Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

By Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.

Image by Katerina Kouzmitcheva / Stocksy

January 25, 2023

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The hairstyling trend cycle sits on a constant merry-go-round: One year fluffy, voluminous curls are all the rage; the next, tousled beach waves are a must-have. And the cycle continues. Regardless of what’s “in” these days, it’s always best to work with your natural strand pattern. If you are one to frequently opt for heat, your strands are probably begging you to put down the hot tools in the name of hair health

Luckily, this hairstyle of the moment requires absolutely zero heat. It might sound too good to be true, but you can, in fact, attain glamorous curls without frying your ends—here’s how. 


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How to nail heatless curls. 

If you search “heatless curls” on TikTok, you’ll be met with countless tutorial clips racking up billions of views. But let’s be clear: Heatless curls are by no means a “new” trend. However, modern products have made it just a bit easier to add bounce to your locks overnight. 

The tool everyone is raving about: the buzzy heatless curls headband. There are more than a few of these products on the market (our recs below), most of which contain a satin-covered flexible rod and a few securing attachments—silk scrunchies, claw clips, and the like. Here’s the how-to: 


Picture your finished look.

Whether you have curly, wavy, or straight hair, know that using these headbands with wet strands will deliver more dramatic, defined curls. On the flip side, wrapping your strands dry before you hop into bed will reveal a more lived-in look. 


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Once you’ve landed on your finishing look, it’s time to wrap. Place the headband on your head with the center of the rod lined up with the top center of your head. Make sure it’s closer to your face than the back of your head. 

Using a claw clip, secure the rod at the top of your head so it doesn’t slide around when you’re wrapping. Try to do so gently so you’re not pulling on your roots. 


Satin Heatless Curling Set


This set from Kitsch is all you need to achieve dreamy curls overnight. The satin construction helps mitigate frizz, while the flexible rod makes sleeping in the look surprisingly comfortable. Plus, you can keep the satin scrunchies on hand for future use.

Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set

Once placed, wrap your strands around the rod. Many TikTok users opt for the “crisscross method,” where they take small chunks of hair from the front and back section of the rod, essentially braiding the headband into your hair as you would a French braid. 

This will help keep the rod secure while you sleep and switch up the curl direction. Need a visual? Here’s one user’s step-by-step tutorial.

If you’re looking for even more volume, you may consider wrapping the front sections of your hair (including bangs, if you have them) around the top center of the rod. This way, your curls will fan outward and upward, adding some lift. 

To go above and beyond, you can even slip a roller onto your headband and use that as a grip for the front section, like this user demonstrates


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Once you’ve finished wrapping your hair around the rod, you’ll need to secure it in place. Many heatless curl sets come with scrunchies or clips to make this possible. The scrunchies will secure the side sections of your hair at the bottom (as they would for two pigtails or braids). 

If you can sleep with your top claw clip in, it will help keep the rod steady. However, some people may find it uncomfortable to sleep with the clip secured, so feel free to release it if needed (no bouncy hairstyle is worth losing sleep). 

Once everything is set, hop into bed. 

The next morning, you’ll be ready for the big reveal. All you have to do is take out your ties and clips, then gently unravel your curls from the rod, or slip it out if you have a silk- or satin-covered headband. 

After that, you may consider misting your hair with some hair spray to keep the look fresh all day. If your curls tend to fall out easily, then you may consider rewrapping your strands every night, even in between wash days

Here, just a few more tips to keep in mind: 

  • For those with fine, straight hair, curls oftentimes have trouble staying throughout the day. To increase hold, wrap your hair after you shower or mist it with water beforehand. 
  • Run a bit of hair oil through your strands before you wrap to give your hair a dose of nutrients and ensure the look is frizz-free. 
  • If you don’t want to invest in a heatless curls set, there are plenty of DIY options out there—some users opt for robe ties or even leggings to replace the rod (these may even be more comfortable to sleep in). 
  • For those with thick or highly porous strands, wait half an hour post-shower to wrap your strands. This way, you’ll skip waking up with half-dry curls that struggle to hold shape. 
  • If you have already textured hair, you likely don’t need heatless curls to achieve volume (just air-dry!). However, these heatless curl sets can help you define your natural curl pattern and provide a more uniform bounce. Up to you.


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The takeaway. 

Next time you’re craving voluminous, bouncy waves, you’ll know how to nail the look without a touch of heat. This process may seem universal, but how you decide to wrap your hair is all up to you, and it may take a few tries to achieve your desired look. That said, don’t fret if you don’t nail the perfect curl the first time around. Want even more ideas? Here are a few other heatless curl methods to consider.


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