5 Ways to Get Heatless Curls

5 Ways to Get Heatless Curls

Whether you have straight hair or natural waves, sometimes you just want beautiful curls, are we right? There are all kinds of heat styling tools out there that will get the job done, but did you know that heat can spark an unwanted chemical reaction in your hair that can lead to damage and dullness? No matter how much you crave those gorgeous curls, there are better ways to achieve the look you want without causing damage to your hair. Here’s how to get the best heatless curls, and how to take care of your curly hair.  

How Does Heat Damage Hair?

A woman getting her hair dried at a salon.

Regular exposure to high heat can cause damage to keratin, which is a protein the body produces to make hair, skin, and nails. High heat can cause this special protein to weaken and lead to split ends and breakage. Keratin actually makes up 95% of hair, which is why you really want to avoid doing damage to it, but it’s not the only way heat can cause hair damage.

Too much heat can also lead to loss of moisture. Curls that lack moisture are prone to looking dry, frizzy and damaged. And while you can use a heat protectant, curl cream or a leave-in conditioner to help hydrate your curls, there are better methods out there. Oh, and if you use color in your hair, heat can also cause it to fade more quickly. So there's yet another reason to put the curling wand away. In the long run, hot tools are no bueno for your mane. And with so many heatless alternatives, there's no reason to use them.


The Best Ways to Get Heatless Curls

A young woman using foam hair rollers

Beat the heat with these 5 fantastic ways to get heatless curls. 

Leave-In Cream

One surefire way to get popping curls is by using a leave-in cream. Protecting your hair from damage, locking in moisture, and keeping curls looking their very best, this post-shower treatment can quickly become one of the most important parts of your daily regimen. Lu's Free To Be Styling Cream defines curls and waves, prevents frizz, and helps create a defragmented look, all while nourishing your hair with moringa seed oil, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. Just scrunch into your hair and watch those curls come to life! 

Hair Rollers

While heated rollers have been used for centuries to achieve curls, it wasn’t until 1930 that Solomon Harper created the first heat-free rollers and changed the curling world forever. Make sure you select the right size for the curl you want and don’t overdo it; too much rolling can cause damage to your hair through friction. But these are definitely a kinder way to curl than using heat to define and style your hair. 


More than just a hairstyle, braiding has become an art form, showcasing the great skill of the braider and showing off the personality, history and individuality of the person being braided. But, did you know it’s a great way to give your hair curls without using heat? For the best results, braid your hair at night and sleep on it to let those heatless waves and curls take shape.

If you're looking for a relaxed wave, place your hair into a simple side braid, fasten it with a hair tie. Make sure you sleep in a hair cap overnight and try to lie on the other side to give your hair the best chance of maintaining a wavy look when you remove the hair tie in the morning.  For tight curls, boxer braids work best, while going to sleep sporting a classic French braid can having you waking up to luscious curls. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

If you want to try a DIY approach to getting curls without heat, reach into your pantry for some apple cider vinegar. This multi-purpose ingredient has been shown to close and smooth hair follicles and can help prevent an itchy scalp. Try this handy homemade rinse to give your curls some all-natural bounce. 


5 “Curling” Treatments to Avoid

A young woman at a hair salon getting her hair curled with a curling wand.

As you can see, there's no reason to apply heat if you want your curls to pop. But if you want to stick to the traditional route, we'd still recommend avoiding these hot styling tools. 

1. Hair Dryers Without Diffusers

Hair dryers are often used to add curls to hair by using a round brush or other technique. Your everyday blow dryer can reach 140° Fahrenheit, which does your hair no favors. If you really want to blow-dry, one way to minimize these harmful effects is by using a diffuser. These hair dryer attachments are designed to evenly distribute heat across more strands to alleviate heat damage, increase airflow, and have less friction than a regular hair dryer with no diffuser. The best part about using a diffuser is that it’s a surefire way to get curlier hair without having to use a brush. 

2. Curling Irons

Curling irons were first patented in 1905, so it’s no surprise we’ve moved on from this outdated technique to curl hair. Unfortunately, these devices can cause serious damage by weakening keratin strands in certain areas due to users over-applying heat on the same spot. If you’re still clinging to your curlers, put the device down and reach for something less damaging to your hair, like heatless curlers.  

3. Perms

Speaking of outdated, the '70s was a long time ago - it’s time to put the perm in a museum. Not only does the temperature during the perming process reach a blistering 176-212° Fahrenheit, but perming chemicals can cause long-lasting damage to hair. 

4. Hot Oil Treatments

Hot oil treatments can provide moisture to dry scalps and give hair a shine when applied correctly. However, curly girls who are attempting a hot oil treatment at home alone may be prone to burning their scalp and damaging hair follicles with temperatures that get too high. 

5. Heated Hair Cap

Just like hot oil treatments, placing a really hot electric cap on your head for too long can have serious implications on your hair health. If you’re going to use one at all, make sure you only use it sparingly. 

Taking Care of Curly Hair

Curly hair needs a little extra TLC, because curly hair can be prone to lack of moisture, which leads to hair damage. But that doesn't mean you should overwash your hair, because this can strip your hair of natural oils known as sebum. This important product actively lubricates hair follicles to prevent moisture loss from the scalp. The result of overwashing with low-quality products is dull and dry hair that’s way more prone to breakage and won’t have the desired curls you’re looking for. Instead, skip a few days of washing and be sure to use the right products when it is time to wash your hair.  Start with Lu's Freedom Shampoo, which was custom-formulated for all curly hair types. Next, scrunch one or two quarter-size gobs of the Freedom Conditioner. Wash it out, dry your hair with a microfiber towel, and apply the Free To Be Styling Cream to define your curls and waves while they're still damp.