Every Heatless Curls Hack You'll Need For Great Hair Without Damage

There's nothing hotter right now than heatless curls. Pun intended. For so many years, we've all fried and frazzled our hair with everything from super hot rollers to curlers, hair dryers, flat irons, perms, wands, and pretty much everything in between. For all too many of us, our hair is starting to show the evidence. In fact, a 2022 Dyson study found that as many as 70% of people around the world felt their hair is showing some kind of damage. "Hair damage refers to the breakdown of the hair cuticle and cortex, which can lead to your hair looking frizzy, dull, or snapping off," explained Dyson senior principal hair scientist Rob Smith. "The best way to achieve healthy hair is through prevention and minimizing exposure to causes of damage. This includes extreme heat which makes hair weaker and more susceptible to breakage and split ends."

But how on earth do we still get glamorous, voluminous curls without actually using any heat? It's impossible, right? Wrong! Don't fret our gorgeous hair-havers, because Women.com is here with some of our very favorite heatless curl hacks that will give you very similar results without all the damage.

Forgo heat with a foam band

One of the most popular heatless hair hacks right now that you've probably seen all over TikTok, involves going to bed with your damp hair wrapped around a long foam band. There are plenty of these bad boys out there, but we'd recommend getting one wrapped in silk that comes with silk scrunchies to really keep any hair damage to a minimum. But if you can't stretch to a set right now, this method has been proven to work just as well using the fabric belt from your bathrobe instead. What you'll want to do to achieve this look is place the headband (or robe belt) on the top of your head and secure it with a large hair clip. Then, slowly wrap each side of your hair around it, making sure you're wrapping the hair around the band away from your face for the most flattering, face-framing results. For the best results, take one small section from the front of your hair, wrap it around, and then incorporate a little more hair into the wrap each time until all your hair is incorporated. Secure it on either side with a scrunchie and head to bed. When you wake up, take off the scrunchies and lift the headband from the top of your head, gently jiggling it upwards until your hair unwraps itself. The results? Gorgeous Hollywood starlet-style curls with no heat at all.

All about those braids

Another way to make sure your hair has some curl, volume, and texture to it is to opt for braids. One of the best ways to make the curls stay is to put your hair into either two braids, or one single braid while it's still damp, so it's more likely to take. We'd also recommend trying out a French braid to make sure the curl starts further up on your head, giving you a little more volume from the root. Once you've braided every bit of your hair, you'll want to leave it for a minimum of three hours. Exactly how long will depend on how long or thick your hair is, although overnight is always your best bet with heatless curl methods. When you've left it for ample time, simply undo the braid (or braids) and say hello to your stunning curls.

If you have hair that tends to go a little frizzy, you'll want to make sure you're applying an anti-frizz product, smoothing serum, or leave-in conditioner before you braid, and potentially once again afterward. Equally, those with super straight hair or hair that struggles to hold volume may want to apply a volumizing mousse or curl product before giving this one a go for a little extra hold support.

Sock it to 'em

We know, we know. This one may seem a little odd, but trust us — it works! For the sock method, you'll first want to get your hands on two long socks. How long you need them to be depends on how long your hair is, as longer hair will need longer socks. You'll then want to squeeze them until they're almost the shape of a sausage and divide your hair into two sections with each one over a shoulder. After that, securely clip the sock onto one side of your hair, making sure the toe is at the top. In a similar fashion to using the overnight headband method, you'll then want to wrap your hair around the sock away from your face. Once you've done that, open the bottom of the sock and pull it back over your hair twists so they're in their own little sleeping bag, securing the band that would usually go above your ankle with a scrunchie. Repeat the process on the other side, and then you'll want to leave it for a few hours. After that, it's curl o'clock!

Beautiful bantu knots

For those looking for tighter curls as opposed to a loose wave, it's worth giving the Bantu knot method a try. This one's easier than it looks, though it is a little time-consuming, and requires creating several smaller braids that are essentially twisted around themselves. Allow us to explain. Start by sectioning your damp hair into two horizontal sections, a top and a bottom half. Grab a smaller section of the bottom half and create a small braid all the way to the bottom. Once you've done that, twist the hair section around itself until you have a mound of hair, and then secure it to your head using a hair tie. Repeat this step as many times as you need on the bottom section until all your hair is sectioned, braided, and secured. After that, it's time to move on to the top section, where you'll do the exact same method again. Leave your hair in its braided mounds for a few hours or overnight, and then all you have to do is remove all the hair ties and take out the braids for some absolutely dazzling corkscrew curls. 

