12 Different Ways To Curl Your Hair Without Heat

Tips and tricks to style your hair in bouncy curls without damaging them with heat.

Reviewed by Monica Dickenson, Certified Trichologist Monica Dickenson Monica DickensonCertified Trichologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , BA Anu Pallavi BA
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Curling your hair can be an arduous process – arm aches, sweat, and of course, hair damage you have to deal with while using a hair mousse, hair straightener, or hair crimping iron. If you don’t want all this mess and are searching for ‘how to curl your hair without heat’, this post is for you. These methods will give your hair a natural curl look. The best part is no hair damage, even without using a heat protectant. In the article below, you’ll find 12 natural ways to curl your hair without using a curling iron. These methods will give you different styles, volumes, and tightness. Please scroll down to read further to know what they are.

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • A Square face has more angles which can look harsh and enhance fine lines and wrinkles. Large curls, loose waves, and soft layers can soften these angles.
  • Bangs can help soften this face shape. Tapered fringes and side parts can distract from the sharp angles and round out the face shape.
  • Absolutely avoid blunt bangs and chin-length blunt cuts. Straight hairlines do not work well with a square face.

How To Curl Your Hair Without Heat?

Women have been curling their hair without heat for centuries! “These styles are a wonderful way to style your hair and keep it healthy by not putting heat on it,” says Jocelyn Ly, a licensed cosmetologist and professional hairstylist.

Most of these methods incorporate going to bed with hair that is slightly damp and waking up with perfectly curled hair. Some work to emphasize the natural wave in your hair. Go through the list to find the best method for the look and style that you’re going for.

1. Ponytail Method

Ponytail Method
Image: Shutterstock

If you are someone who doesn’t want to spend hours in front of the mirror but still wants those bouncy curls when you step out, don’t worry. With this method, you can wake up with those curls without much effort.

You Will Need

  • Scrunchie
  • Hair shine spray

Method

  1. Wash your hair and towel dry till it is damp (not wet). Avoid rubbing your hair with the towel as it causes frizz.
  2. Make a high ponytail but skip the last wrap around your hair.
  3. Now, take small sections of hair from your ponytail and start wrapping them around the scrunchie.
  4. Keep repeating till all your hair is wrapped and it looks like a bun.
  5. Leave it overnight and remove the scrunchie in the morning.

2. Straw Method

Straw Method
Image: Shutterstock

For those who want tighter and more defined curls but are not ready to expose them to heat styling, the straw method is just the right way to curl your hair.

You Will Need

  • Drinking straws
  • Bobby pins

Method

  1. Wash your hair and towel dry it until it is 70-80% dry.
  2. Now, take a straw, place it as close to the scalp as possible, and start wrapping a small section of hair around it. The smaller the section, the tighter the curls will be.
  3. Use thicker straws if you want bigger curls.
  4. As you reach the end of the hair, use a bobby pin to secure the hair with the straw. They work like DIY hair rollers.
  5. Repeat until all the hair has been wrapped.
  6. Remove the straws in the morning to reveal bouncy curls.

3. Scrunching

Curl your hair by scrunching
Image: Shutterstock

Scrunching will enhance the natural curl of your hair, making it wavy, or curly depending on your natural hair texture. It’s one of the quickest and easiest methods to get messy curls.

You Will Need
  • Curl Enhancing Product (hair mousse/gel)
  • Hair volumizer Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Hair Gel/ Other Product For Hold
Method
  1. Wash your hair with a volumizing shampoo and then condition it.
  2. Apply the conditioner only to the ends of your hair, so it does not weigh your hair down. Detangle using a hairbrush while you do this.
  3. Rinse your hair thoroughly to get rid of any residue.
  4. Squeeze the water out with a towel. Do not rub your hair with the towel as it will cause breakage and frizz. Instead, squeeze gently to get excess water out.
  5. While your hair is still damp, pump out a golf-ball-sized amount of mousse, or a pea-sized amount of gel.
  6. Bend forward and start scrunching your hair with the product. Scrunch your hair with the same motion used to crumple a piece of paper.
  7. Do not get any product near your roots, as this might make your hair appear greasy. Keep scrunching upward and let your hair dry.

