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How to Curl Hair Without A Curling Iron? 5 Tried and Tested Methods

Using a curling iron is synonymous with achieving luscious, wavy, curly hair. However, sometimes you might be facing a circumstance where a curling iron is not available, and you need some voluminous curls.

A variety of options exist that can help you add curls to your hair without a curling iron, whether you have naturally straight or wavy hair.

Curling irons use heat to train your hair to stay in a specific style. Curling irons or wands are efficient but it can cause hair breaking and a dry scalp.

Different Ways to Curl Hair Without Curling Iron

If you would like to avoid curling hair with a curling wand or iron and looking for natural ways to curl your hair, we have listed a few options to try including various braids and popular TikTok trends!

1. Braids Create Waves

Braiding your hair and waiting for the waves to take shape is an excellent heatless option in place of a curling iron.

First, you will want to wash your hair before braiding. If you have naturally straight hair, your braids will hold and take shape more quickly if you do not use conditioner.

If your hair tangles easily, use a conditioner sparingly. Overusing conditioner before braiding could negatively impact your curls.

After a shower, dry your hair by squeezing water out gently with a soft towel or cloth to remove fizz. As you begin to brush your damp hair, consider using a salt-based spray.

Sea salt can help your hair hold waves and mimic an “ocean wave” look after the braids are released. If a sea salt spray is unavailable, using some mousse or styling gel can help your braids take shape.

It can be helpful to cover your hair while you sleep in a sleeping cap or scarf to reduce “flyaways” once you release your hair from the braids.

To braid your hair, separate pieces into sections depending on the thickness of your hair. Generally, the more hair per braided section, the looser your curls will appear. Notably, the “tighter” your braids, the more your hair will crimp instead of curl, so braid loosely for waves.

While traditional braids work well, you can experiment with different curls using different braids, like french or fishtail.

Heatless Velcro Hair Rollers

velcro rollers

Traditional velcro hair rollers are easy to use, affordable, and produce glamorous wavy hair. For that blowout look at home, this heatless hair curling option is perfect.

Indeed, rather than spend upwards of $50 at a salon, you can purchase a set of Velcro rollers for less than $10 at many stores – and they are reusable!

With clean, damp hair, take small sections, roll them into the curler, and use a bobby pin or hair clip for extra holding security. Velcro rollers vary, and the shape of your curl depends on the size of the roller.

Using a smaller-sized roller will produce defined curls, which using the larger sizes will create lots of volume.

The longer your hair is, the more rollers are needed to achieve the desired look, but often velcro roller kits come in multiple sizes and a large number of rollers. Using multiple dimensions at once and experimenting with which size best fits your look is fun!

Using velcro rollers with some mousse or styling gel helps define curls and increase volume. One common practice is to section your hair into three parts, then divide it into equal smaller sections for roller application, then start from the tip of your hair and roll inward toward your scalp.

Velcro rollers can secure themselves, but using a bobby pin or clip is a wise practice for extra holding power.

Bathrobe Belt Curls

By using a long, plush bathrobe belt, you can place it strategically on your head, twirl strands of hair around and have wavy curls the following day!

Some hair companies are even marketing products that can be used instead of a bathrobe belt, like a silk hair curler with matching elastic bands.

Bathrobe curls require dividing your hair into two sections then braiding each side and interweaving a bathrobe belt.

The method requires sleeping in your bathrobe belt braids, and the result is swishy wavy curls. The results of the bathrobe braid also depend on which type of braid you use.

You will see soft waves with the robe as one strand if you use a traditional three-strand braid. However, if you use the fishtail method, slowly adding additional strands to your twist, the curls will be more defined.

Plopping for Natural Curls

Another, now popular method is “plopping.” If you have naturally wavy hair, you might be missing out on some fantastic curls if you have not tried this technique.

Plopping requires some practice, so do not get discouraged if it does not work perfectly for you on the first try. You will need a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt and your usual styling products for curly hair to get started.

Start with wet hair and apply any products you usually use, then scrunch your hair, section by section, to awaken the curl pattern. Lay your towel or t-shirt on a flat surface, then “plop” your hair over on top, in the center of the towel.

With your head down, wrap the towel around, twisting extra fabric into a tail and securing it by tucking it at the base of your neck.

Allow your hair to dry slowly. Then, once you remove your hair from the towel, your once wavy curls will be defined and voluminous.

Vintage-Style Pin Curls

vintage style pin curls

Pin curls originated decades ago and were a staple and signature hairstyle during WWII. The look is achieved by curling a damp piece of hair from the end toward the scalp.

Once the strand of hair is encircled and close to your head, use bobby pins to secure it. Once the pin curl dries, unpin and brush it into the desired style.

Starting with wet hair, apply products like styling mousse or gel. Water is a crucial component to achieve beautiful pin curls. The amount of water varies depending on hair type. Fine hair requires more water, while thicker hair should be only damp to reduce drying time.

If you use heat to dry your pin curls, the hair will set in beautiful curls in about ten minutes. However, if you choose to use a heatless method, you can allow the pin curls to stay in for hours or even overnight.

Benefits of Using Heatless Curling Methods

benefits of using heatless curling methods

While a curling iron can quickly style your hair using heat, the heat causes damage. Using heat-free methods of hairstyling offers many benefits. Especially if you are looking to grow your hair longer, removing heat will end the constant breakage that usually results in breakage.

Not only will your hair recover and break less, but you will also have a healthier scale because it will retain natural oils and moisture, producing healthy hair.

Any of the above-mentioned methods can help you reduce heat usage and result in beautiful curls. Braiding hair to produce waves, using velcro rolls to increase volume, or trying TikTok trends like bathrobe belt braids or plopping can help your already beautiful hair be styled exactly as you would like.