7 Best Heatless Curlers – WWD

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Heatless curls have seen a recent resurgence thanks to beauty TikTok and social media, and we’re definitely here for it. The best heatless curlers require minimal effort to apply, and leave you with shiny, healthy curls that you can wear on the daily — without the damage.

“Heatless curls are curls created without heat, using techniques that include braiding, rollers, pin curls, overnight waves, and finger coiling,” explains celebrity hairstylist Becca Mader. There are countless different methods to achieve a blowout-like bounce without using heat, from curly hair products to heatless rollers themselves. Heatless curl tools are among the most popular TikTok beauty products today, but they’ve actually been around for nearly a century. “Heatless curls were popular around the early 1900s but the first heatless roller product came out in the 1930s and was invented by Solomon Harper,” says Bader. “They are definitely regaining popularity now because trends always come back in style and history tends to repeat itself. More and more people are realizing the benefits heatless curls have on your hair.”

Regularly applying heat to your hair can add to preexisting damage or dry out your strands. Though this can be soothed with silk pillowcases or heat protecting products, your hair can still be at risk of breakage. “Heat can be very damaging on your hair, especially those who color or lighten their hair, ” says Mader. “Heat strips moisture, causes hair color to look dull, and opens up your hair cuticle causing flyaways. Using heatless curl methods like braiding, using velcro rollers, and finger coiling are all great ways to maintain the integrity of your hair’s natural texture and moisture level.”

“There are many benefits to creating heatless curls with your hair,” adds Mader. “The biggest benefit comes from creating a style without heat also known as damage-free styling. Heat can be very damaging to your hair causing split ends, dryness, and breakage.” And, no matter your hair type, texture, length, or particular needs, there’s a variety of damage-free curlers to choose from. As long as you have the right tools for the job, whether it be silk rods, scrunchies, or velcro rollers, you have salon-worthy hair at your fingertips.

Below, shop our picks for the best heatless curl products with expert tips on how to use them.

Top Heatless Curl Products of 2023

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Best Hair Diffusers

Best Satin Heatless Curling Set

Kitsch Rosewood Satin Flexi Rods

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

Flexible rods are an amazing option for those with any hair type looking to get tight curls, and if you have naturally curly hair (up to 4c), your curls will look enhanced, smooth, and picture-perfect. These rods from Kitsch are some of the best market, not only because of the satin material, but also for how easy they are to use on dry or slightly damp hair. Achieve the curls of your dreams by taking your hair in sections and wrapping them around the rods. Roll them to your hairline and securing them by bending the rod on the ends. Depending on how much hair you have, you might want to get more than one set.

What testers say: “I wanted to use this on my 4c hair for wand curls. I divided my blown-out hair into 4 sections and then used 4 rods per section. So I had to buy 3 packs. Extremely worth it and I got beautiful results. Also more comfortable to sleep with than perm rods or flexi rods.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $16

Best Rollers for Volume

Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers

Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Sephora Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

For a freshly blown-out look with lots of volume, these rollers from Drybar are going to be your best bet. What’s great about these is that you only need to wear them for about 20 minutes to see results, but the longer the better for a super locked-in look. Place a roller at the bottom of a section of hair, roll it all the way up to the scalp, and secure it with a clip if your hair wears heavier.

This can be done on dry or damp hair, or in tandem with a curling iron, hair dryer brush, or hair dryer for salon-worthy hair. These help to minimize the need for excessive heat styling, by setting curls for a longer hold and bumping up the volume with a root lift. This is one essential that everyone (regardless of hair length or type) should have in their vanity.

What testers say: “These high-top rollers are amazing. I use it in my hair right after blow drying and I leave them in for a bit. Once I take out, my hair looks professionally styled. I love it! They don’t hurt to put in or out and it helps my hair look great.

