Creating perfect curls without damaging your hair is why the heatless curls movement has become so huge. But which method to use? We put them all to the test so you can find out which will work best for you.
It’s the hair trend that’s swept TikTok and now heatless curls have filtered down from social media into real life and even the high street is responding with kits to create heatless curls as easily as possible. And we can see why the concept of heatless curls has taken off in the way they have. After all, if you could create great-looking curls without causing any damage to your hair in the process, why wouldn’t you? And this isn’t the first time that TikTok has served up some genuine beauty insight, it’s a great place to discover TikTok best perfumes or the TikTok trend for fruit used as makeup (no we’re not joking!).
However, for as many heatless curls success stories as there are, are many many mishaps. Heatless curls require spot-on technique (which only comes with much practice we think) as well as adapting most of the methods to work for your hair length and type. Which is why we wanted to put all the different methods to the test. From using kits that have everything you need to create heatless curls to regular items around the house that have been TikTok tried and tested. We put them all to the test so you can find out which will work best for you. Here’s how we got on.
How to do it: I used this on damp, almost dry hair. It doesn’t say to use any styling product but knowing how frizzy my hair goes if left to its own devices I did spray some styling spray and a little serum in my hair just in case. You then create a centre parting, place the middle of the styling wrap - which is essentially a long piece of round foam covered in either black or pink silk fabric - on the top of your head a few inches away from your hairline and secure it in place with the gorgeous tortoiseshell hair clip. Then, you take sections of hair and wrap them away from your face and round the wrap. The bigger the section the looser the curl, the smaller the section the tighter the curl. Once you have wrapped all your hair around, you secure it in place with one of the two hairbands (that are included in the set) and repeat the process on the other side. I then took the clip off the top of my head, brought the remaining length of the wrap to the nape of my neck and clipped them together to keep it out of the way.
How long it takes: The first time I did it, I didn’t pull my hair tight enough and it was all falling out before I’d got to the end. I also realised I hadn’t brought enough of the back of my hair through to wrap around. By my second attempt, I got a better technique going and my slightly longer than shoulder-length hair took about 5 minutes to wrap completely. Far less time than it would take me to tong my hair. I left the wrap in for about 4 hours - I wasn’t brave enough to wear it on the school run - and that created the result you see in the pictures.
Zero damage to your hair.
- Everything is included and I would use the clip and the bands on a daily basis.
- Felt very comfortable to wear during the day. I wore it sitting at my desk and I completely forgot I had it on.
- I was concerned that it was going to be too long for my hair but it was absolutely fine.
- It wasn’t comfortable to sleep in, but I don’t think I could sleep in any of the heatless curls methods.
- I don’t know how you get the back of your hair looking good using this method - the front worked well but I feel like you need a separate wrap for the back.
- Quite pricey for what it is.
- You need to leave it for a fair amount of time so you really need to schedule when you’re going to use it.
Our verdict: I genuinely didn’t think this was going to work. I thought my hair would be too short, too fine and that I’d end up with a frizzy bird’s nest. So I was very impressed with the curls it created. I can’t say that I love this look on me, I do prefer a more subtle and gentle wave but that’s not the look that this kit creates. It is designed to create heatless curls and that’s exactly what it did.
How to use it: They recommend using this on damp or dry hair but I actually tried it on fairly wet hair as my hair goes too frizzy if left damp. Before using the wrap I applied some blow-drying and smoothing products to also help keep my hair as smooth as possible. After putting my hair into a centre parting I put the styling rod on the top of my head, wrapped my hair around the rods tightly, tied it off with scrunchies and slept in it.
How long it takes: The wrapping took about 5-10 minutes to do and then about 6-10 hours for my fairly thick hair to dry.
I was really impressed with the results - my hair looked like I had a bouncy blow-dry.
- The curls lasted three days and looked gorgeous, smooth and not frizzy
It was quite hard to get the back of my hair curly so it was a bit flat.
- I didn't think my roots looked great so I tied my hair off in a sleek half-up half-down look and it looked gorgeous.
Our verdict: I love this and would definitely do heatless curls using this kit again, especially as it caused zero heat damage to my hair and the look lasted longer than curls I do with a heat styler. I often wash my hair during the day to look nice at night so this was more difficult to fit around my schedule - also some people may not like sleeping with wet hair in the winter so you could towel dry it first but I think that will cause more frizz. I think this works really well if you wash your hair at bedtime and can sleep with it on (I found it comfortable) or if you can WFH with it in during the day (but I find the waiting takes forever). I also tried the Silke London heatless curling kit but I found that harder to use as the rods were thicker, so for me, this was better.
How to use it: Weave and wrap your parted hair around the robe. Each time feeding in a new section as your wrap around and secure the ends with a hair band.
How long it takes: Around 30mins to style. Over 8 hours to dry. Depending on your hair type. I left it overnight as I have very thick hair.
- Less heat damage: when I usually style my hair for a bouncy blow-dry look I would use a hairdryer, straighter and curler.
- If you’re conscious of your energy bill, this uses no electricity or high-voltage hairdryers or tools
- It’s easy to do and it doesn’t need to be perfect. If the curls do set correct, it will save you a bunch of time
- Not keen on going to bed with wet hair (especially in the winter) as I’m worried I’ll catch a cold!
- Quite a faff to wrap thicker afro-textured hair like mine around the robe. Also, find the roots of my hair is way frizzier and less defined
- If you’re a wriggler in the slip you might accidentally take the curls out during the night
Our verdict: Whenever I style my hair for a bouncy blow dry I use a tonne of heat! To get my textured hair the way I want it I have to blow-dry, straighten to smooth frizz and then I add curls to it. Phew! Even typing it makes me realise how much heat damage I’m causing. Using a dressing gown for heatless curls, however, cuts out all heat and weren’t as hard as I initially imagined, granted I do need a lot more practice. My only problem with it is down to the thickness of my hair. I can wrap the front around it nice, tight and neat but the back of my hair looks like a bird’s nest — for fellow fans of Hannah Montana it gives business at the front and party at the back vibes. For those with fuller hair, I suggest doubling up with an extra dressing gown for maximum heatless curls effect.
Victoria tried ‘legging curls’ with Lululemon Align Pants model’s own (or £88) but any leggings will do
How to do it: Start crotch-to-crown and let the legs dangle by your ears (why is this is already sounding like a yoga instruction I’d give in one of my classes?). Wrap strands of hair around the legs on each side and fasten the ends with a hair tie. Take the leggings by the ankles wind them around the back of your head and back to your forehead and tie at the front. Fold the bum part over the tie to make a heatless curls hat that holds the whole thing in place.
It’s free, kind of
- Looks very neat, and will appeal to Folding Lady or Marie Kondo fans and yogis, especially if you can get the Lululemon logo front-facing on your ‘hat’.
- You could answer the door in this without scaring the post lady although having also tried the Silke kit I much preferred the look of that, it also felt much lighter.
Hard to wear for the required several hours, because the hat becomes hot and itchy and definitely too bulky to wear overnight.
- Like the Silke, this two-strand method completely ignores the back of the head, which on my curly hair remained untamed.
Our verdict: This is just too bulky for my fine curly hair. But I think it would be better for thicker longer hair where the back doesn’t need any attention to look tamed. Fine if you’re only front -facing. I haven’t seen any TikTokers show the back of their head when doing this method of creating heatless curls and this could be why.