7 Ways to Curl Your Hair Without Heat

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As gorgeous and glamorous as curled or wavy hair looks, the process of getting there isn’t always the friendliest to our locks. Tons of heat from styling tools can seriously damage hair, leaving behind curls that aren’t exactly in the best condition. Instead, just a few simple steps at nighttime before you go to bed can help produce the prettiest looks the next morning, without even turning on the curling iron. To help give your hair a break from the heat, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for luscious curls and waves — sans styling tools.

Rag Rollers: This old-fashioned style of curling hair still works just as great today. Cut one-inch wide strips of fabric (or even a t-shirt) and roll a one-inch section of hair up and under the strip. Keep rolling under until you reach the root of your hair, and then take the loose ends of the fabric and tie a knot. Continue doing this all the way around your head, and sleep on the “rags” overnight. When you wake up in the morning, undo each strip and you’ll be left with gorgeous waves!

MORE: How to Straighten Hair Without Heat

Headband Curls: Find a headband that wraps all the way around your head (like an elastic sports headband) and start bringing up small one-inch sections of hair starting from either side of your head. Tuck each section up and into the headband so that when you’re done, all of your hair is rolled into the headband (an added bonus: this also makes for a cute up-do!) Sleep on the style overnight and let the headband loose for chic, effortless curls in the morning.

Braided Beauty: By now you probably know that braids will give way to pretty waves after a couple hours of wear, but there’s also a few tricks to help make your waves as flawless as possible. First, make sure that your hair is just slightly damp so that the impression of the braid really leaves a lasting wave. Next, place a smoothing serum or leave-in conditioner on your damp strands to help smooth flyaways and keep your hair in top-notch shape. When you’re done priming your hair, braid loosely either in many small braids or one large braid depending on the type of look you’re going for (smaller braids will give tighter waves, while a larger braid will give looser waves). Secure with a fabric hair tie so as not to leave a large ridge.

Sock Bun Curls: Those little hair donuts that give you a perfect circular bun? They’re also great for creating curls! If you can’t find a pre-made sock bun, cut the toe off of an old sock and roll it into itself until it’s a donut shape. Next, place hair in a ponytail (again with a fabric hair tie for no ridges!) and place the sock bun at the end of the ponytail. Begin rolling hair up into the sock bun until you keep inverting the bun over and over again. When you reach the top of your head, give the bun one last roll to secure it tight, then hit the hay. In the morning you’ll have soft, delicate curls.

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Twist Curls: After stepping out of the shower, comb hair, apply styling cream, then twist small sections and coil them up into the roots of your hair. Pin in place, sleep on them, unroll them in the morning, and voilà!

Twisted Crown Braid: Instead of a basic crown braid, place hair into two low sections and roll each section all the way down to the ends. Bring up each section one at a time and pin across on the opposite side of your head. Sleep on this, and wake up to really beautiful waves.

Scrunch n’ Spray: Lastly, instead of braiding or twisting before bed time, when you get out of the shower in the morning, squeeze out excess water, finger comb, and let air dry for a few minutes. When you’re done, scrunch your hair with your hands and apply a curling spray to your locks. You could also try a sea salt spray to help stands curl better. Keep scrunching until you’re at your desired level of curl/wave, and let your hair air dry the rest of the way.