Price upon publish date of this article: $12

RobeCurls The Original Heatless Curling Rod Headband

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Urban Outfitters Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars

Our overall pick for getting the best no-heat curls overnight comes from RobeCurls. With tons of positive reviews from testers, this no-fuss overnight heatless curler can work for stick straight hair to 4c hair types. It’s a typical heatless curling headband with easy instructions, which start by securing the rod on top of your hair with a clip. Next, start on one side, grabbing sections of hair and tightly wrapping it around the rod. Repeat on the other side and secure the ends with a hair tie to set overnight. This rod is so comfortable that you’ll forget you’re even wearing it, and will reveal professional-looking curls in the morning. To lock them in for a long day of wear, we suggest going in with some hairspray.

What testers say: “I have tried many different heatless curl systems but this one is the ONLY one that has worked on my board straight hair. The wire is undetectable on your head until you bend the headband around your hair at the end — let me tell you, it makes a world of difference in creating the curls! Don’t hesitate to buy, I wish I hadn’t kept my old one around for so long!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $27.99

Best Heatless Curls for Short Hair

Willbond 30 Piece Hair Waver Kit

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

While Willbond’s wave kit is our top choice for short hair, it will absolutely work with any hair length or hair type. This versatile heatless hair curling ribbon kit has over 2,800 five-star reviews on Amazon, with a major takeaway being how fun the entire process is, after you get the hang of it. It simply requires sliding one-inch sections of wet hair into each waver, using the included hook. Leave them in until your hair has completely dried and you’ll be left with beautiful curls.

What testers say: “Super easy to use, but make sure to read the instructions. Everyone compliments my hair when I use these. They make the perfect curls. I use them after the shower with my hair wet and leave them in overnight in the morning they are ready to go. Don’t need hairspray or anything, they hold the curls really well.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $14.99

Best for Comfortable Overnight Curls

Lilysilk Heatless Silk Curling Headband And Scrunchie Set

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Out of all of the heatless curl products on this list, Lilysilk’s is without a doubt the most comfortable to sleep in. If you’re looking for an easy overnight curls method that won’t leave you tossing and turning, trust us when we say this is the product for you. Crafted from silk charmeuse, the soft fabric won’t tug on your hair, and will leave your strands smooth, non-frizzy, and perfectly curly.

“This product is amazing if you want to sleep in your heatless curl method,” says Mader. “The silk headband goes over your head from ear to ear. You want to start by wrapping your hair around the rod and away from your face almost as if you were braiding your hair around the rod. Once all your hair is wrapped around the silk headband, you then want to secure the bottom of your hair with the silk scrunchies your product comes with. This method tends to come out looking just like you used a curling iron on your hair!”

What testers say: “These are absolutely amazing! I put in these to sleep overnight. Very easy and comfortable. I was so happy with the result.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $39

Hot Tools Velcro Self Holding Rollers

Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

“My favorite heatless curl product you can buy is the Hot Tools Velcro Self Holding Roller Set,” says Mader. “To use these, you want to section your hair to the width of a roller and roll your hair away from your face. If your hair is on the thicker side sometimes it can be helpful to use a bobby pin to keep the rollers in place.” These work well on dry, damp, and, freshly blown-out hair, so they can fit into any hair styling routine, or allow you to experiment with a variety of different methods and looks.

What testers say: “The perfect tool to add volume and body to my A-line bob haircut. Easy to use, no clips needed, gives good results for minimal money. No heat means less damage to my hair. Love this product!!

Price upon publish date of this article: $10.99

Best Heatless Curling Rod Headband

Silke Heatless Curler

Revolve Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Saks Fifth Avenue Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4/5 stars

Searching for a kit that has it all? Look no further than this one from Silke. It comes complete with a rod headband, two silk hair ties, a clip, and a cosmetic bag. Crafted from 100% pure silk, your hair will stay silky smooth without any frizz, and, even better, you’ll be able to catch some much-needed beauty rest while rocking these. If you’re into the look of big and bouncy curls, whether you have stick-straight hair or curly locks, this kit does it all. 

