Curling your hair with a curling iron takes practice. It can be challenging and frustrating for some if they can’t seem to get the hang of it. Along with that, using hot tools on your hair does increase the risk of damaging your hair, especially if used frequently. But this doesn’t mean your hair has to be drab. There are other options that will blow your mind, including one viral beauty hack that has become a constant on our social feeds. Heatless curls are the perfect option for people who have trouble curling their hair with hot tools, who want to give their hair a break from heat, or who simply want to save time.
If you aren’t familiar with heatless curls, they are curls that are achieved without hot tools or heat, using one of several different methods. We’ve laid out all the options for you along with recommended products and tips to try for the best results!
Since we all have heads of hair with different lengths, textures, and thickness, you will want to do a little trial and error with these methods to see which benefits you the most. Without further ado, here are a few of the most popular heatless curling methods.
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This method is convenient because most people already have the supplies at home. All you need is the belt from a bathrobe and hair ties or scrunchies to secure the hair. With this method, you place the belt on the top of your head, use a clip to keep it in place, take a section of hair from the front of your head, wrap it around, add more hair to that section, wrap it again, and repeat all the way down the side of your head. Repeat on the other side and secure each side with a hair tie. You can also take the remaining robe ends and tie them together in the back so it's not dangling while you sleep. Wear this overnight, and release it in the morning!
Everyone has their own technique for the way they wrap it, how damp or dry their hair is, and the products they use afterward, so you have to try it and see what works for your hair. I find that leaving the hair slightly damp creates a nicer curl in the morning, but if your hair is naturally wavy and frizzy, you might want to blow dry your hair first, so the curls aren’t too poofy in the morning.
Heatless Curl Satin Set
Once it became popular to curl your hair with the robe belt, this heatless curling kit was created. It works using the same method as the robe belt, but the material is satin and it’s shorter than a robe belt. With this kit, I find that having the hair completely dry is most beneficial for the best curls. The satin material doesn’t always mix well with wet hair, and sometimes the hair won't be fully dry by the morning. Kitsch makes a kit that seems to be the most popular.
If you have very thick hair, you might feel like the robe belt or satin kit just wasn’t doing the job. That’s because too much hair overlapping one section can ruin the method. But don’t fret, there is another way! The Octocurl might be perfect for you, because it uses a similar concept as the previous methods, but allows for more sectioning for all of your hair. With this product, you place it on your head, wrap a section of hair around the belt, add more hair, and repeat. Then you will continue that around the rest of the head with the other belts. Some girls cover their head with caps to keep everything more secure when they sleep on it overnight. The Octocurl is its own brand, but for a similar concept, you can also purchase one from Kitsch.
The Sock Method
If you’re in a pinch and don't have time to run out and buy a heatless curl kit, (clean) long socks can do the trick! Using the same technique of sectioning your hair, you wrap a section of hair around the sock, adding to that section, then wrapping it around again, and continuing that the rest of the way down the hair.
This is a more classic form of heatless curls. Roller sets have been around for a long time, but they are still useful today! Rollers come in all different sizes, so keep that in mind when purchasing. The bigger the roller, the looser the curl; the smaller the roller, the tighter the curl. If you’re looking for a blowout look, the bigger the roller, the better. But if you want a more uniform curl, go for something smaller. Don’t pick extremely tiny rollers unless you want small, ringlet-type curls like Shirley Temple's.
There are many ways you can section off your hair for the rollers, but for basic curls, roll the hair away from the face. Rolling the hair toward the face will create either that old Hollywood style curl, or a blowout curl. TikTok should be able to help you find your best sectioning method. Ulta has a nice set of velcro rollers to try out, or you can try the brand Drybar.
Some Things To Consider
Although the methods are all pretty simple, there are a few things you want to think about when attempting heatless curls.
The texture of your hair will affect the outcome of the curls. If you already have fairly smooth hair, you can probably attempt these methods without much prep. You might want to test out dry vs. damp hair to see which works best for you. I recommend damp hair for the robe, dry hair for the satin set and Octocurl, damp hair for the sock method, and dry hair for the rollers. But if you have very frizzy, wavy, or textured hair, it might be in your best interest to blowdry and smooth your hair out beforehand.
After releasing the curls, they will probably be a bit tighter than you’d like and need some taming. Some people use a brush to achieve this, but be careful not to completely brush the curls out. I suggest using a small amount of oil and running through your hair with your fingers, separating the curls to make it look more flowy. The oil will also help with frizz. Then use hairspray to set everything. If you have very fine textured hair, you might want to use a texture spray to give the hair more grit.
Most people use these methods before bed and sleep in them overnight to set the curls. If you’re attempting this during the day, you will need to let it set for at least a couple of hours before releasing the curls. Some people use their hair dryer to speed up the setting time, but that somewhat defeats the purpose of heatless curls.
Maybe these methods will be a game changer for you if you struggle to curl your hair with hot tools. I especially love these methods because they give you a beautiful style without heat, which will keep your hair healthier. It’s also wonderful for people who don’t want to deal with styling their hair in the morning. Since there are so many methods to try, explore them to see which one might be the best fit for you!
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