Raise your hand if you’ve ever been harmed by a curling iron or a straightening iron. Heat tools are not only time-consuming to use, but they may also be harmful to hair if used incorrectly.
But have you ever pondered how to obtain wavy hair without using heat—that is, without using curling irons, blow dryers, flat irons, or hot rollers?
Your eyes may roll at the prospect of scrunching your hair with recklessness until it curls just so. Isn’t it true that not everyone’s hair has the structure or pattern that allows for heat-free wavy hairstyles? Wrong.
We were promised that even people with stick-straight hair could break up with their hot tools and have beachy tresses without so much as an electrical outlet after learning professional methods from many renowned hairdressers.
Continue reading to learn six simple ways to obtain wavy hair without using heat.
Choose the Correct Cut and Products
First and foremost, if you desire wavy hair, obtain a haircut that suits the style. TIGI creative director and vice president of education Thomas Osborn suggests asking your stylist for a layered cut.
“Layering often releases weight, which aids in mobility,” he says. “By reducing weight off the ends and letting the curl to develop more readily, point-cutting these layers encourages movement.”
The path to natural waves begins the moment you walk out of the shower. To remove extra moisture, towel-dry your hair; to shorten drying time, use a microfiber hair towel, such as the Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Turban ($30).
Osborn then suggests “cocktailing items together to personalize not only for the exact texture you’re working with, but also for the style of wave you desire.”
“Remember the desired outcome,” he adds. If you want relaxed waves, try a shine spray like IGK Good Behavior 4-in-1 Prep Spray ($27) instead of hairspray; if you want definition, try a texturizing powder or anti-frizz spray.
“Keep it light in any case, because the nicest thing about wavy hair is the movement—too much product, and you lose that,” Osborn advises.
Twists are divided by sections.
Celebrity hairdresser Nick Arrojo, founder and CEO of ARROJO hair salon in NYC, twists damp hair and allows it to dry for a quick and easy beachy wave.
He recommends using Garnier Fructis Smooth Air Dry ($3) and Texture Tease ($4) on damp hair first. Then, he suggests, take hair in random portions (about three inches wide) and twist it to “look like dreadlocks.”
Repeat the process on each side of your head, twisting each part in a different direction. Allow the hair to air-dry before raking your fingers through it for a deconstructed effect.
Evo Lockdown Smoothing Treatment ($36) is recommended by celebrity hairdresser Kenna Kennor for people with frizzy hair: “It’s a fantastic leave-in treatment that controls frizz and adds shine.”
Use Salt Spray to Scrunch
Kim Vo, celebrity hairdresser and CEO of Vo Blow, recommends the ultimate no-fuss, no-tech way for generating waves: “Scrunch up your hair after spraying it” with a salt spray.
“Sea salt is an incredible component for a beach texture,” Osborn says. Because of nourishing components like seaweed extract and glycerin, the newest salt sprays are designed to minimize over-drying hair. Evo Salty Dog Salt Spray ($29) is Kennor’s favorite.
If you’re concerned about the dehydration effects of sea salt, use a leave-in conditioner first; leave-in conditioner claims to keep hair smooth, but sea salt adds texture.
Overnight Braid Wear
Arrojo claims that his “absolute favorite approach” to generate wavy hair without using heat is to use various braiding techniques. “The right braid with the right product equals flawless results,” he explains.
Arrojo begins by dampening her hair slightly before applying Garnier Fructis Smooth Air Dry from roots to ends. “Decide whether you want tight or loose waves, and then make a rope braid (for loose waves) or a three-section braid (for tighter waves,” he says. “Keep your sections tangle-free and clean.”
Take out the braids and add hair spray for an all-day hold; Arrojo’s favorite is Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Hairspray ($4).
Form into buns.
Vo recommends sectioning damp hair into little buns while it dries for firmer waves. “You’ll have a lot of waves after you let them all down,” he promises us.
Make two- to three-inch portions in your hair. (The larger the sections, the larger the resultant waves.)
Twirl and twist your hair into tiny buns, fastening them with bobby pins near to your head and crisscrossing them in a “X” pattern for optimum hold. The super-strong Meta Grip Premium Bob Pins ($6) are a favorite among stylists.
When your hair is dry, pull your buns down to show lovely waves with a lot of body. Set them with a light-hold setting spray or a texture spray, such as Verb Volume Dry Texture Spray ($18).
Roll your hair into pin curls.
Another fantastic approach to producing waves, according to Arrojo, is to set damp hair in huge, old-fashioned pin curls.
“Use a curl-sculpting product to prep your hair,” he suggests. (Amika Curl Corps Enhancing Gel is $25.) “From roots to ends, comb the area of hair you’re working with to ensure it’s smooth and tangle-free.”
Arrojo says, “Roll [each portion] into a huge pin curl and attach with a little clip.”
“Repeat, rolling each pin curl in a different direction. When the curls are totally dry, remove the pins and use a big wide-tooth comb to separate them into lovely, loose waves.”
Rag Curlers should be tied in.
Need a style that will set overnight so you can wake up with big, tight waves that will stay all day? Try out rag curls. “This is really an old-school approach,” explains Leysa Carrillo, a hairdresser. “Back in Cuba, my mother would put it on my hair.”
To begin, you’ll need a pair of cloth curlers. Cut an old T-shirt into 15 to 20 strips that are one to two inches broad and eight to ten inches long. (The longer and broader your strips, the longer and thicker your hair should be.) Try pillow rollers if you’d prefer use a store-bought product.
“Begin with moist hair and separate it into square-like parts,” suggests Carrillo. “Grab the rag, roll the hair from the ends onto the rag, and knot the rag.”
You’ll have beautiful, bouncy coils when you let your hair down in the morning. Finish with a soft-hold hairspray, such as Amika Fluxus Touchable Hairspray, which costs $25.