 69th annual Parson’s benefit. Her hair is much shorter, the curls are more waves and the look is different. However, I think it’s much more put together.

wet look on rihanna
Rihanna at arrivals for 69th Annual Parsons Benefit, Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, New York, NY May 22, 2017. Photo By: Eli Winston/Everett Collection

Top Tips for Achieving a Strong Hold

guide to the wet look for natural hair

For best results, the most important thing to create this look on natural hair is to achieve smooth hair with a strong hold. The stronger the hold, you get a more slick look.

That’s because once your hair begins to dry, in order to achieve that wet effect your hair has to be “frozen” in place.

For a strong hold, first you want to make sure your hair is thoroughly detangled and smoothed (necessary for a sleek look) as much as possible.

You also want to ensure you minimize the amount of hair oil you use as it will soften the curl set. You can use a lightweight oil but just do so in small amounts and not focused on the scalp.

Wet Look Hair Products for Ladies With Natural Hair

wet look hair products

To achieve your best wet look hair, there are certain products you’ll need. Some are optional as noted.

These include:

  • a leave-in conditioner OR hair cream
  • mousse (protein rich helps maintain the hair’s strength)
  • a level 10 hair gel or styling gel
  • hair spray (optional but recommended if you don’t use a level 10 gel)
  • glossing spray (optional but helps make for an even more shiny finish)
  • lightweight oil (optional but beneficial for moisture retention)

Tools Required

In addition to the hair products above, you’ll need a few tools to help mold the style in place. These include:

  • a wide-tooth comb to start the detangling process on wet hair once it’s been washed and conditioned
  • a fine-tooth comb to further smooth the surface of your hair – Only use AFTER your hair is thoroughly detangled and set. A fine-toothed comb can also be used to lightly define your baby hair.
  • paddle brush or a boar bristle brush for smoothing
  • hair clips
  • scarf to tie down your hair while it’s drying

Step-by-Step Guide to Keep Your Hair Looking Wet and Curly All Day

To do the wet look on natural hair (real curly hair), there are some very precise steps that one can take and I’ve shown it in this video here:

The easy steps shown in this video will help you to rock this style effortless and free. Here’s the step-by-step application technique summarized:

  1. First step is to section out a small piece of your hair, starting from the base of your head. Clip the rest of your hair up.
  2. Next step is to detangle the section
  3. Then, apply your product combinations with even coverage. What I used in the video were:
    • a lightweight hair butter (for shine and moisture retention)
    • hair mousse
    • level 10 Eco Styler Gel
  4. Work in a downward fashion smoothing the hair cuticle
  5. Once the section of hair has an adequate coating with products, move on to doing the rest of your hair.

The key is to smooth thoroughly and completely making sure you really get enough product onto the roots of your hair.

At the end of the process, tie your hair down with a scarf until it’s nearly dry. You want to have damp hair before you slide the scarf back to attend to your baby hairs. Of course, this step is optional.

Because of the amount of product now in your hair, it can take nearly a whole day for your hair to dry. That’s ok as long as you start the process early in the morning. However, don’t fully take off your scarf until you have nearly a full head of dry hair. At the very least, you want your ends to be dry. This is how you get great next day hair.

Benefits of the Wet Look on Natural Hair

hair benefits of the wet look style

Aside from this style being cute (when done correctly), there are a number of benefits to doing this style on natural hair. These include:

  • Less shrinkage aka elongated curls
  • Hairs are protected with a heavy gel cast
  • Very low manipulation
  • Long lasting style
  • Reduces split ends because hair is fused together with the gel

Wet Look Hairstyles for Black Hair

Once you have your hair set in that wet curly look, there isn’t a lot you can do in the styling department.

In order to do an actual style on black hair (afro-textured hair), you have to set the hair in that style.

For example, you can:

  • part the hair down the center
  • part it on the side
  • slick it all straight back
  • set it all swooped to the side
  • pull your hair half up and leave the bottom down

The wet-look hairstyle done on natural hair is an effortless look that is essentially a super defined wash and go that lacks volume. It can be altered for styling by using more or less gel. It’s very personal and a great look you can play with to make it your own.

Even though it takes a few steps to get there, this style is a great option for when you are ready to put those hot tools down and give your hair a break from heat styling.

how to keep your hair looking wet and curly all day

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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