2024 Fashion Week Says Hair Gel Is Back in a Big Way. Here’s How to Get the Runway’s ‘Wet’ Hair Look

All it takes is a lot of hair gel...and Vaseline

wet hair look nyfw fall/winter '24
Victor VIRGILE/Contributor/Daniel Zuchnik/Contributor/

Fashion month may be over (for now), but the trends live on. Red is everywhere, from our nails to our clothes. Sky high boots, slingbacks and loafers are reigning supreme. In the hair department, Christian Cowan made a dramatic statement with the baroque bob. The other hair trend people can’t stop talking about? The “wet” hair look seen on the runways of Christian Siriano, Helmut Lang, Jason Wu, Eckhaus and Prabal Gurung at New York Fashion Week. Here, we spoke with two hairstylists who shared the secrets to nailing the style at home.

Meet the Experts

  • Fabio Scalia is the owner of Fabio Scalia Salons in New York City, which has salons in Soho and Brooklyn Heights. Scalia has been working in the industry since he was 12 and is an expert in hair growth and trichology. He has trained at multiple academies, including Aldo Coppola, Vidal Sassoon and TONI&GUY, in addition to working in top salons from Milan to Monte Carlo.  
  • Chaz Dean is a celebrity hairstylist, colorist and the founder of the WEN hair and body care line. Dean has over 25 years of experience, and his salon has served the likes of Ming-Na Wen, Nicole Murphy, Gilles Marini, Alyssa Milano, Gwyneth Paltrow and others. WEN is also the winner of multiple QVC Beauty Awards.

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What Is the Wet Hair Look?

As the name implies, the hairstyle is designed to make the wearer look as though they’ve just emerged from a pool. Think high-gloss, shiny and piece-y locks. When it comes to achieving the look, you can start with wet or dry hair (though Scalia recommends styling this look with dry hair because starting with wet locks can lead to frizz).

Products and Tools You Need for the Wet Hair Look

If you’re starting with dry hair, Scalia says a paintbrush is absolutely essential, as well as a sectioning comb. You’ll also need heat protectant, an anti-frizz product, hair gel and a lubricant (he recommends Vaseline or KY Jelly). Scalia emphasizes that you need jelly to give the gel the right consistency.

For those styling wet hair, Dean recommends having mousse, hair serum, dry oil spray and hairspray at the ready.

Styling the Wet Hair Look with Dry Hair

Apply heat protectant and anti-frizz product (if separate) and blow dry your hair. Then, mix the hair gel and jelly together in a 70/30 ratio. “For finer hair, adjust by using a little less gel, and for coarser hair, use a little more gel,” he notes. After sectioning off your hair, use the paintbrush to distribute the mixture, as shown in the video above. If you want to style your front pieces, do so with the sectioning comb. Those with curly or coily hair will want to use a drier, thicker gel. (Scalia recommends Oribe’s Gel Sérum.) Set everything with an anti-humidity spray to finish.

Styling the Wet Hair Look with Wet Hair

When starting with wet hair, Dean explains that you should first distribute the mousse from roots to ends. “Rake it through with a wide-toothed comb, then apply about a quarter-size amount or more of the glossing serum through the mid-shaft and ends,” he says. “Take whatever is left on your hands and rake it through your crown to help smooth out the hair on top.”

Then, comb your hair into your desired shape and set with hairspray. The secret to the high-gloss shine, he says, is a dry oil spray. “This technique works on all hair types, however [those with] thicker or curly hair may require more product to smooth out and thoroughly saturate the hair,” he notes.

MW 10

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