Hair Style Tips

These 8 Ways to Get Heatless Curls Actually Work (It’s a Lazy Girl’s Dream Come True!)

Allie Flinn

Allie FlinnMay 15, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy/Marija Savic

I am lazy AF when it comes to my hair, a feeling that has only grown stronger during quarantine. And I think there’s a high probability that many of you reading this are also rocking a messy bun right now. However, even in our newly locked-down lives, there are reasons we may want to actually style our hair—we have a Zoom date; we’re bored; we’re FaceTiming with our mom and want to convey “I’m totally fine, even though I’ve been deprived of human contact and interaction for nine weeks…” In these instances, heatless curls are a lazy girl’s dream come true.

As a bonus, putting down your curling iron (and backing away slowly) can give your heat-ravaged hair a much needed break. “Too much heat on the hair causes breakage,” FEKKAI brand stylist partner Chad Wood previously told Well+Good. “Constantly heating and cooling will weaken the hair, leading it to break.”

Convinced? Here, hair stylists break down how to get heatless curls.

1. Use hair rollers

Kiley Fitzgerald, hairstylist at Mare Salon in West Hollywood, says that using hair rollers is a good option for achieving heatless curls on straight hair. “When your hair is 80 percent dry, roll your hair up in the rollers and make sure they are secure so that they don’t come undone while you sleep.”

She notes that your hair will be really (really!) curly when you first take them out, so if you’d like to loosen the curls, she recommends putting your hair in a low pony or loose braid for a few minutes.

2. Try that viral bathrobe trick

“Its kind of a spin on using heatless mini rollers, you know those small bendable ones? The robe trick is amazing for long hair,” celebrity stylist Kristin Shaw says.

You place the tie of a bathrobe over your head (this sounds like the start of a joke; I promise it’s not) so that it comes down on both sides by your ears. Then, divide your hair down the middle, and twist each side around the tie. Secure with an elastic, go to sleep, and wake up with waves.

3. Use waveformers

If you want stretched beach waves, Nickie Nougaisse, founder of Curls Dynasty, recommends using waveformers on natural hair. “The curl pattern they create is a nice switch-up,” she explains.

She says to apply a leave-in conditioner and a hair butter to damp hair, then put in the waveformers and let your hair air dry. “This method is great for anyone who struggles with extreme shrinkage [when they curl their hair] and want to see a bit more length once in a while.”

4. Put it in a bun

“You can get beach waves for long hair by twisting sections of your hair into buns and pinning either while you sleep or while your hair dries,” Shaw says. “The smaller the bun, the tighter the wave.”

The placement of the bun matters as well. Shaw says that if you do a top-knot, the wave will start closer to the roots of your hair, whereas if you gather your hair in a low bun, the wave will start lower and be smoother at the root. These principles apply to braids, as well—more on that in a moment.

5. Give pin curls a whirl

If you have short hair, Shaw recommends taking small sections of hair and spinning them into pin curls. This will give your hair texture. “Sleep in this and in the morning, use your favorite salt spray or texture spray to amp up the texture,” she says.

6. Use a flexi rod set for heatless curls

If you have natural hair, Nougaisse says her favorite way to get frizz-free curls is by using a flexi rod set. “I install the rods on damp hair treated with Curls Dynasty Kalahari Smoothie Leave-In for hydration and Vanilla Cream Custard for hold, allow to air dry and voila!

7. Scrunch with mousse

“A great way to achieve really soft waves is to brush your hair when you get out of the shower and towel dry,” Fitzgerald says. “Get your favorite hair styling mousse and begin to apply to your hair while you lean your head over and scrunch your hair.”

She adds that if you have thick hair, it can be helpful to section off your hair as you apply mousse and scrunch to make sure that you get all of your hair. This method works best if you have wavy or curly hair.

8. Try a braid (or two)

“Braiding is a foolproof way for every hair type to get a wild and fun beach texture,” Shaw says. The key is to remember that smaller braids mean tighter, smaller waves and larger braids mean wider, larger waves. “You can do one braid, or many—play with the shape and placement of the braids to work with your hair texture and where you like to get body, volume, and texture best,” Shaw says.

To help bring out beachy texture in your hair, Shaw says to rinse your hair between washes (because you probably don’t need to be washing your hair every day anyway) and let it air dry. “This helps to move your oil from root to ends and gives you a natural, more piece-y, beachy wave,” she says.

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