Curls and waves are forever in style — a classic that some of us are born with, and others of us chase. The problem with the chase part is that if you have stick-straight hair or thinning hair, achieving a full head of curls can be time-consuming and even damaging, depending on the methods that you resort to trying. Adding heat to a style technique is a surefire way to speed up its results and it can make it a lot easier to go from straight to beach waves or retro curls. But relying on hot rollers every day can cause your hair to become dry, more brittle, and more vulnerable to split ends and breakage.
But your curly dreams don’t have to be put on hold — there are a number of heatless curling techniques that really work, even on the finest and thinnest of hair types. Best of all: they won’t cause damage and will lock your style into place for hours. Hair experts share tips on their five favorite heatless curling techniques.
Rag curling is a heatless curling method that has been in use for decades because it really and truly works.
For rag curls, you will need a few pieces of fabric cut into long strips,” explains Krysta Biancone, co-founder of Amari Salon & Spa and hair stylist at Hair by Krysta. “Separate the hair into sections and wrap each section around a strip of fabric from the root to the tip. Secure the end by tying the strip in a knot. Once all your hair is in rag curls, leave them in for about 20 to 30 minutes, then take out the fabric strips and brush through your hair with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.”
Another classic method, you’ll need bobby pins and styling mousse to try pin curls. “Separate your hair into sections and start winding each section around your finger until it forms a spiral coil shape,” Biancone said. “Secure with bobby pins and spray some mousse on it for hold. Leave these overnight or for at least six hours before taking out the pins and brushing through your hair with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.”
“Flexi rods are also great for creating heatless curls on fine hair,” Biancone shared. “You will need flexi rods in various sizes depending on how tight or loose you want your curls to be. Section off small pieces of dampened hair and wrap each section around a flexi rod from root to tip before securing it with an elastic band or bobby pin at the end of the rod. Leave these overnight before taking them out to reveal beautiful defined curls!”
This South African method of heatless curling is a fool-proof way to get gorgeous ringlets while you sleep, according to Caleb Backe, a health & wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “Once damp, apply your styling product to desired areas, within these desired areas you can begin wrapping your hair around itself to form a knot. Keep on doing this until you bundle your hair into a small knot. Once your hair is dry you may take down the knots. You may use a wide-toothed comb to style and fluff thereafter. Try using Aunt Jackie’s Frizz Patrol Anti-Poof Twist and Curl Setting Mousse for this technique.
Braid Your Hair
Remember when you were a kid and you accidentally slept with your hair braided, only to wake up, unravel it, and discover the sweetest result: loads of spiral waves? Braiding damp hair is practically effortless and it works. “One of the simplest heatless curling techniques is to sit your hair in one big braid before you go to bed,” Backe said. “When you wake up the next day all you need to do is undo the braid and tame any frizz that may have occurred. You can use Boost Hair Oil by Maple Holistics to deal with any unwanted frizz. It contains a lightweight compound full of nutrients that is perfect for hydrating your hair and detangling.”
So, if you covet curls and waves, but are trying to minimize the damage that heated hair tools can cause, try one or all of these five heatless curling methods to give your hair instant volume and star-quality ringlets.