Apart from this, hair oils can also enhance your natural curls and waves.

4. Pin Curls

Curl your hair with pin curls
Image: IStock

This classic style will never go out of fashion, and it’s also a super easy way to curl hair your hair at home without heat. All you have to do is pin your hair before bed and then you wake up with gorgeous curls in the morning.

You Will Need
  • Towel
  • Wide-Tooth Comb
  • Hair Gel
  • Hair Pins/hair clips
  • Cotton Scarf
  • Hair Gel
  • Hairspray
Method
  1. Wash your hair with a good volumizing shampoo and then condition it. It would be a good idea to detangle your hair with a wide-tooth hair comb while you condition it.
  2. Towel dry your hair but ensure that you are gently squeezing excess water out of your hair rather than rubbing your hair with the towel.
  3. Apply some hair gel, hair styling cream, or any other product that gives you hold.
  4. Section out the crown of your hair. Secure it in a bun. You will be working on this section last.
  5. Take a 1-inch section of your hair from the side wrap the end around your index finger to create a loop. Hold it in place with your thumb and index finger.
  6. Start rolling the section upwards until it is snug against your roots. Ensure that you are rolling the hair up, away from your face.
  7. Hold the rolled-up section flat against your scalp and secure it with a hairpin. If the sections are too thick, your hair pins will leave indentations in your hair. Use hair sectioning clips to keep the sections in place.
  8. Repeat this process with the rest of your hair. Once you are done with the bottom, work on the crown until all of your hair is secured with pins.
  9. Wrap your hair with a silk scarf to keep the pins in place and go to sleep. The scarf will also help absorb the moisture from your hair.
  10. Wake up in the morning and undo your hair curls. Only remove the pins when your hair is completely dry. Do not use a blow dryer as it will frizz up your hair and undo curls.
  11. Once you’ve removed all the pins, gently finger-comb your hair to remove the piecey appearance. Use some hairspray or hair texturizer for extra hold.

protip_icon Trivia
It is believed that the water-waving technique influenced pin curls that became popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

5. Braiding

Curl your hair by braiding
Image: Shutterstock

If flawless beach waves are what you’re looking for, braiding is the way to go. This is one of the easiest ways for curling hair.

You Will Need
  • 2 hair ties
  • Hairspray/ Other Product For Hold
Method
  1. Wash your hair and wait until it is 70% dry.
  2. Part your hair down the middle and braid one side at a time.
  3. If you only want waves towards the ends of your hair, create two regular braids on both sides of your head.
  4. For waves that begin close to the roots of your hair, create two French braids or boxer braids on both sides of your head.
  5. Ensure that the braids are tight so that your hair doesn’t frizz out when you open it.
  6. Keep the braids until your hair is completely dry. You can go to bed with the braids still in your hair and then undo them in the morning.
  7. Finger comb your hair and then finish with some hairspray or product for hold. Smooth out the hair using a hair serum for shine.

6. Velcro Rollers

Curl your hair using Velcro rollers
Image: Shutterstock

Velcro rollers are a great curling alternative, and they also save your hair from heat damage while giving your hair body and volume. For tight curls choose smaller sizes, and for big voluminous hair with waves, go for larger ones.

You Will Need
  • Velcro Rollers
  • Towel
  • Comb
  • Hairspray/Other Product For Hold
Method
  1. Wash your hair with a volumizing shampoo or simply dampen it using a spray bottle.
  2. Squeeze out the excess moisture from your hair using a towel.
  3. If you have thick hair, section it and roll your hair upwards. You can skip sectioning if your hair is fine.
  4. Ensure that you are rolling upwards until the rollers sit snugly against your scalp.
  5. You will not need to use pins to secure the rollers. If the roller isn’t sticking, it is possible that the section you’ve taken is too thick.
  6. Wait for a couple of hours with the rollers in your hair until it is completely dry. You can use this time to do your makeup or finish up chores around the house.
  7. Undo the curls and finger comb your hair. Finish with hairspray for hold.

