Do Heatless Hair Curlers Really Work? I Got an Official Answer

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What’s the best Tiktok hair trend I’ve seen lately? Heatless curling irons. Listen, I was skeptical at first (like how can you possibly keep your hair curly without using an actual curling iron or wand? !) ), but after reading all the comments on social media and seeing these curling irons work for the people I feed, I knew I needed to give them a try. Fast forward a few months and I’ve tried different heatless curlers – from curling irons to flexi wands and hair ties – and I’m totally hooked on this method of styling. Personally, I love using heatless curlers to create multi-gravel waves in my wet hair before bed without causing damage (remember, leaving your hair high temperature can cause split ends and breakage), but there are many different techniques you can do to create various types of waves and curls in your style. Next up are the best heatless curlers on the market, and the do’s and don’ts of using heatless curlers at home from hairstylists Alex Brown and Andrea Hans.

Do no heat curlers work?
Yes! As the name implies, heatless curlers and coils are specifically designed to work their magic without letting your hair get hot. They are a great option for anyone wishing to avoid the potentially damaging effects of heat tools such as flat irons or triple barrel swings. These curlers and heat-free hair ties are a popular choice for setting up spiral hairstyles and adding lots of movement to your hair.

However, Alex Brown, a celebrity hairstylist in Chicago, says that heatless curlers work differently on different hairstyles. He owns Alex Brown’s Space, whose clients include Rebecca Black, Kendall Jenner and Chrissy Teigen. Her advice? Think about your hair type and how you want to style it. For example, naturally curly hair or hair with texture won’t produce smooth waves with a satin wand, but it can help reduce frizz and wisps. Soft, flat hair may not get mermaid-like waves from a curling iron, but they can help the hair get some lift and body.

If you have thick hair, Brown recommends either rough blow-drying or waiting until your hair is almost dry before using a heatless curling iron, as your hair may not be completely dry when it’s wrapped. For very fine or straight hair, having a textured wave spray on hand is essential to keep curls in place.

How do you curl your hair without heat?

According to Andrea Hansmaster stylist and owner of Broome Street Society in NYC, a popular way to curl hair without heat is to “set it into rollers, socks, rags, braidsflexi rods, and other such texture enhancing options”. You can wrap your hair in or around all of these styling tools while it is slightly damp and then remove the tools when your hair has completely dried (many do this overnight). Her master tip if your hair has already dried? Use a spray bottle to mist moisture on already wrapped hair—this will allow your hair to reset and take new form.

For larger, bouncier curls, Hans suggests using larger sections and larger rollers but allow for more time for damp hair to dry. After removing the curlers, sock, or rods, brush them out to combine and add volume.

If you want to go for smaller, defined curly pieces, use smaller sections on the size of the roller you’d like to see in your curls. “Just be careful not to use sections that are too small and put unnecessary pressure or weight onto each hair strand,” warns Hans.

How long can I leave my curling iron on without heat?
The length of time you can leave your hair with unheated curlers depends on the method you use. According to Brown’s advice, Velcro hair curlers should be left in your hair for about 20 minutes. Satin wands can be left in your hair until it’s completely dry, or you can even sleep with it. What’s this hairstylist’s additional advice? Use a bandana or headband to help keep the wand in place while you sleep, especially if your hair doesn’t curl easily or is thicker.

Do you use a heatless curling iron on wet or dry hair?
Hans explains that super damp hair is hard to style and takes longer to dry inside the curler than you might think. He adds, “Damp or dry hair is the preferred choice for using heatless curlers.” Hans says that if you want to style your hair for the next day, some people will leave dry hair in the curlers overnight, using the heat from the head alone to warm it up nicely.

Are heatless curls better for your hair?
In general, no-heat curling methods are safe for hair, but “like anything else, moderation is key,” says Hans. Don’t wrap wet hair too tightly, she advises, and “adjust the products and placement you use until you find a way to maximize the life of your curls.” Overuse of any styling tool – even those that don’t require heat – can cause potential damage.

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