There’s something just oh-so-gorgeous about curly hair. While some part of the population is blessed with eternally-glamorous-looking waves, many of us need to turn to our curling wands and flat irons to achieve the look.
Sure—using heat styling once in a while isn’t going to set your hair up for long-term damage, but if you’re going to do it every day, you’re definitely looking at damaged hair. And let’s not even talk about the frizz!
But you’ve got your heart set on those curls, so what’s a girl to do, right?
Well, get ready to ditch the heat because we’ve put together some pretty awesome ways to achieve a head full of those perfect curls minus the heat and damage. Read on to know how to achieve heatless curls and waves at home!
Why Heatless Waves?
Heat damage is real, ladies. Constantly using heat to style your hair can severely damage it, leading to split ends, dullness, dryness, brittleness, and breakage. High heat settings can even burn your hair!
And no, it doesn’t matter in the long run whether you’re bathing your hair in heat protectant spray or not pre-styling—while heat protectant sprays offer some amount of protection, your hair is still at risk of damage. Any kind of heat styling will suck the moisture out of your hair, leaving it lifeless and open to breakage.
Even if you’re using heat only occasionally to style your hair, always make up for it by following a healthy hair routine—eat hair-friendly food, don’t overwash your hair, condition sufficiently, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Or, you know. Just stick with heatless waves and curls. For some of these methods, you’ll have to wait a night for those curls to set in, but considering that you’re guaranteed to wake up the next morning with those gravity-defying curls or waves, a night is a small price to pay.
Ways to Achieve Heatless Waves and Curls
Here are some ways to get those heatless curls and waves.
The 90s Velcro Rollers Blowout
The 90s are coming back and in a big way. Do we love it? Absolutely, especially given the spotlight that’s shining on big hair!
That retro, fluffy-hair look is well within your reach if you’ve got some hair spray and a set of Velcro rollers at home.
Follow the steps below to nail the 90s blowout:
- Wash your hair and let it dry (while we’re going heatless, give air drying a shot).
- Once your hair’s almost dry, section it (rat tail combs are heaven-sent for this task). If you’ve got really thick hair or are using small rollers, you might need to create more sections about an inch wide; otherwise, four or five should do.
- Once you’ve sectioned your hair, gently spritz each section with hair spray, making sure you get all of it.
- Grab your rollers and start rolling! Wrap the ends around the roller and keep rolling till you reach the roots. Secure each roll in place with the creaseless clips your roller set should have. Remember—if you want your waves framing your face, roll inwards, facing your scalp, and vice versa.
- Let your rollers sit in your hair for about 20 or 30 minutes and then gently remove them.
- Seal the deal with another spritz of hair spray so that your curls hold their shape. Et voila! A beautiful blowout.
Mermaid waves without heat? Yes, sir!
With just a brush, a comb, water, hairspray, and hair ties, you can flaunt those mermaid waves in almost no time.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Part your hair down the middle. Using a spray bottle spray both sides of your hair—we’re looking for hair that’s just damp.
- Subdivide each half into two sections and braid each of these sections. The braids need to be tight, so pull firmly as you work on those braids.
- Spritz your braids with hairspray and let them air dry thoroughly.
- Once dry, undo the braids to reveal those effortless, S-shaped waves that you can flaunt on the beach or on that big date night!
Probably the easiest heatless-curl hack on the list, all you need for this is a curly ponytail extension!
If you’re new to hairstyling or extensions, this extension is a must-have in your kit. To achieve this look, just pull your hair back into a ponytail, making sure it’s nice and secure. Then, attach your ponytail extension to your pony. Most ponytail extensions come with claws that you can easily insert into your ponytail’s base.
To make it look even prettier, take a strand of hair from the extension, once it’s clipped on, and wrap it around the scrunchie, covering it completely so it looks like you’ve tied up your hair and secured it with your own hair, instead of using a scrunchie. If you’ve got very thick hair, you can secure this with bobby pins.
There’s something undeniably alluring about those effortless, messy waves that contribute greatly to the chic appeal of a no-makeup, minimal look. With these waves, you’re bound to look runway ready, and all you need is a bit of hair wax, hairspray, hair clips, and a spray bottle of water.
Here’s how you can achieve this look:
- Section your hair into small sections, starting at the base. As you work, keep dampening each section with your spray bottle.
- Next, wrap each section around, just like you would around a curling wand, around your index and middle fingers. Pin up every section you finish curling.
- Spritz your hair with hairspray and give it some time to set. This should take no more than 40 minutes, or a little longer if you’ve got thick, long hair.
- Once the 40 minutes are up and you’ve unraveled your curls, scrunch some hair wax onto them. To do this, take a bit of hair wax onto your palms, heat it up by rubbing your palms together, and simply scrunch your curls for that tousled head of long-lasting, heatless waves!
Paper Towel Waves
What if we told you that you could create the perfect waves with nothing more than paper towels?
Yep, the humble paper towel makes for an excellent curling tool, coupled with hairspray, hair ties, a hairbrush, and a spray bottle of water.
Here’s how you can use paper towels to get your waves:
- Equip yourself with a generous amount of paper towels. You’ll need at least twice the length of your hair. Fold the towels horizontally until they’re about an inch thick.
- Divide your hair into four sections and braid a paper towel into each section. Secure the ends with hair ties.
- Spritz each section generously with hairspray.
- Let your hair dry completely and then, unbraid. Loose, breezy, effortless waves await!
Heatless Bouncy Curls
If your hair’s looking thin and limp (a bane for fine-haired folks!), these curls will instantly introduce some volume and bounce. Grab a few hairclips, hairspray, and a spray bottle of water, and let’s go!
- Create inch-wide sections of your hair, dampening each section, as you create them, with your spray bottle.
- Wrap each section of hair around your middle finger, keeping it loose.
- Slide down the curl you just created and use a hair clip to hold it in place. Unlike the heatless waves described before, you just need your middle finger for this one. The idea is to mimic a smaller barrel curling wand so that we can achieve tight curls.
- Once you’ve done this with each section (make sure that the curls don’t fall out of the clips), spritz in some hairspray.
- Let your hair dry, and then, unravel it for bouncy curls.
Hair donuts are incredibly versatile—they can help you create stunning top knots, add volume for a retro puff, and, as it turns out, help you create gorgeous waves.
All you need for this method are a spray bottle of water, hair ties, and a hair donut.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Brush your hair thoroughly and pull it back into a high ponytail. Make sure that the ponytail sits on the crown of your head.
- Pull your ponytail through the donut and then, section the ponytail into two halves.
- Spray both sections with water until they’re damp.
- Wrap each section around the donut, working one at a time, going over and under till you run out of hair!
- Let your hair dry completely before unwrapping your hair and taking off the donut.
The great thing about this method is that you can easily make your own donut if you don’t have one. Just cut off the tip of an old sock and keep rolling it inwards until you run out of fabric. And that’s it! Your own, homemade donut.
French Braid Beach Waves
If you know how to French braid your hair, this method is perfect for you! (Even if you don’t, there are plenty of tutorials that can help you out.)
All you need are a couple of hair ties, a leave-in conditioner, and a spray bottle of water if you don’t want to wash your hair. Here’s what to do:
- Wash your hair as usual or wet it with the spray bottle.
- Then, work some leave-in conditioner into your hair. This will help your waves set perfectly while also combatting frizz.
- Divide your hair into two sections and tightly French braid each section. Secure the ends with ties. For cute curls at the end, you can loop the ends instead of leaving them straight.
- Let your braids rest overnight with you and unbraid them the next morning.
An overnight bun can leave you with gorgeous curls, especially if you’re blessed with thick hair. You’ll just need some hair ties and hair oil to create the magic of this method!
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Wash your hair or wet it with a spray bottle. Towel dry—use a microfiber towel for the best results.
- Oil the ends of your hair while it’s still damp.
- Section your hair into two halves. Twist each half into a tight bun, a la Princess Leia, and keep these in place with hair ties.
- Unravel your hair the next morning and you’re guaranteed perfect, heatless waves!
If you want those curls but can’t be bothered with too much maintenance and effort, these lazy waves are for you. This style is wonderful for third-day hair, needs minimal effort, and gives you quick results, perfect for those days when you need to multitask or just can’t be bothered (we all have those days—we get you!).
Here’s how to achieve these lazy waves:
- Pull your hair back into a ponytail.
- Dampen your ponytail with a spray bottle of water.
- Create one-inch sections, wrapping each section around your fingers to create curls. It’s best to curl each section after you create it.
- Secure your curls with clips.
- Let your hair dry completely and then, unpin the curls and remove your ponytail—bouncy, gorgeous, hassle-free waves!
When you’re crunched for time and can’t wait for your hair to dry, these headband waves are the perfect solution. A single headband is all you need to work wonders!
Here’s what you need to do:
- Wear your headband around your head.
- Dampen your hair with a spray bottle and divide it into two sections.
- Twist each section (twisting away from your face for framing waves) and wrap them, one at a time, around your headband, weaving in and out until you run out of hair.
- Spritz with hairspray to hold the hair in place and let it set.
- Once your hair is completely dry, let loose those curls! You can also finish off with some texturizing spray or pomade for superior definition and hold.
Pipe Cleaner Beach Waves
Create gorgeous curls with pipe cleaners! This is an effortless, quick method to get those beach waves—all you need to do is dampen your hair, line up your cleaners by twisting the bottoms and ends so that they look like a curling wand’s barrel, and wrap your hair around these.
The great thing about this method is that you can work with fairly large sections of hair, so it shouldn’t take you much time.
As you’ve seen, it’s completely possible to achieve beautiful curls without having to pay the price of heat damage. Not every method will work the same way for different people—different hair types work differently. However, one of these is sure to work for you and needless to say, is the much healthier alternative.