7. Bantu Knots

Curl your hair with Bantu knots
Image: Shutterstock

This method is my personal favorite because of the tight, springy curls it gives you. The Bantu method works well for all hair types and helps calm your frizz while giving you some perfectly defined curls.

You Will Need
  • Towel
  • Bobby Pins
  • Shower Cap
  • Hair Gel/ Other Product For Hold
  • Hairspray
Method
  1. Wash your hair and condition it.
  2. Once your hair is about 80% dry, gather a 1-2 inch section of your hair (the smaller the section, the tighter your curls will be) and start twisting until it resembles a rope.
  3. Twist this section tightly around itself to form a small twisted bun.
  4. Secure it with a bobby pin.
  5. Repeat this until all of your hair is up in Bantu knots.
  6. Wear a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
  7. In the morning, take off the shower cap and let your hair dry.
  8. Undo each coil, one-by-one, and finger comb your hair.
  9. Finish with hairspray for hold.
protip_icon Did You Know?
The origins of Bantu knots can be traced back to a south-western African community that spoke the Bantu language. When they migrated to other African regions, this hairdo also began to gain popularity.

8. Paper Towel Method

Curl your hair using the paper towel method
Image: Instagram @sosimplynatasha

Using tissues to curl your hair is a great alternative to using rollers. This method gives you tight, springy curls that look natural.

You Will Need
  • Towel
  • Paper Towel Roll
  • Hairspray
Method
  1. Wash your hair and then squeeze out the excess water using a towel. Optionally, you can dampen your hair using a spray bottle.
  2. Take a paper towel and fold it until it is about an inch wide and about 4-5 inches long. Take a 1-2 inch section of your hair and wrap the ends of your hair around the middle of the paper towel.
  3. Start rolling upwards until you reach your scalp. Secure the paper towel by tying it around the rolled up hair.
  4. Repeat this with the rest of your hair in sections.
  5. Sleep with the paper towels in your hair.
  6.  Undo the paper towels and finger comb your hair.
  7. Finish with some hairspray for hold.

9. Sock Method

Curl your hair using the sock method
Image: Shutterstock

Using a sock is the perfect way to attain gentle waves in your long hair. As a bonus, your hair will look great while it is being curled.

You Will Need
  • Hair tie
  • bobby pins
  • Sock
  • Scissors
  • Hairspray
Method
  1. Dampen your hair by washing it or using a spray bottle.
  2. Squeeze out any excess water and wait until your hair is about 80% dry.
  3. Pull your hair into a high ponytail and secure it with a hair tie.
  4. Cut the toes off a sock and roll it into a doughnut shape.
  5. Pull the ends of your hair through the hole in the sock.
  6. Wrap the ends of your hair around the sock and start rolling it up until it sits snugly against your scalp.
  7. Secure with some bobby pins.
  8. Undo the bun once your hair is completely dry. You can sleep with the bun in your hair or wait 5-6 hours until your hair dries.
  9. Undo the sock bun and the hair tie. Use your finger to comb through your hair and finish with hairspray.

10. Headband Method

Curl your hair using the headband method
Image: Shutterstock

This is the perfect method for beachy waves and large voluminous curls.

You Will Need
  • Headband
  • Blow Dryer (optional)
  • Sea-salt Spray
Method
  1. While your hair is slightly damp, wrap a headband around your head.
  2. Section your hair into two halves and start wrapping it around the headband.
  3. Once you get to the end of your hair, pin it to secure it in place.
  4. Repeat this with the second section and pin it in place.
  5. You can use a blow dryer on the cool setting or with a diffuser to speed up the drying process, or you can go to bed with your hair wrapped around the headband.
  6. Once your hair is completely dry, unpin it and let it down.
  7. Comb your hair with your fingers and finish by scrunching your hair with a sea-salt spray to hold the volume.

11. Twist Buns

Curl your hair using twist buns
Image: Shutterstock

This is one of the easiest ways to get some quick beach curls.

