Asian woman wearing hair rollers to curl her hair.

Do you know what 2013 and 2023 have in common (aside from you scream-singing Taylor Swift’s All Too Well in the bedroom)? People are trying their hand at heatless curls again.

Remember those funky-looking flexi rods? They've been replaced by thriftier, no-heat curling tools, like socks and ponytail scrunchies. These newer techniques are born out of practicality and, of course, the desire to keep hair damage-free. A bonus? They’re also pretty handy in case of a “brownout.” If you want fabulous curls without using hot tools, check out these tips.

1. Skip Conditioner

Conditioner doesn’t always make hair easier to style. While it helps protect your , it also relaxes your strands, so they won’t be able to hold the curls you’ve worked so hard on.

On days when you want to create heatless curls, skip the conditioner. Instead, use a moisturizing shampoo like Sunsilk Smooth & Manageable Shampoo to keep your hair smooth without weighing it down.

Meanwhile, if you’re dealing with damaged hair, try Sunsilk Damage Reconstruction Shampoo. Formulated for hair that’s prone to breakage, it has keratin, and to repair the hair structure and soften your strands. 

2. Blow Dry the Roots

This contradicts the whole “heatless” concept, but hear us out! One downside of curling hair without heat-styling tools is it makes your hair flat at the roots. Taking advantage of your hair dryer’s cool setting will solve this problem.

Bend over and let your hair hang upside down. Blast cool air at your hair roots to achieve that va-va-voom effect. If your hair is on the thicker side, you can blow cool air on the strands until they’re half-dry. Doing this will prevent and breakage as you curl your locks.

3. Prep Your Hair

No matter the tools, your hair needs a product boost to make the style last all day. But you wouldn't want to use too much product to keep it from becoming flat and greasy. Choose one that works best for your hair type. For example, mousse and texturizing spray are great for locking the curls in place and making them bouncier. You could also try an extreme hold spray if you to lock in your hairstyle.

If frizzy hair is at the top of your worry list, apply TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum on your towel-dried hair. This 5-in-1 hair serum detangles knots, tames flyaways, and, most importantly, adds more definition to your heatless curls. The best part? It also will give you the of your dreams.

4. Pick a Technique for Creating Heatless Curls

TikTok and YouTube have no shortage of videos on heatless curls. Every method promises the same result: effortless wavy hair that’s good first thing in the morning. However, these hacks are not as easy as they seem, especially if your locks have a mind of their own. Here are the pros and cons of the three most popular heatless curls hacks.

Try sock bun curls.

How to do it: Make two with scrunchies (or more for tighter ringlets). Tuck the toe part of each sock under each scrunchie. Then, wrap one ponytail around each sock – away from the face – until you reach the end. Secure your hair by folding up each sock, creating sock buns.

Pros: Because socks and scrunchies are generally soft and fluffy, having them on your head won’t disrupt your sleep. Plus, this method creates soft, loose curls that look natural.

Cons: The sock curls trick doesn’t work if you have short hair. Beginners may find it difficult to tuck their hair inside the sock.

Use your bathrobe belt.

How to do it: Part your hair in the middle, then take a bathrobe belt (or any soft ribbon) and place it on the crown of your head. Starting with the left side, wrap a section of hair around the belt. Keep wrapping sections, and when you're done, secure the ends with a scrunchie. Do the same on the other side.

Pros: This heatless curls hack works for short hair peeps (yay!). It’s perfect for creating tight and voluminous curls with lots of bounce.

Cons: The process can be tricky since the belt tends to move around as you wrap, and the braids can unravel when you try to secure them. If you like sleeping on your side, this method might not be for you!

Snooze in your French braids.

How to do it: To create two French braids, part your hair in the middle. Starting with the left side, take three small sections from the top of your hair and do a simple braid. Take more hair from the surrounding area as your plait continues. Try to reach the very end of your hair and secure it with an elastic. Repeat the steps on the right side.

Pros: This method requires no tools and produces fun beachy waves. The plaits won’t bother your sleep, either.

Cons: You need to know how to braid your hair to accomplish this trick. It can also make your hair frizzy, so to minimize friction.

5. Don’t Brush Your Hair

Now comes the big reveal. After your slumber, unwrap your hair gently. Resist the temptation to comb through your heatless curls to keep them from losing their shape. Instead, detangle your hair with your fingers. You can also scrunch up the curls to give more texture.

If you don’t have the whole night to style your locks and it’s “brownout” at home, you can still create heatless curls with the hacks above – just spritz on some extra-hold hairspray beforehand. Leave them on for at least 30 minutes. Even with power interruptions, you can still have a good hair day with these makeshift curlers.