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A model looking straight on, adding silk heatless curling rods into her hair in a studio setting with a white background.

Heatless curls: they’ve been all over our FYP for months, with some people even reverting to using socks (shock horror) to wrap their hair around... But how do you get those perfectly bouncy curls, come morning? We’ve got all your questions answered so you can shimmy out of your silky head wrap knowing you’ve got your strands sorted. 

First up, what are heatless curls

Put down your curler, wand or hair straightener, you won't be needing them with this technique! Heatless curls are exactly what you think they are – a curling method without the need of any heat. By that we mean, wrapping your tresses with flexi rods, silk ribbons and even jumbo hair curlers, locking them in place for a couple of hours (or overnight), to create beautiful, blown out body. This is a perfect way to save your strands, if you’ve overdone it and damaged your lengths with the hot tools , have colour treated hair or are simply looking for a quick and effective way to get show-stopping locks... It only takes five minutes to wrap and that’s it! 

How to create the perfect heatless curls

1. Start with a shampoo and conditioner duo, that work together to smooth and define your curls. We suggest Larry King’s A Social Life for Your Hair.  Infused with vitamin B5 and a sugar-based complex of wood and seaweed, this duo delivers sleek, glossy strands with a bit of grip — ready for your styling products. 

2. Next, go in with Living Proof’s Curl Defining Gel. With a gel-like textured formula, this curl enhancer helps define curl patterns, without the dreaded ‘crunch’ or stiffness. Ideal for when you’re wrapping your locks around the silk rods. 

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3. Using a large hair clip (we love Kitch’s Eco-Friendly Jumbo Open Claw Clip FYI), secure the Kitsch Heatless Curler rod across the top of your head and begin wrapping your strands around the rod away from your face. Once complete, use a silk scrunchie to keep lengths in place, pushing them up the rod to just below your ears. If you’re doing this overnight, wrap your hair in Slip’s Silk Turban to keep your hair in place. It’s practical and beautiful! 

4. It’s now time to unwrap your locks! Gently remove your strands from your silk rod and shake your lengths loose. A quick spritz of Oribe’s Dry Texturising Spray before you dash out of the door will add some oomph and help hold the bouncy curls. 

Et voila, you’ve mastered the heatless curl method!  

But, you may have more questions to get the most out of your handiwork. Fear not. We’ve got the answers to your most queried questions. So now you can achieve bouncy curls that last... And last... 

Can I use heatless curls on wet hair

Ideally, no – not that you can’t try. We've found that wrapping your locks while they’re still wet means they not only need to work hard to take the shape of the curls, but also dry at the same time. So, when you take your hair out, they might not be 100% dry, resulting in the curls dropping quite quickly. We suggest starting with lengths that are 70-80% dry... In other words, your strands are wet enough for your hair to easily wrap, but dry enough that there’s elasticity to hold onto their shape.  

Is it ok to do heatless curls every night

Yes! But of course, you must be mindful of your technique – the tools that you’re using and how much dragging is happening. Maintaining the health of your hair is imperative and although heatless curls are much less damaging than traditional styling tools, if you’re wrapping your locks incredibly tightly and sleeping in them overnight, the chances of tugging is high. So, to mitigate damage, we suggest trialing out your technique and finding the right amount of pull your hair needs to create curls... Sans the fall out. 

Do heatless curls hold

If you prep your strands with specific shampoos and styling products, then there’s no reason your locks won't last. From curl-defining cleansers to gels, salt sprays and mousses, it’s what you coat your tresses in that really plays the biggest role in how long the curls keep.  You want to be using products with formulas that allow your lengths to have enough grip to maintain the twists, like a mousse, texturising sprays and gels.  Plus, if you’re doing the overnight method then wrapping the hair in a bonnet also keeps your curls intact.  

Rina Teslica
Rina Teslica Writer and expert
Rina is Cult Beauty’s Junior SEO Copywriter and has always had a passion for beauty and skin care (rich moisturisers are her obsession). What started as a love for The Body Shop and their famed Born Lippy lip balms (in ‘Watermelon’ of course!), she is now more interested in finding products with proven effectiveness instead of broken promises. A loud and proud VIEVE fan, Rina owns nearly every item of the range and recommends the brand to anyone who will listen... When she’s not intently reading ingredient lists, you can find her either immersed in multiple true crime podcasts or co-hosting her own parenting one, with an *extra* hot cappuccino in hand.

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