As a busy working mom of a toddler, anything that can save me time (and effort) in the morning while also making me look put together is a winner. So when I first heard about heatless curls, I was intrigued — yet skeptical.
I’ve always had long, pin-straight hair and have always longed for curls. (True story: I came very close to convincing my mom to let me get a perm a la Topanga and DJ Tanner when I was about 10). I was hellbent on having bouncy curls, and we would try everything — including those pink foam and plastic rollers that, to this day, haunt me. Nothing ever worked until I got older, got highlights, and learned a thing or two about products and techniques.
Up until trying heatless curls, I was a big fan of using my straightener to curl my hair, and it worked relatively well. But when I learned about the hair health and time-saving benefits of heatless styling, I had to try it. I’m so glad I did.
Ready to try heatless curls for yourself? Let me help. Here’s a step-by-step for those using the silk curling headband method.
The first step is to wash and condition your hair with your favorite products and let it air dry until it’s damp. I also add in my leave-in treatment once a week, and I love to do it on the night I use heatless curls. Finding the right level of dampness was a challenge at first, but the best way I can put it is that you want it to be “I just got out of the rain” wet, not dripping wet, and not almost dry. My hair is ready to do this after a rough towel dry and waiting about 45 minutes for it to air dry.
The Heatless Curls Process
To begin, part your hair where you typically would wear it. (I wear a side part — Gen Z can’t take that away from me.) Then, section your hair by pulling half to the front of you on the left and half to the front on the right.
Position the curling headband like a headband at your crown. In the beginning, I used a claw clip to keep it secure until I mastered the technique, so try that if it helps.
Then, using about ½-inch sections of hair, wrap the hair away from your face, up and over the headband, and back under. Hold that piece securely while adding another section, wrap, and continue. For each rotation of wrapping, you’re adding more hair into the mix, similar to when you French braid.
Once your side is complete, secure with a hair-friendly scrunchie and rest your arms for a bit. (No, seriously.) Then tackle the other side, again remembering to turn away from your face. Finally, finish with your favorite hairspray.
The end result? A Martha-Washington-inspired coiff that is actually kind of fun.
Finish and Style
Yes, it really is this easy. Once you’re done — go to bed! If you’re a side sleeper, to be honest, it can be a little uncomfortable to sleep in at first, so I recommend trying to sleep on your back.
Once you’re done dreaming, in the morning, all you have to do is remove both scrunchies and gently remove the headband by grabbing the middle of the curler and tugging upwards. And voila! Hello, curls. Depending on your hair type and preferences, at first, they may look a bit too tight or spirally for you. Don’t stress it — they will naturally loosen a bit and can be tamed with some tousling. Use your fingers to rake through your curls to loosen, but avoid fussing too much, as it can create frizz. Once you’ve got your desired look, use some finishing spray, and get on with your day where you can honestly say, “I woke up like this.”
- This method admittedly works best on longer hair — lob length or longer.
- If you don’t nail it the first time, try again, and you’ll get the hang of it. Just give yourself a little extra time in the mornings.
- You don’t have to wrap the curls away from your face — it’s just my preference for my curls to flow that way.
- If your hair is still remotely damp when you wake up, you can blow dry it while wrapped around the headband. For best results, you need to make sure your hair is dry.
- Don’t be a gatekeeper! Share this with all your friends. They deserve to know, too.
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