In addition to videos of thrift-hauls, tiny chihuahuas, and life-changing recipes for pesto eggs, my TikTok for You page has been serving me content about those Heatless Hair tools left and right. The videos are mesmerizing: Women wrap their long hair around what’s what’s basically a vaguely intestinal-looking stuffed headband and then mime the passing of time. Then they remove this headband and shake out beyond-perfect waves.
Heatless curls are nothing new—Black women in particular have been using tools like flexi rods for years—they've been trending on the app since early lockdown, as many women have taken the past year to cut heat styling from their routines completely. I’ve seen videos using everything from stockings, fabric scraps, and bathrobe belts, to traditional foam and Velcro rollers instead of a curling iron. While all these hacks worked, in my opinion, none seemed to deliver the same shiny, bouncy, full curls as the Heatless Hair device.
The kit, which retails for $42, comes with the 100% silk Curling Ribbon, two silk scrunchies, and a matching claw clip. The technique is fairly straightforward, as demonstrated by the videos flooding my feed. Start with damp or dry hair, and place the ribbon over your head like a headband, using the clip to hold it in place. Twist sections of hair around the ribbon, adding a little more to each section as you go, and tie off the sections at the bottom with the scrunchies. Sleep, hit the gym, or hang out for a few hours, and then shake out for perfect curls. Seems easy enough.
There is a caveat: Most women in the videos I see had similar hair types—straight but voluminous, silky smooth, and past their shoulders. In order to really put it to the test, I enlisted four Glamour editors with various textures, from thin and pin-straight to thick and wavy. Read on for our honest Heatless Hair reviews.
Jenny Singer, staff writer
I really liked this! I have very in-between curly-to-wavy hair that I usually blow-dry straight because it doesn’t air-dry uniformly. Bless everyone who spends hours and 26-step processes coaxing out their natural curls—it’s just not my thing. I tried many, many foam rollers and spiral curlers when I was a teenager, and more recently I tried the TikTok stocking curl hack and various “braid your wet hair at night!”–type styling tips. These rarely look better than my natural hair, in spite of all the work.
This was very easy to use—I ran a little bit of Carol’s Daughter Divine Strength Leave-In Creme through my damp hair and wrapped my hair around the curling tool, adding additional sections with each wrap. I went about my work-from-home day, deciding that I didn’t look dumb—I looked like a medieval princess. I shook my hair out when it felt dry. To me these curls look much more defined and clean than other heatless styling tricks I’ve tried. The curls aren’t as perfect as they would be if I’d used heat, but in some ways I like this more because these look natural, not like those pageant-y, individual barrel curls.
Talia Abbas, associate commerce editor
Never have I felt more ready for a Marie Antoinette cameo than walking around the house with my Heatless Hair roller pinned in. I definitely wasn’t expecting to teleport my hair-care routine to the Louis XVI era when I first unwrapped the roller, but I’m not complaining. The pinning and rolling was a welcome change from the blow-drying I’m used to—and I appreciated how straightforward the instructions were to follow.
The brand recommended dividing damp hair into two parts, then wrapping it around the roller clockwise or counterclockwise. I chose the former, but it immediately proved challenging for my thick hair. I needed to divide the two parts into three additional parts on each side before I could get to twisting. I kept everything secured around the roller with the silk scrunchies and the claw clip until my hair was about 90% air-dry, then let the curls bounce down. I applied a hydrating oil afterward for a little shine. I’m pleased with the results considering it was my first attempt, but I think next time I’ll blow-dry my hair first to minimize the frizz from air-drying.
Bella Cacciatore, beauty writer
Not to brag, but I have great hair (don’t worry, my skin more than makes up for it). It’s somewhere between straight and wavy, and does pretty much whatever I want it to with minimal fuss, so I figured I’d have an easy time with the Heatless Hair. After halfway blow-drying my hair and applying some Pantene smoothing serum, it took me two tries to get what I felt like were even sections of hair—I’ve never been a good braider. Getting them wrapped tightly enough around the ribbon also took a few tries, but once I figured that out, it was easy enough.
The next morning I found the side I slept on had almost totally fallen out, while the other remained as tightly wrapped as the night before. I actually liked both results—bouncy but not prom-y curls on one side, looser beach waves on the other—and both only looked better as the day went on and they got a little more lived-in. I just wish both sides matched, so from now on I’ll be popping this on for a few hours during the day to circumvent my side-sleeping ways.
Anna Moesleine, deputy editor
My hair is stick straight and has a mind of its own—most mornings, I just air-dry and let it do its thing—so I was a little skeptical going in. That said, you always want what you can’t have; I’ll try anything that promises to deliver beautiful waves without heat damage. The instructions were clear, and I was able to get my hair in place without too much issue.
I kept it in overnight; in the morning, I woke up to the bounciest curls of my life. I looked like I had just walked out of the salon. But! I made the horrible error of not using any product or hairspray, so my hair was flat again within the hour. I’ll use this again, and learn from my mistakes.
$42.00, Heatless Hair
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour