Big, luscious curls. Tight, bouncy ringlets. Beachy, carefree waves. There’s no denying curly hair is gorgeous. People everywhere spend countless hours using curling irons, wands, flat irons, and even heat rollers to achieve the look.
But curling your locks with heat over time will only damage your hair. Let’s face it: we all could use a break from heat tools. Don’t know how to enhance natural curls without heat? You’re in luck! Here is our guide on curling hair without heat to create beautiful, flowy curly hair for that picture-perfect snapshot.
Eight Ways to Curl Hair Without Heat
Whether you’re starting with stick-straight hair or trying to tame naturally curly locks, these tricks on curling your hair without heat will give you gorgeous, glossy curls without burning your hair.
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Pro tip: For smooth, frizz-free curly hair or waves, start with clean, slightly damp hair and work with a light styling foam before trying one of these heatless curly hair methods. In the morning, gently unravel your locks by separating your tresses with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Then, scrunch and set your look with a flexible hold hairspray.
Start with clean, slightly damp hair and work with a light styling foam before trying one of these heatless curly hair methods.
- Loosely braid and secure your hair with a soft scrunchie or hair tie.
- Experiment! Different braids — one or two French braids, rope braids, dutch braids, and fishtails — help you achieve a slightly different pattern.
- Roll sections of your hair into mesh or foam rollers and secure with a pin or clip.
- The larger the roller, the bigger and looser your curls will be.
- Air dry, wrapping the rollers in a scarf or silk sheet to ward off frizz.
Wrap it in a bun
- Sleeping with your hair in a loose bun is a great way to enhance natural curls while you sleep so that you can wake up with better definition in the morning.
- Keep in mind the placement of the bun may dictate where your curl will start.
Try the robe belt method
- Borrow the belt from your robe or find a similar piece of soft fabric twice as long as your hair.
- Center the belt on top of your head and divide your hair into two sections.
- Start wrapping small sections of hair on one side around the fabric, taking in new sections as you wrap, just like a French braid.
- When you reach the end, twist it into a low bun on the side of your head, and secure it with a soft scrunchie. Be gentle when fastening the bun for a comfortable rest.
- Repeat on the other side, and sleep overnight to reveal beautiful curly hair in the morning.
Loop it through a headband
- Position a soft elastic headband on top of your head and right at your hairline.
- Starting on one side, loop small sections of your damp hair over and around the headband.
- Work your way around your head until all your hair is looped around the headband
- Leave overnight to get gorgeous curly hair the following day.
Pin it up
- Working with small sections of hair, twist each section into a rope or wrap it around your finger to form a tight bun.
- Pin in place and wear a shower cap or a silk scarf to protect against frizz while you sleep. You can also take off the pins when your hair is dry.
Use paper towels
- Similar to pin curls, tying small sections of hair into rolled-up paper towels gives you tight, natural-looking ringlets.
- Fold a paper towel until it’s about four to five inches long, then wrap a one to two-inch section of hair around it.
- When you reach the end, tie the paper towel into a knot to secure it.
- Repeat all over and wake up to springy curls.
Use a tube sock
- The tube sock method doubles as a chic updo and leaves you with loose, effortless curls.
- First, cut off the toe of a tube sock and roll the sock in on itself until it resembles a donut. Then, pull your hair up into a high ponytail.
- Pull the ends of your ponytail through the sock donut, and start rolling the donut down toward the crown of your head, tucking the ends of your ponytail into the donut as you roll.
- Wear your sock bun as a ‘do or let it down the next morning, or you can take it off after several hours.
Top Tips for Enhancing Natural Curls
For the smoothest, frizz-free curls, a good curly hair care routine is a must. Here are three methods for enhancing natural curls without heat.
Curly hair needs a lot of moisture, and shampooing too often strips your hair of its natural oils. Co-washing may help.
Co-washing means using conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo. This method is a lot less stripping than shampooing your hair.
However, this does not mean you should skip out on shampooing entirely because it is necessary to shampoo your curls occasionally to eliminate buildup.
If you’re already working with curly or wavy hair, this is the simplest method for enhancing natural curls — and it’s fast!
Curly and wavy hair types are more delicate than straight strands, so they need extra care. Plopping may be just right for enhancing your tresses if you've naturally curly or wavy hair. Here’s how it works.
Use a soft t-shirt or a microfiber towel after showering. Detangle with a wide-tooth comb or just your fingers – never brush! Plop your curls onto the center of your t-shirt or microfiber towel.
Then, lift your head, ensuring your fabric choice covers your tresses. Twist the sides of your choice of fabric and tie at the back of your head. Plop for 10 to 20 minutes at the bare minimum, but feel free to experiment with the time!