What testers say: “These are a wish come true! I can put them in overnight to sleep comfortably and have minimum fuss as I shake out my waves in the morning. Or I can pop them in as I get ready for a night out without scratchy curlers to catch on my clothes and I don’t have to spend an hour curling my hair, saving time to do my makeup leisurely.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $56

The Different Kinds of Heatless Hair Curlers

  • Rods: Rods, especially when they’re made from a material like silk, are gentle on the hair and won’t pull on it and cause breakage. This is a great option for those looking for a tighter curl, regardless of hair length or type.
  • Headbands: Heatless curls with headband is among the most comfortable methods. They’re suitable to wear overnight, and work well on the range of hair lengths.
  • Wave/Curl Forms: Wave and curl forms are a universal technique, but those with short hair will find this is the best method. They’re easy to use and comfortable to wear all night long, with an especially tight hold.
  • Rollers: Traditional rollers are particularly popular method for achieving heatless curls. If you’re wanting a voluminous, bouncy look, go for this option. “When creating heatless curls, you want to make sure you are rolling your hair away from your face,” Mader says. “This will create a face framing effect that will open up your face creating a flattering hairstyle for your face shape.”
  • Socks: Overnight curls with socks gained popularity on social media in the last few years, and creates some of the best overnight curls for those just getting into heatless curls. Overnight sock curls are perfect if you’re traveling or always on the go, and will work great for all hair lengths. Plus, it’s a sustainable way to upcycle socks you don’t use.
  • Braids: “Another way people create heatless curls is with overnight braid curls,” shares Mader. “Doing French braids, or standard 3-strand braids on wet hair, creates a beautiful texture once dried.”
  • Finger Coils: Finger coils, or twisting hair for curls overnight, is another method that’s loved by people all over the world. This is best used for those with naturally wavy or curly hair.

Tips for Using Heatless Curlers

  • Consider Your Hair Length: Heatless curls can work for any hair length, whether you have short, medium, or long hair. For short hair, Mader says, “It’s easiest to use socks or waveforms to create a soft bend in your hair. For a bouncer curl look, use 1-inch velcro rollers to give you a barrel curl.” For heatless curls for long hair or medium lengths, she says that, “Using a silk rod will give you more of a beachy wave texture. Using velcro rollers depending on the size, will give you more of a bouncy blowout look.”
  • Start With Damp Hair: You can use heatless curl products on dry, damp, and wet hair, depending on what works best for your hair type. However, across the board, overnight heatless curlers will likely work best on damp hair. “To get the best results when creating heatless curls, I suggest doing them on damp hair,” shares Mader. “This way your hair is more malleable to form curls around the heatless curl product you decide to use.” It’s an easy follow-up to shampoo for curly hair or conditioners for curly hair, and keeps wet strands out of your face while you get good rest.
  • Prep & Set With Styling Products: Picking the right products to use in tandem with the heatless hair curler of your choosing is a must. First, make sure to use a hair brush on your locks before you begin the curling process to ensure soft ringlets. Mader suggests going in with different products for different hair types and methods. For rods, rollers, headbands, and waveforms, her top pick is Color Wow’s Dream Coat For Curly Hair because it “helps with frizz and holding curl texture.” And if you decide to go the finger coiling route, she likes using a hair mousse: “This will give your hair some extra grit to hold your curls when wrapping around your finger.” Her favorite is Unite Hair Elevate Mousse

How We Chose the Best Heatless Hair Curlers

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections.

To curate the best heatless curl products, we compared customer reviews and assessed testimonials. We also dove into market research to compare the different heatless curling methods and considered expert hair stylist insight on the best overnight heatless curlers. Additionally, our editors have tested many of these damage-free curlers and have only included options they know people will love, keeping in mind a variety of hair types, tool materials, price ranges, user-friendly functions, and more. Learn more about us here.

Meet the Expert

Becca Mader is a celebrity hairstylist and has worked with clients including Kim Kardashian, Mindy Kaling, Charly Jordan, Kristi Howard.

Meet the Author

Taylor Augustin is a freelance beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer based in Newport Beach, California. In addition to WWD, her work can be found in Teen Vogue, Byrdie, Popsugar, InStyle, Brides, and more. She interviewed experts and heavily researched heatless curl products herself for this story.

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