How To Curl Hair Without Heat
Move over hot tools, no heat curls are in! No, these methods aren’t as quick as using your traditional curling iron or hair straightener – most of these methods are overnight curls that you’ll need to sleep in. From leggings curls to wave formers, flexi rods to paper towels — we’ve tried ’em all.
This is Milana’s personal ranking from best to worst (AKA what we recommend you try, and what to skip). Keep in mind, everyone’s hair type is different and this is what worked best on our hair types. Milana has fine, mid-length hair that is slightly wavy when air dried with no product.
To accelerate styling, we like to use a hair bonnet that you connect your blow dryer to, blowing room temp air to speed up the styling process. But, you can also sleep in just about any of these methods or wear them for as many hours needed!
The silk hair rod gets placed on the top of your head, with each end along your ears.
Working in two sections, braid your hair along each of the rod.
For comfort and to ensure the rod stays in place while sleeping, secure the ends together in the back with a scrunchie.
This is, hands down, the best method for overnight heatless curls! It is the most comfortable to sleep in, produces the most consistent results, and is the easiest to use.
Silk hair rods create beautiful waves that last 6-8 hours when enhanced with hair products.
Most Comfortable Heatless Curls
Since I mentioned most comfortable heatless curls option, I thought I would mention all the runner ups. The heatless curls with Bathrobe belt is also very comfortable. The only thing that I should mention is that the belt should be fluffy. See the results below. The other method that belongs on the list is the braids option. Sleeping with braids is very comfortable as you may already know. All the other tools are too rough and stiff, and tend to give you a headache. Especially if you are going to do overnight heatless curls.
Start with clean, dry hair and work in ~2 inch sections. Mist hair to lightly dampen mids to ends. Work a tiny bit of mousse (less than half a pump) through the section of hair, then gently brush through.
Twist/wrap the section of hair around the flexi rods. Use a small amount of twisting butter to help secure the ends to the rod rollers.
Flexi rods produce some of the most consistent heatless curls, especially once you get the hang of how to use them.
When set using a hair bonnet, hair holds curl/wave for up to 24 hours.
We’re going to do the same braiding method as the the satin rod.
This one involves more of a twisting braid, twisting a section of hair around the bathrobe belt and gradually adding in more hair.
Again, these are overnight curls! Let the robe belt do its magic while you sleep.
Bathrobe curls get another A+! Its comfortable to sleep in, the results are pretty consistent, and it only requires a tool you probably already have in your closet!
Because the robe belt is flexible, you can customize how tight you braid your hair around the belt, really customizing your type of curl. If you want soft, bouncy waves, wrap loosely. For tight curls, wrap tighter.
Start with damp hair and sectioning off into a half up, half down style.
Slide the Curlformer onto the styling tool.
Grab a section of your hair with the hook of the tool and slide it to the root of your hair.
Then, slide the Curlformer to the top of the hook, and pull it down your hair using the tool. (For a more in depth tutorial, check out this video on the Milabu Channel.)
When removing, squeeze the top of the former and pull at the bottom.
Depending on which Curlformers you use, your results can vary. The green and blue Curlformers are narrow and create tighter curls. In Milana’s experience, the wider orange and pink ones create the best curls and are more comfortable to wear.
The curls are bouncy and ringlet-like, and would work best on medium to long hair lengths.
Braids Method (Dutch Braid Curls)
Dutch braids produce the most natural looking wavy hair. This is the easiest method as it requires no tools and is super comfortable to sleep in. The results are relatively frizz free with or without added product, and are consistent 99.99% of the time!
Leggings Overnight Heatless Curls
Similar to the silk rod method, begin by placing the seat of your leggings at the top of your head, letting the legs fall alongside your ears.
Working in two sections, braid each section around each leg of your leggings.
Secure with a scrunchie and catch some zzz’s!
This method works best on longer hair that is more thick because it is using more material. The results are less consistent than the previous two methods, but it does create soft, beachy waves.
Legging curls are pretty easy to create, but there’s a lot of extra material being braided into your hair. Luckily, leggings are a comfortable item and it’s not painful to sleep in!
Wave Formers Heatless Curls
Weave the Former onto the tool, then grab a section of your hair with the hook of the tool and slide it to the root of your hair.
Then, slide the Wave Former to the top of the hook, and pull it down your hair using the tool. (For a more in depth tutorial, check out this video on the Milabu Channel.)
When removing, squeeze the top of the former and pull at the bottom.
Note: To alternate waves, flip the Wave Former when attaching it to the styling tool.
You may look crazy during and it may feel a bit heavy on the head, but the Wave Formers do give pretty waves. With these, you’ll want to leave the Wave Formers in as long as possible (at least 2 hours) for best results.
These waves are similar to braid curls, only more uniform and less frizzy.
Bunnies Hair Curling Rod (low heat required)
Begin by warming up your Bunnies Hair Rod in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Clip the rod in place at the top of your head. Section your hair into two sections, one for each side of the rod.
Begin braiding hair around the rod, securing each end with a scrunchie.
Wait at least 40-90 minutes before removing. The longer, the better!
Unwind the waves, shaking them out instead of brushing to not get rid of the waves.
Okay guys, this is impressive! The heatless curl results are beautiful, silky waves free of kinks. You’ll want to gently unwind the waves and not brush them so that they keep their bend.
