How to get wavy hair à la Kate Middleton in her 40th birthday portraits

The best hair on the planet? We think so...

Kate Middleton's 40th birthday portrait wearing red dress - how to get wavy hair
(Image credit: Paolo Roversi)

The best hair on the planet? We think so...

Kate Middleton's hair has been the topic of many conversations over the years - from her protocol-breaking wedding hair to her most influential hairstyle of all time. Now, the question on everyone's lips is how to get wavy hair like the Duchess in her 40th birthday portraits.

kate middletons 40th birthday portraits - one where she is looking at the camera and one where she is looking off to the side (both black and white) - how to get wavy hair

We're not exaggerating, searches for how to get wavy hair have gone wild. On January 9th, the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday, searches were up 778%.

If you were one of those looking for guidance, allow us to help. We quizzed mega-stylist and Babyliss ambassador, Syd Hayes and asked for tips, tricks, tools and product recommendations to help us all replicate Kate's hair.

How to get wavy hair: the hair stylist-approved tips & tricks

'Kate’s hair is gorgeous and full in these photos,' he says. 'You can tell that the hair has been well-prepped to hold the waves. The key to Kate’s hair is four parts if done all together, will achieve that beautiful va-va-voom wavy voluminous hair.'

So what are these four parts?

1. Prep

Firstly, prep the hair with a heat protectant - this will help to create a barrier between your hair and the tools. It will also prevent any frizziness and flyaways.

'Think of it this way, you wouldn't go to the beach without putting on SPF to protect your skin, so you need to do the same to your hair.'

Ouai Heat Protection Spray - £25 | Cult Beauty

Ouai Heat Protection Spray - £25 | Cult Beauty
We love this one from Ouai - it's part protection, part primer. Which means whilst it's caring for your hair, it also helps lock in your style.

2. Drying

You want to have tension on your hair when styling and it's good to finish with a shot of cold air, which further locks your manipulated style into place.

Babyliss Hydro-Fusion Air Dryer - £60 | Lookfantastic

Babyliss Hydro-Fusion Air Dryer - £60 | Lookfantastic
This is one of the best hair dryers on the market. And that's because it's rather clever. It has something called Advanced Plasma Technology inside which smooths the hair and helps to seal the cuticle of the hair shaft, which prevents moisture getting into the hair and causing frizz.

3. Styling

At this point, you want to add volume. Turn your head upside down, this will add volume straight to the roots.

'I'm always into Evo's Root Canal Spray (£23 .90| Amazon) and to help cut the time down, I would use the Babyliss Hydro Fusion Air Styler.'

Babyliss Hydro Fusion Airstyler - £60 | Lookfantastic

Babyliss Hydro Fusion Airstyler - £60 | Lookfantastic
Use this once hair is 80% dry. Pop the brush under hair at the root and hold it there for a couple of seconds to add more volume to the root. Brush the hair down and rotate it away from your head by pressing and holding the appropriate rotation button. As you do this, resist the rotation of the brush by pulling the brush downwards. This will create tension through the section of hair.

Next, you want to add in your waves. The key to this look is a loose textured wave.

'Use a twist wrap technique (rather than flat wrapping the hair) to create a looser and less polished wave. Alternate the direction of each strand of hair to create 'bends' rather than a unified and classic curl. Curl all the way down to the end of the hair strand - this will add further volume to the look too.'

Babyliss Cordless Curling Tong - £180 | Lookfantastic

Babyliss Cordless Curling Tong - £180 | Lookfantastic
We love a cordless tool and this one from Babyliss is one of the best curling wands around. It seems to make hair shinier, so when adding shape to hair expect a glossy mane afterwards.

4. Smooth

The final step is smoothing over the waves with a finishing crème.

'My favourite has to be Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, which holds down those flyaways without it getting greasy or sticky. It allows you to run your hands through the hair easily without tension.'

Hershesons Almost Everything Cream - from £10

Hershesons Almost Everything Cream - from £10
When it says that it does almost everything, it means it. It's a primer, a shine booster, a frizz fighter, a texturiser, a tamer, a curl definer, a conditioner and a mask, all rolled into one.

So there we have it, Kate Middleton's hair is a mere four steps away. We know what we'll be doing this evening.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.