As this other TikTok video shows, if you don't have the time to give this one a go, you could also do the twisting method in a quicker fashion. Just create bigger sections and twist the hair rather than braiding it.

Curl it up with curl rods

If you have naturally curly hair that you want to add a little more definition to, then curl rods could be for you. This heatless curl method involves wrapping your hair around thin plastic curl rods to create tight curls that look totally gorgeous. This method is a great alternative to heat for those who already have texture, as it will enhance your natural style. It's pretty simple to do, too. All you have to do is get your hands on a pack of curl rods and follow the natural groove of your hair. Whether you want to try this with damp or dry hair will also be totally dependent on the exact curl rods you buy, and how your hair responds to the product. When you get started, take smaller pieces to make sure each section fits comfortably on the device, making sure to put your hair strand through the top loop to ensure it stays put and doesn't fall out. We can't lie, this method may take you a whole day because you can only twist small strands at a time. But, trust us, it's oh-so worth it for those stunning corkscrew curls. Plus, if your hair holds a curl well, then this could last you days.

Rely on rods for heatless curls

This easy heatless hair hack involves just two hair rods and is a quick way to get those gorgeous curls we know you want. If your hair tends to frizz or doesn't hold a curl, you'll want to add a little product to smooth it out and give it some texture first. Then, divide it into two sections (making sure your part is where you want it) and comb it through, before twisting one section away from your face. Next up, grab your heatless rod and wrap the hair around it, making sure you're also twisting the rod away from your face. You'll want to make sure you scrunch the ends of the rod to form somewhat of a donut shape to make sure they stay put and hold your hair. Then, all you have to do is the exact same thing on the other side — that's it! See, we told you this one was easy. For a little extra security, especially if you're heading to bed, it's a good idea to wrap a scarf around your head to keep your hair in place. When you're ready to take your rods out, simply take off the scarf and unwrap the rods one at a time, making sure you don't pull at them to avoid damaging your luscious locks. Run your fingers through your hair or use a wide tooth comb to separate the curls a little, and they enjoy your stunning 'do.

Get stunning spirals

Another leading way to get a glam curl without heat is to try spiral curls, which you may also know as Curlformers or waver ribbons. This method involves using long strips of firm, meshy material that you place your hair into. When getting started, you'll want to split your dry hair into small sections and grab the plastic stick that comes with the pieces. Put the stick inside your waver ribbon, put it to one side for a second, and then give your first piece of hair a twist at the root. The next step is to loop that hair section around the hook at the top of the stick (it's easiest to loop it from the twisted part) and pull it through the ribbon. Go slowly, to ensure you don't end up pulling and damaging your hair. This method may take a little time to get the hang of, but a bit of trial and error can go a long way here. Repeat this method with each section until all your hair is up.

Because this method works best on dry hair, you'll want to leave it for a good few hours before taking the ribbons out. We know leaving it overnight is best, but if you can't commit to that, around five hours should work. If your hair is thicker or struggles to hold a curl, you may want to add a couple more hours onto that just to be on the safe side.

Pin-up girl heatless curls

If you'd rather not spend to get heatless curls, then this method may be the one for you. All you need is a hair tie and a couple of flat hair clips or generic hair pins! To achieve this method (which works best on longer hair) you'll want to start by putting your locks up in a high ponytail. Once you've done that, flip your hair forwards toward your face and create four equal sections, though you can do more If your hair is extra long or extra thick. When you've got your first section, use your index finger and thumb to slowly roll it back towards your face. Once you've brought it all the way back to your ponytail, simply pin it into place. Do the same with the rest of your sections so that your hair starts to resemble a bun, and leave it to set. After a few hours of waiting, it will be time to take the pins or clips out and check out your gorgeous curls. You can either leave your ponytail in for a super cute curled updo, or you can take the hair tie out and add a little hairspray and texturizing spray for some volume.

