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As quick as you may be with your curling wand, ask any hairstylist, and they'll tell you how damaging heat styling is to your hair. Luckily, there are plenty of products and styling methods that are capable of creating beachy waves and bouncy curls without the heat — if you have any doubts, just scroll through the #heatlesscurls hashtag on TikTok. The best no-heat curlers for you will depend on which process you find the easiest, as well as the type of curls you prefer. Foam rollers and Velcro curlers are the most popular (and traditional) methods, but there are also newer inventions, like hair-curling headbands.
Just as your curling wand skills took time to develop, mastering no-heat curlers will likely involve some trial and error. Because most heatless curlers work by encouraging your hair to dry in a certain shape, you'll want to use your curlers while your hair is slightly damp, unless the instructions tell you differently. You'll also want to prep your hair with a root-boosting spray or volumizing mousse if your hair is on the straighter side or struggles to hold a curl. If you find that your curls are too defined, use a wide-tooth comb to gently brush through the curls, and going forward, experiment with cutting down on how long you leave the curlers in. Depending on your hair type and the type of curls you're after, finish with a sea salt spray for beachy waves or a light misting of shine spray for glossy curls.
To curl your hair without the heat, scroll on to shop three clever products to get the job done.
1. Best Foam Rollers
These colorful foam curling rods are a favorite on Amazon — they currently have over 20,000 five-star ratings — for all hair lengths and textures. The set comes with 42 foam rollers in seven different sizes for achieving everything from tight spiral curls to barely-there waves. The various sizes are assorted by color, so it's easy to tell them apart, and they come with a clear carrying case for easy storage and travel. More versatile than your average hair roller, these rods can be twisted to hold any shape, and because they don't have any plastic pieces, you can sleep in them comfortably.
2. Best Velcro Curlers
You may have already experienced a blowout or two where the stylist used Velcro rollers to amplify volume and bounciness while they blow-dried your hair. Of course, you can stick to that method (prepping your hair with a heat protectant and keeping the dryer on a low heat setting for less damage), or you can pop in your Velcro rollers when your hair is still slightly damp. Drybar’s High Tops Self-Grip Rollers set comes with three large rollers and three medium rollers that stay in place without using clips or pins, but don't rip or pull at your hair when removing them. You'll want to purchase a few sets depending on how much hair you have, but no matter how many curlers you're using, the brand recommends starting at the crown of your head and working your way down.
3. Best Curling Headband
If you've been watching no-heat curling videos, chances are you've seen some version of the headband method. Maybe the most versatile curlers on this list, the Octocurl heatless curlers come in several lengths and materials: Fast-absorbing microfiber (ideal for those with thick hair), cotton poplin, and super-gentle satin. The headband is adjustable, depending on where you want your curls to start — wear it closer to the top of your head like you would a flower crown for curls that start closer to the root, or further back for curls that start lower. You can also better control how tight your curls will set by wrapping larger sections of your hair around the curlers for looser waves, or working with smaller sections for tighter curls. (If you’re confused about how the Octocurl works, you can watch several tutorials, here).
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If you use Velcro curlers (or hot rollers) and find that they’re always slipping down, these claw clips can help. They’re designed to firmly hold hair rollers in place so you can go about your business more comfortably without worrying about your curlers loosening or falling down. For just $12, you get a pack of 12, which amounts to just a dollar per clip.