Achieving perfect waves with minimal effort is the ultimate hair objective for many of us, but it never quite seems to work out the way we want it to. Figuring out how to get wavy hair overnight isn’t as simple as sleeping in a damp braid, no matter how frequently people try to tell us that it is—especially if you have thick hair that doesn’t take well to styling without heat.
If you’re not willing to wrangle the curling iron though, you aren’t totally SOL. In fact, we’ve found great success with these three lesser-known ways to get wavy hair overnight—and there are zero braids involved. Talk about answered prayers.
1. Use a Headband
Take one of those soft headbands—you know, the ones you usually use to keep your hair out of your face at the gym—like the Studio 35 Soft Headband Set ($7.98), and place it on your head so that it’s horizontal over your ears, Richie Tenenbaum-style.
Section by section, wrap your damp hair around the headband, tucking it beneath the elastic as you go. No pins necessary for this one; just shake it out and go in the morning.
2. Use Pins
If you have a little extra time (and patience) on your hands before bed—and don’t mind sleeping on a head full of pins—flat pin curls are super easy to do, and they work to make waves on every hair type and length. You can also size your sections based on how tight you want your waves and curls to be, so the technique is totally customizable.
Just take each section and roll it up to your scalp, then pin in place so that the loop is flat. Wrap your head in a silk scarf to keep the curls in place and frizz-free overnight.
3. Knot it
Bantu knots are a traditional African hairstyle that looks awesome on its own; but worn overnight, they’ll leave loose, silky waves behind.
On just slightly damp, detangled hair, apply a light-hold styling product—we love R+Co Chiffon Styling Mousse ($28)—to give the knots some grip. Twist each section of hair with your fingers until it coils around itself and starts to move toward your scalp. Then wrap the twisted length of hair around the base of the coil. You can use bobby pins or a small elastic to secure the knot against your head.
A version of this article was originally published in September 2015.