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4 Super-Easy Ways to Do Heatless Curls and Waves

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There are a ton of good reasons to take a break from your curling or flat iron—for instance, you’re trying to avoid heat damage or you don’t have an hour to spend on beach waves. It’s entirely possible to get the curly hairstyle you’re after, no heat needed, thanks to all the heatless curls tutorials that have been making the rounds on TikTok, YouTube, and beyond. Whether you’re looking to minimize frizz as you curl, starting with super-straight hair, or dreaming of a DIY option you can sleep on, there’s an option out there for you. With that, consider these super-easy hair hacks to get no-heat curls.

For starters, score beachy waves with this easy hair tutorial: starting with damp hair, twist it around a towel, let it set overnight, and then wake up to the heatless waves of your dreams—easy. (Robecurls makes a headband specifically for this method, in case you don’t want to use a towel or old t-shirt.)

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4 Ways to Do Heatless Curls

1. Heatless Curls for Long Hair

One of the easiest curling methods in the game is the headband method. FYI: This particular heatless curl method works best for long hair, since it needs to be lengthy enough to wrap around the headband. Here’s how to do it:

  • Split hair into two sections, then pull a thick, stretchy headband onto your head.
  • Twist each section of hair and wrap them tightly around the headband, continuing to twist and tuck in the hair.
  • Let it set.
  • When removing it in the a.m., gently unwrap each section from the headband. Spritz it with a smoothing hairspray, like MARC ANTHONY Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray, to minimize frizz and keep curls intact.

2. Heatless Curls for Short Hair

If you’re working with a bob or a lob, you can still curl hair without heat. On top of that, this overnight heatless curls method means you can sleep on them, and speed up the process.

  • First, let hair air-dry for about 15 minutes so it’s damp, but not wet.
  • If you’re prone to frizzy hair, run a leave-in conditioner (or moisturizing hair product) through hair. Try OUAI Leave-In Conditioner, which detangles and keeps hair smooth with a blend of amino acids and panthenol.
  • Part hair in the middle, then brush it through.
  • Start by grabbing a small section along the hairline, then twist it with a second small section, adding more as you twist until you hit the ends. Secure with a hair tie.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Once you wake up, you can mist hair with a texture spray like ORIBE Dry Texturizing Spray and finger-comb out the curls.

3. Heatless Curls for Thick Hair

If you have naturally curly hair—or hair that's thick or prone to frizz—try sock curls. These DIY heatless hair curlers are a good way to get an even, defined curl pattern. (Think bombshell waves versus a more casual air-dried look.) Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab a pile of (clean!) socks, then part your hair into four sections: First down the middle, and then just at the ears so you have a front and back section on each side of your head. Use a bobby pin or clip to keep the back sections out of the way to start.
  • For each section, twist hair down to the ends, then wrap it into a little bun and pin it.
  • Working section by section, place the sock with the toe at the top of your head and clip it to secure. Then, take a piece of hair, wrap it around the sock once, grab a new section of hair, and then repeat until you've reached the end—keeping the section tightly wrapped around the sock.
  • Grab the bottom of the section from within the hole of the sock and pull the sock up over the section.
  • Repeat for each section.
  • Wear them overnight (or at least four hours) until they set, then release in the morning.

4. Heatless Curls for Updos

While there are a number of heatless scrunchie curl methods out there, this one requires fewer scrunchies...and less time. It also focuses on curling the mid-lengths to ends, so it’s ideal if you’re going for an updo, like a voluminous ponytail. Here’s how to do it on your own hair:

  • First, prep hair with a volumizing hair product. Try a mousse like SEXY HAIR Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse, which dispenses as a spray and transforms into a mousse for easy application.
  • Then, brush out your hair. Then, section your hair into two (with either a side or center part).
  • Loop each section of hair through a scrunchie, twisting it and pulling it through, until you've reached the ends.
  • Repeat on the other side, snooze, and then gently release from the scrunchie in the A.M.

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About the author
Deanna Pai
Deanna Pai
Deanna Pai is a freelance beauty and wellness writer and editor based in New York; her work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and many others.
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Article Last Updated August 30, 2022 12:00 AM