You Will Need
  • 2 hair ties
  • sea-salt spray
Method
  1. Dampen your hair by washing or using a spray bottle. It would be a good idea to use a volumizing shampoo.
  2. Part your hair down the middle to create two sections.
  3. Gather the first section into a high pigtail and start twisting until it resembles a rope.
  4. Keep twisting the hair around itself until you reach the end.
  5. Secure with a hair tie.
  6. Repeat this process with the other section and then go to bed.
  7. Optionally, you can wear this hairstyle for a few hours until your hair is completely dry.
  8. Once your hair is dry, undo the twisted buns and run your fingers through your hair to comb it.
  9. Finish by spritzing on some sea-salt spray and scrunch for hold and volume.

12. With A Wand

A woman using a wand to create curls
Image: Shutterstock

This method creates soft, heat-free curls without damaging the hair.

You Will Need

  • Spray bottle with water
  • Hair mousse
  • Hair ties
  • Curling wand

Method

  1. Dampen your hair using the spray bottle, then apply a small amount of hair mousse or setting lotion to hold the curls.
  2. Divide your hair into sections, securing the rest with hair ties or clips. Smaller sections create tighter curls, while larger sections result in looser curls.
  3. Take a section and twist the hair from the roots to the ends. Then, wrap it around the wand and hold it for a few seconds. Repeat for each section.
  4. Allow your hair to air dry or keep the twists in place for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Carefully unravel the twists, and gently finger-comb or shake out your curls for a natural look. Finish with hairspray for better hold.

Nomadia, a blogger, shared she wears her hair into twist buns to get beautiful curls. She ties her damp hair into buns at night and in the morning, spritzes some hairspray on after opening the buns. “I typically wear twin buns overnight for about 6-7 hours then take them out in the morning and spritz my hair with hairspray in the morning (i).”

Infographic: Simple Ways To Get Heatless Curls

Isn’t it wonderful that you can achieve those gorgeous curls without any heat damage? The internet thinks so too! And there is no dearth of tips, tricks, and new tools to curl your hair without using heat. Check out the infographic below for some more trending tools and tips to get natural curls overnight.

simple ways to get heatless curls (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Curling your hair with heat styling tools like curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers, means hair damage, frizz, loss of hair structure, and dryness. Luckily, you can learn how to curl your hair at home without using heat.

These curls will last for about 2-3 days. You can add hair spray or styling mousse to keep your curls intact for a longer time. From light curls to heavy-duty coils, these methods add more definition to your curly tresses and don’t take that long to perfect. Simple tips like keeping your hair in a braid overnight can give you luscious curls without using any heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you permanently make your hair curly?

You can get a perm to make your hair curly for a few months. However, the new growth of hair will be your natural hair texture, whether it is straight or wavy.

Do eggs make hair curly?

Due to the numerous benefits of eggs, the natural hair community has long used eggs to make homemade hair treatments that improve your natural curls.

When should you curl your hair?

You can curl your hair anytime you want to add some volume, texture, or style. It’s a personal preference and you can curl your hair for special occasions or just to switch up your look.

How can I make my curls last longer?

You can use hairspray or a heat protectant spray before curling and avoid touching or brushing your curls too much throughout the day to make them last longer.

Can I curl my hair without washing it?

Yes, you can curl your hair without washing it. Freshly washed hair can sometimes be more difficult to style because it can be too soft or slippery.

Key Takeaways

  • Curling hair without heat prevents damage and gives it a natural look.
  • Pin curls, the ponytail method, and braiding damp hair overnight will help you get beachy waves.
  • Bantu knots, or straws, can be used like rollers to wrap sections of damp hair around for tight, defined curls.
  • Headbands and socks create loose, heatless waves when hair is wrapped around them to dry.
  • Velcro rollers provide volume and curl without heat when they are left in damp hair to dry.

how to curl your hair

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Learn five easy and affordable ways to curl your hair without using heat. Get the perfect curls without damaging your hair. Watch now!

Personal Experience: Source

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Monica Dickenson

Monica DickensonCertified Trichologist

Monica Dickenson has more than 30 years of experience as a dedicated technician and business owner. She is very passionate about providing the best service possible to anyone experiencing hair loss and has certifications in hair replacement and holistic trichology. She was awarded USTI Associate Trichologist of the year in 2018.   Monica graduated from Garfield High School in Woodbridge,...read full bio

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