Mmmm (hair) donuts

Take a leaf out of Homer Simpson's book and make donuts your best friend. Only this time we're talking hair donuts. Though this product is usually used to create a sleek and smooth bun, you can also use it to get some showstopping heatless curls. To begin, put your hair up into a high ponytail using a hair tie, and then grab your donut. Place the donut on the top of your head over your ponytail, pulling your pony through the hole. Then, divide your pony into two sections and start wrapping the first section around the donut. Take your hair from the inside out until there's none left, and then pin the ends of your hair into place so it doesn't unravel. Once you've wrapped both sides all the way around your donut, pull the hair at the front a little to make sure your hair is sitting as flat as possible around the donut (that will make sure each side will look as symmetrical as possible). Then you'll want to leave it in place for a few hours. When it's time to show off those beautiful curls, take out your pins and unwrap your hair from the donut. Just like the pin-up method, you can leave it in the ponytail for a fun tied-back look, or take the whole thing out and dazzle the world with your breathtaking heatless 'do.

Go naked

If you're looking for a heatless curl method that doesn't require anything at all, a naked heatless curl if you will, then stop scrolling. For this method, all you're going to need is a head of hair and a scrunchie. To begin, you'll want to split your damp hair into two sections. With your hair parted where you like it on your scalp, start the process by twisting your first section of hair away from your face into a tight spiral. Because your locks should still be damp, that twisted section should hold by itself for a minute while you focus your attention on the other side. Twist the second half of your hair away from your face in the exact same way, and then put both pieces over your shoulders before tying them together at the ends with a scrunchie. Depending on how long or short your hair is, you may need a friend to help you with that part. Once the twisted sections are tied together, it's time for the waiting game. As with all the methods in our list, you'll want to leave it for a few hours, then take out the scrunchie and step out with your hot (figuratively speaking) new curls!

Combine your heatless curl methods

Why go for just one method of heatless curls when you can go for two? This innovative look combines the braid method and the wrap method, and it'll give your heatless look a little something extra. To start, section your hair horizontally into two parts on either side of your head so you're left with two top sections and two bottom sections. Using the top section on your left, create a French braid and secure it using a small hair tie. Then do the same on the other side. You should be left with two French braids laying over two free sections of hair (one on either side of your head). Next up, take the whole of the bottom section on your left side and twist it around the French braid away from your face, using the braid as a rod to maintain the twist. When you run out of hair, fasten the two together with a hair tie, then repeat on the right side. Now, it's time to leave it alone for a few hours and return when you're ready to reveal your look. When enough time has passed, simply take the hair ties connecting the braids and the twisted hair off, and say hello to curls. Lastly, pull the braids back and tie them together for a super cute half-up, half-down style.

Make the most of your makeup headband

Who knew a makeup headband could have multiple uses? Not only will it keep your hair out of your face while you're putting on makeup or applying skincare, but it can also give you killer curls as well. For this method, brush out your hair and apply any hair care products that you know work, to give your curls some hold and volume. Then, put on your headband by pulling it over your head and moving it up to your forehead so your hair falls over the top. Next up, separate your hair into two sections from your part so your hair falls over your shoulders. After that, take a small section from the front left side of your hair and wrap it around the headband, grabbing it from underneath, and then pulling it back through. Once that piece is wrapped over, the second time around you'll want to incorporate a little more hair into it. That way, your strand should be getting thicker each time until you have no hair left. Once the left side is complete, it should stay in place if your hairband is tight enough. If not, secure it with a bobby pin. After that, it's time to do the exact same thing on the other side until all your hair is wrapped up. As with all the techniques, you'll want to leave it like this for a few hours, then simply unwrap it to reveal your curls.

Scrunch up that scrunchie

Got two scrunchies? Then you can achieve this heatless curl/wave look. For this one, after applying your regular haircare products, make sure your part is where you want it, and divide your hair into two. Once you've done that, grab your silk scrunchie (any large scrunchie should work, but a silk one is less likely to snag your hair) and pull a small section of the left-hand side of your hair through it. Wrap that piece of hair around the scrunchie by pulling it through the hole and round again, incorporating a little more hair into it with each step. Do this process again and again until all the hair on your left has been wrapped around the scrunchie. Once every piece is incorporated, clip or pin the scrunchie in place on the top of your head. Repeat the same process on your right-hand side, again bringing more hair into the scrunchie with each wrap until it's all gone. Then it's time to leave it to set for a few hours, before removing all the clips and scrunchies. Once they're removed, you'll be left with some showstopping curls and flawless texture.