How to Do Heatless Curls in 3 Ways

If you're tired of using heat to style your hair and want a way to achieve beautiful curls without damaging your locks, consider trying no-heat curls. They're gentle on your hair and create a natural look at the same time!

In this practical guide, we'll go through how to achieve no-heat curls at home, as well as the best Color Wow products to enhance your results.

What are Heatless Curls?

Heatless curls offer a fantastic way to obtain those bouncy, curly locks without the potential damage that can come from hot irons and curlers.

Instead, you can create these curls using alternative techniques like braiding, twisting into buns, using flexi-rods, foam rollers, or even making use of everyday items like socks and headbands.

These methods allow your hair to naturally transform into beautiful curls as it dries.

Heatless curls not only represent a nod to a more natural approach to styling but also serve as a thumbs-up to healthier hair days ahead.

Do Heatless Curls Work?

do heatless curls work?

Heatless curls do work and they're a fantastic alternative for those looking to steer clear of potential heat damage. The effectiveness can vary based on your hair type, length, and the method you choose for creating the curls. 

Some methods might deliver more defined curls, while others might give you a softer, wavy finish. It might take a bit of experimenting to find what works best for your hair, but with a little patience and practice, you can achieve beautiful, bouncy curls without the heat. 

Method #1: Sock Curls 

how to do sock curls

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to achieve
sock curls, keeping it simple and straightforward:

Preparation - Start off by preparing your hair to ensure it's ready to be curled. Begin with clean, slightly damp hair; it's ideal to have it about 80-90% dry. Gently brush through your hair to remove any tangles, making it easier to work with.

color wow pop and lock

Prep hair with Pop & Lock High Gloss Finish to hydrate your strands and add extra shine and gloss to your finished look.

Section your hair - Moving on to the next step, section your hair. The number of sections you create will depend on how tight you want the curls to be. Opt for more sections if you're aiming for tighter curls, and fewer sections if you prefer a looser look.

Wrap and roll - Now it's time to get your socks ready for action. Grab some clean, long socks. The longer the socks, the easier it will be to wrap your hair around them, making the process smoother.

Take a section of hair and place the end of your hair at the middle of the sock. Fold your hair over the sock and start rolling the sock towards your scalp, wrapping your hair around it as you go.

When you reach your scalp, tie the ends of the sock together to secure it in place.

Once all sections are wrapped up in socks, it's time to let them set. It’s usually best to leave them in overnight to ensure your hair fully dries and sets into curls. This way, you wake up to a head full of curls with minimal effort. 

Our social media manager, Kristen, had a go at creating sock curls - check out her results below! 


@kristensitz Obsessed with the @yeshipolitoo heatless blowout sock technique! I tried it on my long flat hair and it worked super well! My hair is pretty limp and stringy normally so I used the xtra large bombshell volumizer to give this blowout a little oomph and I was actually pretty impressed with the results! + my hair stayed bouncy all day! 😍 #heatlessblowout #heatlesscurlsovernight #blowout #hairtutorial #greenscreenvideo #hairtipsandtricks ♬ original sound - Kristen Sitz


Method #2: Curling Rods

how to do heatless curls with curling rods

Using curling rods is a fantastic way to achieve beautiful, long-lasting
no-heat curls.

To start, choose curling rods of the appropriate size for the type of curls you desire: smaller rods for tighter curls and larger ones for looser waves.

Begin with clean, slightly damp hair, as this will help your curls set better and last longer.

Divide your hair into sections. Again, the smaller the section, the tighter the curl. Starting from the ends, wrap each section of hair around a rod, rolling upwards towards your scalp.

Be sure to wrap the hair smoothly and evenly around the rod for uniform curls. Once you reach your scalp, secure the rod in place. The method of securing will depend on the type of rod; some bend into place, while others might have a clasp or band.

Repeat this process until all your hair is wrapped around the rods. Allow your hair to dry completely. This could take several hours, so many people choose to sleep with the rods in their hair.

Once your hair is dry, gently unroll each rod, taking care not to pull or snag the hair. 

color wow one minute transformation

Once all the rods are removed, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to gently separate the curls. Avoid brushing, as this can make the curls frizzy.

Finally, style as desired, and apply One Minute Transformation Styling Cream to keep any frizz and flyaways at bay! See the results for yourself below:

Method #3: Braiding

how to do heatless curls with braiding

heatless curls through braiding is a gentle and effective method to achieve a wavy or curly hairstyle without using styling tools. To start, wash your hair as usual and towel-dry it until it's just damp, as slightly moist hair sets better for curls.

We recommend washing with our sulfate-free, no-residue Color Security Shampoo and Conditioner (check out our Dream Clean Duo for Fine-to-Normal or Normal-to-Thick hair) and then applying Pop & Lock Glossing Serum to smooth frizz, add slip and extra shine.

Then, divide your hair into sections; the number of sections depends on how tight or loose you want your curls to be. More sections lead to tighter curls, while fewer sections create looser waves. Begin braiding each section from as close to the roots as possible, securing the ends with hair ties. 

The tighter and more uniform your braids are, the more defined your curls will be. Leave the braids in for several hours or overnight to allow your hair to fully dry and set.

color wow style on steroids

Once you unbraid your hair, gently run your fingers through it to loosen the curls. Avoid using a brush or comb, as this can make the curls frizzy. 

Finish by applying Style on Steroids Texturizing Spray to keep your curls locked and full of body! 

Watch Cynthia’s tutorial below:

How to Get Heatless Curls to Stay Put

how to get heatless curls to stay put

Getting heatless curls to stay can be a bit of a challenge, especially if your hair is naturally straight or tends to fall flat easily. However, with a few smart tricks up your sleeve, you can help those curls hold their shape longer. Here’s how:

  • Take Your Time - Allow your hair to dry completely before removing your curlers, braids, or whatever method you’ve used to create your curls. If your hair is still damp, the curls may not hold.

  • Avoid Touching Your Hair - Once your curls are set, try to avoid touching your hair as much as possible. The oils from your hands can weigh down your curls and cause them to lose their shape.

  • Use a Setting Spray - A light spritz of a flexible hold hairspray like Cult Favorite, can help lock in your curls without making your hair feel crunchy or stiff.

  • Sleep Smart - If you’re planning to keep your curls for the next day, consider sleeping with a silk or satin bonnet to reduce frizz and help maintain your curl’s shape.

  • Refresh When Needed - If your curls start to fall or lose their shape, you can lightly mist your hair with water or a refreshing spray and gently re-curl the looser sections.

Frequently Asked Questions about No-Heat Curls

Can You Do Heatless Curls with Dry Hair?

Yes. While heatless curls often work best on slightly damp hair as it dries into the shape of the curls, you can also achieve a curly look on dry hair.

How Long Do Heatless Curls Take?

On average, many people find that leaving their hair to set overnight (roughly 6-8 hours) tends to give good results. But if you're in a bit of a hurry, a few hours of setting time during the day could still give you a softer, wavy look. It's all about finding what works for your hair and the look you’re going for!

How Long Do Heatless Curls Last?

On average, heatless curls can last a good part of the day, and with the right prep and care, they might even rock a fabulous look into the night.

However, they may not last as long as curls set with heat, especially without a bit of product to help hold them in place.

It's all about finding what works with your hair and maybe having a bit of flexible fun with the natural ease-out of curls as the day goes on!

When you decide to skip the hot tools and embrace no-heat curling methods, you're not just getting those dreamy curls – you're also giving your hair a thumbs-up for staying healthy. It's like letting your locks do their thing naturally without the heat factor.


Read more about styling tips and tricks on the Color Wow blog:

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