The "Vertical Pull-Down" Is The Easiest Hair Trick You'll Learn

Photo: Courtesy of Savannah Young.
Here at R29, we leave no hair trend unturned. Whether it's an L.A. hairstylist's latest wave technique (and we didn't think it could get any better) to the styles on the street at Fashion Week, we want to know how to do it all. Today we're loving a technique from a salon Down Under that's turning out some of the coolest hair looks in Australia.

While you might expect beachy-wave requests to dominate at New South Wales' The Fox & The Hair — and those are certainly big — it's actually a flat-iron trick hairstylist Savannah Young calls "the vertical pull-down" that we'd cross time zones for. Think: super-shiny, sleek bends that walk the line between a glamorous '40s wave set and salt-sprayed, just-out-of-the-ocean texture (but a touch softer). "Classic waves never go out of style, but ours are a bit more beachy," says Young.

The trick is super-simple to do at home on blown-out hair — no matter what your natural texture is. "It's just one turn [of the iron], and you pull straight down," Young explains. Ahead, we rounded up some examples of the different ways to create the look, depending on your length and the brush you choose, plus all the tips and tricks to perfect it. The best part? No 16-hour flight required.
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Step 1: Blowdry hair smooth and straight.

The styles we'll show you ahead work on most textures and lengths (of course, you do need a little length to make the bends or waves), but Young recommends that everyone start with a good blowout. Don't forget the heat protectant: Young preps all her clients with Wella's formula, spraying from root to tip before turning on the dryer. But if your strands are extra-dry, work oil through your ends, too, she says.

Wella Eimi Thermal Image Heat Protection Spray, $17.50, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Step 2: Clamp and pull.

Make a precise center part all the way down the back so that your hair is separated into two even sections; this will set the stage for you to create a uniform wave throughout.

Then divide the hair on either side into horizontal sections a few inches thick. Working on half-inch vertical sections within the horizontal section (so, the section should be two to three inches tall and half an inch wide), simply clamp your flat iron onto hair at the root, flick your wrist away from your face (about 180 degrees), and smooth the iron straight down the hair. This will result in a ringlet. Repeat around the entire head.

Classic Styler, $149, available at Nordstrom.
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Tip: Begin at the roots if you want your bends to start higher.

For this look, Young clamped at the root, turned the iron, and pulled straight down. The result is a bend that starts higher and complements the cheekbones.
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For a bend that starts lower — which really shows off the shine — amend your placement slightly. "This is the same clamp-and-pull technique, but for this look I clamped a bit lower down," Young explains. If your blowout is very smooth, you can skip your roots altogether; otherwise, run the iron over the roots first to get them ultra-straight, says Young.
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Step 3: Amp up the shine.

Allow the waves to fully cool, then add moisture and additional shine with just a touch of your favorite oil. "Rub a few drops in your hands and then run [your fingers] through just the curls to smooth any flyways," Young says. "Then you brush it."

Wella Oil Reflections Smoothing Oil, $20, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Step 4: Break down the wave.

The tool you select to break up and smooth your ringlets determines the final result: Use a boar-bristle brush for a smooth, sleek result or a wide-tooth comb for something more beachy, advises Young. Here comes the trick: "I brush the hair into place for about five minutes," she says. That's right, keep brushing and brushing (and then brushing some more) until the waves are broken down to your liking. Mason Pearson and Denman both make great brush options for this.

Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Hairbrush, Pocket Size, $110, available at; Denman Grooming Brush with Natural Bristles & Nylon Pins, $18.70, available at Folica; Conair Wide Tooth Comb, $2.92, available at Target.
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Tip: For smooth, sleek waves, use a dense, boar-bristle brush.

This brush will polish the hair. And yes, the longer the hair, the more peaks and valleys you'll have. This look was clamped right at the root.

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Tip: For a piece-y, beachy wave, use a wide-tooth comb.

This version was clamped at mid-length, resulting in a lower bend. Then it was combed, not brushed, for a separated finish.
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Step 5: Hydrate the ends.

Once the waves are fully brushed or combed, grab a cream. Young swears by Oribe's formula, smoothed over just the bottom half of the hair.

Supershine Moisturizing Cream, $49, available at Oribe.
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Step 6: Set the look — with your hands.

For major shine, take this nifty tip from Young: Mist your hands — not your hair — with hairspray, then run them down your hair. She swears by this formula from Wella.

Wella Eimi Stay Firm Workable Finishing Hairspray, $17.50, available at Ulta Beauty.
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