However, this isn’t an all-day, long lasting curl method. It holds well for the first 4 hours, but after that begins to continuously fall. Perhaps wearing it overnight or setting with hairspray will work aid in longer lasting curls!
Flower Curl by Cordina Hair
Cordina Hair recommends starting with dry hair + scalp, only spritzing the end of hair.
Begin by placing your hair and Flower Curler into a high ponytail.
Each ring will get its own section of hair.
Wrap hair around the rings, securing with bobby pins/clips.
First things first: this is not the most comfortable heatless curls tool to sleep in. Despite it being marketed as comfortable since it doesn’t sit near your face or cover your ears, the hair pins needed to secure it make it extremely uncomfy to sleep in.
But, it did create curls! The tool is designed to work best on hair longer than armpit length, however it does work on shorter hair too. It creates tighter curls that aren’t frizzy, but they can be hard to brush out and style.
Japanese Hair Curlers
For this curl method, you’ll want to enlist the help of a friend to put them in because it can be a bit challenging!
Starting at the bottom of a section of hair, twist the curler along your hair towards the root. Secure with the attached elastic.
Sleep in the curlers, or leave in until hair is fully dry.
This one’s a mixed bag. The results are surprising and blew us away! The hair does need a little bit of playing with to make it look great, as it can have some kinks from the rubber band of the hair curlers.
It creates pretty consistent, tight curls. Keep in mind, each package only comes with 2 curlers. Our recommendation is 4 curlers per side (8 total).
The heatless curls also fallout into beautiful waves throughout the day.
One-Step Hair Curler (low heat required)
While the One-Step is heating up, section hair into 2-3 ponytails for where your buns will be placed.
Roll the hair around the rods into a bun and secure (the rods snap together).
Leave in for at least 15 minutes until the rods are fully cooled down.
There is definitely a learning curve to the One-Step Curler. The way your curls/waves fall will depend on where you place your ponytails and then buns and how you roll the curlers.
The waves are bouncy and frizz free with a nice bend to them. There are some hairs that don’t get as much bend in them because they aren’t directly touching the rod. But, this is a more successful hot roller method and quicker than most!
Paper Towel Heatless Curls
Grab your paper towels, clear elastics, and clips to attach the paper towels to your hair.
Working in small sections, clip a folded paper towel to your hair. Then, separate the section in two, braiding it around the paper towel, securing with an elastic.
Okay, guys! This one is actually impressive. Who knew that you could use paper towels to create heatless curls?!
However, the paper towel method doesn’t create super long lasting curls, nor are they the most consistent. The results with the paper towels can be a bit frizzier, and more intense waves. Robe curls are still the superior method in our book!
Place the Octocurl around your head, with the elastic piece at your forehead.
Begin braiding/wrapping/twisting your hair around the strips, securing the ends with a hair elastic.
To remove, gently untwist each section from the strips.
It’s not that it didn’t do anything, but it didn’t do much! The heatless curls from the Octocurl on dry hair, in just 20 minutes, are very loose, subtle beachy waves. What is good though, is that the headband doesn’t leave any creases!
To really get the Octocurl to work, you’ll want to have damp hair and leave it in much longer, letting it 100% dry (air dry or with a hair dryer).
Cozy Curlers Heatless Curls
Wrap a section hair around the Cozy Curlers, securing with the attached fishnet.
The most important element is to wrap the hair as consistently as possible. The results depend largely on how you wrap the hair and how tight its wrapped.
You can sleep in these, wear them as long as you like, or speed up the process with a hair dryer (no heat setting).
As you can see, the Cozy Curlers both look ridiculous and produce ridiculous results.
The Cozy Curlers, like most heatless curl methods, do have a learning curve. They are pretty gentle on the hair and comfortable, but they start falling pretty easily.
Unsurprisingly, the curls are inconsistent and it is important to wrap the hair as similar as possible on each roller. Maybe enlist the help of a friend?!
Sleep Styler Heatless Curls
Start with damp hair.
Work your way around your head, wrapping sections of your hair around the curler, securing with the velcro.
Make sure to secure them well for sleeping! They can fall out with some tossing & turning.
Another least favorite no heat curls method is the Sleep Styler. To be honest, this method has nothing going for it. It’s uncomfortable, the curls are inconsistent, and it results in a frizzy mess.
But, hey, if you want lots of volume and that 70s hairstyle, go for it!
Start with freshly washed, damp hair.
Working in small sections, wrap the hair around the spoolies then lock it in place. For looser curls/waves, use the blue and for tighter curls, the pink.
Let hair fully dry. It is safe to use heat up to 350°F to speed up the drying process.
Note: To fully curl your entire head, you’ll need at least two packs of of spoolies.
These have a bit of a learning curve and aren’t the most user friendly. Plus, putting the spoolies in is very time consuming. If you can, have a friend help you put these in!
The longer these were in, the more uncomfortable they were – and, they don’t allow the hair to dry very well dry very well.
With the spoolies, the curls are tight ringlets, inconsistent, and a frizzy mess that can’t be tamed and only gets worse after running your fingers through your hair.
The one area where they would work is for very short hair where you would need a 16+ sections of hair.
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Edited by Maddie
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