TikTok Is in Love With Heatless Curls, so I Tried 3 Popular Techniques
I might be a millennial, but that doesn't mean I'm immune to the Gen Z obsession with TikTok. In fact, I scroll through it often (admittedly too often). Still, it's not a total waste of time. In fact, sometimes it's the opposite. As a beauty editor, I consider it research. With so many good tips, tricks, and product recommendations going around, it's actually somewhat productive. For example, I found my new favorite blush thanks to TikTok.
Lately, I've been seeing so many TikToks detailing different methods for achieving heatless curls. As more people become concerned with their hair health, it only makes sense they're turning to heat-free, and thus damage-free, styles. Count me in.
To be fair, I was familiar with heatless curls ever since Who What Wear's Editorial Director Kat Collings tried a heatless hair hack. But since then, the number of methods has exploded. Truly—there seem to be a million different ways to achieve heatless curls. So as any good beauty editor would do, I scoured the platform to find the three most popular methods, and then I tried them on my own hair. Keep scrolling to see which heatless curl method worked the best (and which one I probably won't try again).
Technique #1: The Sock Method
The first technique I tried was the sock method. It involves putting your hair in two pigtails, putting the toe end of a sock through each one, and wrapping your hair around it. When your hair is all wrapped up around the sock, you take the bottom portion and flip it up and over to keep everything secure while you sleep. Here's a visual guide.
I decided to do this one right after getting out of the shower when my hair was still damp and my chemical peel was doing its thing on my face and neck (hence the redness in my skin). Once I had my hair all set, I went to bed and slept with it overnight. It was surprisingly comfortable to sleep on, and it stayed secure until 7 a.m. the next morning.
I had such high hopes for this one because I'd seen how bouncy and perfect it made other people's hair on TikTok, but it didn't work for mine. Sure, it gave it some texture, but it also left a big dent in my hair and kind of just looked like I had bedhead. I wasn't a fan. I'm not sure if it was the way I wrapped my hair around the sock, how fine and, well, dentable my hair is, or the fact that the sock didn't let my hair completely dry by the next morning. Either way, it didn't work for me. That being said, I think if you have thicker hair and you let it dry until it's just a little bit damp, it might work.
This technique isn't called the sock method for nothing.
Before wrapping my hair around each sock, I brushed it out to prevent tangles from getting in the way.
I used hair oil to smooth my ends before wrapping them up in the socks. I've been loving this one lately.
Technique #2: The Scrunchie Method
The second technique I tried was the scrunchie method. This involved parting my hair into four different sections (two on top and two on bottom). Then, I tied my hair into a scrunchie, wrapping the lengths around the band to create a tight curl pattern. Here's a visual guide. (Instead of using claw clips to secure the scrunchies, I used duckbill clips because that made it easier for me to sleep comfortably).
I didn't know what to expect with this one, but when I took out the scrunchies the next morning, I was delightfully surprised to find tight curls with lots of volume. It was giving me a Studio 54 disco vibe, and I loved it. I pulled it back into a half-up style with a claw clip, added a spritz of hair spray, and I was out the door. I'll definitely be trying this technique again.
If I had four of the same scrunchies to use, I feel like it would have helped the curl pattern to be more consistent. You live and you learn, right?
I used these budget-friendly duckbill clips to secure the scrunchies as close to my scalp as possible.
I styled my curls by pinning them back in a half-up style with a mini claw clip. It was giving '70s/'80s vibes.
Some texture spray helped keep my curls fluffy and defined.
Technique #3: The Heatless Curl Kit
The third technique I tried was my favorite for an everyday look. It was also the least DIY of the bunch because it involves using a heatless curls kit. The kit comes with a silk cushion to wrap your hair around, two scrunchies to secure the ends, and a claw clip to secure the top. Here's a visual guide.
Again, I decided to do this post-shower when my hair was already damp. I started by clipping the cushion at the front of my hair with a claw clip. Then, I took pieces of my hair and started wrapping them around it until I got to the end, which is when I secured each side with the included scrunchies.
I actually didn't sleep with this one overnight. Maybe it's because of my fine hair, but I found that the cushion kept slipping when I would try to lie down. So, instead, I kept it in my hair for a few hours while I binge-watched a show on Netflix and cleaned up my apartment. When my hair was completely dry, I removed the cushion to see gorgeous, low-effort waves. I was in love with how my hair looked; so much so, that this is officially my favorite heatless curl method. Again, a touch of shine spray and a spritz of hair spray and I was done. Success.
Here's the exact kit I used. Scrunchies and a claw clip are included.
This shine spray gives my hair a glossy, just-left-the-salon look.
I wanted this style to stick around for as long as possible, so I also added some dry shampoo to my roots.
- Explore More:
- Hair Health