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How to curl hair without heat

Curly hair looks outstanding in any hairstyle, hair color and length, but hot curling tongs and prolonged use of a blow dryer can damage hair. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish curly results with tools that are not expensive and harmless. Learn how to create tight curls, vintage curls, natural waves, and big waves using simple and affordable techniques.

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T-shirt method for tight curls

Wash and adjust your hair as you normally would. Gently comb through tangles, then absorb the water with a soft towel. Do not use lotion or put in a conditioner.

Cut a T-shirt into long strips. Starting at the neck, use a pair of scissors to cut all the way down. Continue cutting and try to cut as many long strips as possible on the top of the t-shirt. Discard the sleeve part, as it is too short.
Set the width of the long strips to the amount of curl you want. For a slight roll, make it only 2.5cm wide; for a larger, looser roll, make it 7.5cm wide.
If you don’t have an old t-shirt, you can use stockings, dishcloths, other fabrics or even paper bags. Just make sure the length of the long strip is more than 10cm longer than your hair.

Curl your hair. Use a comb to separate your hair into smaller sections. Hang a long strip of T-shirt on the end of your hair. Curl your hair up towards the roots, keeping the t-shirt length in place throughout the process. Once you have curled your hair and the long strip is stretched to your scalp, tie the end of the long head to keep the curls firmly in place.
If you only want to curl the ends, stop the curl in the middle of your head and tie the long strip where you want the curl to stop.
Curl your hair downward, not upward, because the curl will be better toward your neck so it doesn’t pop outward.

Let your hair dry. Wait a few hours, or go to bed and leave your hair tied in long strips. When your hair is completely dry, loosen the long strips and relax your hair. This one step needs to be gentle if you want tight curls. For looser curls, comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb to create waves.

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The turban method for vintage curly hair

Wash and adjust your hair as you normally would. If you’ve already washed it recently, you’ll simply wet your hair. Use a towel to absorb the moisture.

Wrap your hair around the bandana. Choose a soft, stretchy bandana, the kind that loops your head so that your hair doesn’t fall out of your face. Working in several sections, wrap your hair around the bandana, using bobby pins to stabilize it. Continue until all of your hair is wrapped inside the bandana.

Let your hair dry. Take the bandana to bed with you so that your hair has time to dry completely. To speed things up, use the cool setting on your hair dryer to blow air in over your hair.

Remove the bandana and shake your head. Remove the bobby pins and let down your curls. Continue until your hair is completely loose. Apply a little mousse and some styling spray to keep your hair in sweet, retro curls.

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Weave with natural waves

Wash and adjust your hair as usual. Use a towel to absorb the moisture.

Braid your hair into two braids. Part your hair down the middle, tighten it into two braids on either side, and tie the ends with a hair band or rubber band.
For a more natural look, use your fingers to gently pull the braid to the sides and relax the hair slightly.
For loose looking waves, try using one braid tied in the back instead of splitting it into two parts.
For tighter curls, divide your hair into three or four sections and braid each section.

Let your hair dry. Wait a few hours or sleep with your braids in place.

Loosen the braids. When your hair is dry, remove the rubber band and untwist the braid. Gently loosen the braid with your fingers to create natural waves.

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Sock wrap method for big waves

Prepare the socks. Cut off the toe part of the crew socks (about 4cm). Roll the socks into a circular shape.

Brush your hair back. Start with dry hair for this method. Brush your hair back into a high ponytail and tie it tightly with a hair band. Lightly spray water on the ponytail to help set the wave.

Set the sock in place. Grab the end of the ponytail and place it inside the sock hole. Roll all sections of hair into the outside of the circle, with the ends firmly tucked into the bottom. When rolled to the top of the head, the bun should be stabilized in the right position.

Leave it tied like this overnight. 6-8 hours later remove the sock and ringlets. Gently run your hands through your hair to relax the waves.


Avoid brushing your hair after styling. This will separate the curls and make the hair look messy and frizzy. You should gently use your hands to relax the curls, which look more voluminous.
Be patient! Wait at least 6 hours before letting your hair down.
Braid your hair depending on how tight/loose you want the waves to be.
If you have a lot of hair, it’s best to just braid your hair into six braids, then braid them into three, then one.
For frizzy hair, use an anti-frizz lotion to style it.
For straight hair, use mousse or other styling products to help finish the curls/waves before you style. Stylers can be used after styling to keep the waves and curls in shape.

Another way to curl your hair is to find a stiff bracelet, such as a leather bracelet, and curl a handful of hair through the bracelet. You can hold the rest of the hair or pin it on your head (it helps if the hair is wet).
For shoulder length hair, oily hair, or pulled hair, blow dry or use a flat iron. Use it on all hair. Spray lightly to make the curl stay longer.
When braiding your hair, make sure your hair is 100% dry. If your hair is a little wet, the waves won’t even hold. Spray on a dry shampoo and styling agent to keep the waves tight. Do this the night before, and for best results, go to bed like this, or go a few hours earlier. Another method requires the use of a straightener and high temperature pressing of the braid after it has been braided.

You will need to have
Hair clips
Wide tooth comb
Mousse, styler, anti-frizz lotion and/or other styling products (optional)
Clean crew cut socks

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