Overnight Heatless Curls Are Easier Than You Think

You get a blowout and beauty sleep.

A blonde woman, Amanda Seyfried, with voluminous curly hair.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you like hair that's big, bouncy, and ultimately done, overnight heatless curls are the way to go. As the name suggests, the method require absolutely no heat—which means zero heat damage. They can also be created with tools you have at home. A shiny brand new curling iron is fun, but so is finding an ingenious use for the belt of your old bathrobe.

Years ago, hairstylist Xion Albert began testing overnight heatless curls methods with long socks (a great budget option), but he recently discovered new innovations like plush silk rollers or expertly designed hair ties to be great options too. Ahead, Albert and other styling experts share all the insight you need to create your own perfect overnight heatless curls with socks, bathrobes, foam rollers, and even some of those fancy kits you've seen all over TikTok. Sweet dreams—your ringlets will greet you in the morning.

How to Get Overnight Heatless Curls

While heatless curls are wonderful if you're trying to protect your hair from heat damage, it'll take some trial and error to find a heatless curl method that's comfortable for you. Side sleepers have found luck with a more front to back (or "unicorn") form created with a curl rod, and sometimes swapping a plush robe belt for a thick heatless curling set can do just the trick.

Regardless of the method you choose, it's key to start with clean hair. "If your hair is oily or full of product build-up, it will not work so well," share Inessa & Alina Vike (you might know them online as @theviketwins and have probably seen their heatless blowout tutorials on your For You Page). "After you take your hair out, spray it with non-sticky hairspray. This way your hair is locked in and gives you volume."

Another thing to consider? Your hair's moisture level. "If some sections of the hair are too wet or uneven, you can end up with seriously messy waves," adds Tara Simich, founder of Mermade Hair. If you're someone who can't get your damp hair to dry nicely, she suggests working with dry hair and applying an even, light spritz all over with a styling spray product like Mermade's Styling Primer. "This will really help add hold and structure to the hair fibers for longer lasting curls with just the right amount of moisture," notes the expert.

Here, you'll find nine editor-approved methods for heatless curls.

The Sock Method for Overnight Heatless Curls

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Sometimes, the tool you need for heatless curls are at home in your drawer. TikTok is absolutely full of videos touting the sock method for overnight heatless curls, in which you wrap your hair tightly around two (or four!) tube socks.

Albert notes that you should make sure your hair is a little damp before you put your "curlers" in. Once its sectioned the way you like it, secure a sock at the top of your head with bobby pins or a claw clip. Taking one section, begin twisting hair around the sock from both the front and the back (it'll feel like you're braiding), adding more hair with each wrap. When you've made it to the bottom, secure the sock with a scrunchie and get started on the other sections.

Once you're ready to take them out, secure with a finishing spray. "When it comes to styling your hair, the curls, the style, everything will hold effortlessly. Don’t be shy with the products either—spray her on there," says Albert.

Rope Braids for Overnight Heatless Curls

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If beach waves are on your vision board, look no further than rope braids for your overnight heatless curls. For this, you don't need any special tools—just follow the same damp hair protocol. Section hair into two to four parts and begin to French braid with a twist, one piece on top of the other and as tight as you can stand it. When all the hair you want in the section is gathered, keep twisting all the way down and secure with an elastic.

FYI: This one is a little comfier if you're a sensitive sleeper.

Pin Curls for Overnight Heatless Curls

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Celebrity hairstylist Cody Renegar is all about the classic pin curl, noting (rightfully) that "the classics always come back."

"Put two fingers at the base of your scalp, wrap a small lock of hair around the curler, and then do a crisscross with your bobby pins and sleep on it," he explains. "Do this throughout your hair. The more sections you take, the bigger your hair and the bigger the curl will be."

A woman puts makeup on with curlers in her hair.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bending Rods for Overnight Heatless Curls

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Bending or flexi rods are one of the most popular heatless curl products on the market because it's one of the easiest methods to learn.

To begin, decide how spiral-y you want your curls—the smaller the rod, the tighter they'll be. Section damp hair and begin wrapping a chunk of hair around the bottom of the rod, working your curl up from there until you reach the root. When you're done, bend the ends of the rod in to keep it from slipping off and continue around the rest of your head.

Foam Rollers for Overnight Heatless Curls

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Ahh, foam rollers. Though not the comfiest option (those plastic clips can do a number on you in the night) they're oh-so nostalgic and quite easy to tackle. Simply section hair and roll your strands up into the roller before securing.

The Scrunchie Method for Overnight Heatless Curls

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Celebrity hairstylist Davontae' Washington figured out a method for heatless curls that is my go-to. "One of my favorite ways to create heatless curls involves a loose scrunchie and bobby pins," he shares. "And the best part? It only takes a few minutes!"

Start with clean, damp hair, smoothing your locks into a high ponytail and placing the loose scrunchie around the base (don't twist it to make it tight as you'll leave a dent). Next, brush a wave or curl product through (Washington recommends milk_shake Lifestyling Amazing Curls & Waves Curl Refresher Spray, and I'm a big fan of Oribe's Curl Control Silkening Crème).

"Once secured, take 1-2 inch sections of hair, one at at time, twirling each piece around your index finger to make a curl," explains the artist. "Keep this shape, pin and repeat this process, creating pin curls all around the base of the pony. For looser curls, take bigger sections of hair that you will wrap around your finger. I like to leave this in overnight and then when you remove and shake out in the morning, you will have bombshell curls."

P.S.—If your hair is already dry when you try this, Washington says you can simply wet it at the end by misting the pin curl creation with water.

Hair Plopping for Heatless Curls

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Some call this the T-shirt method for heatless curls, but I like plopping more. Perfect for those with naturally curly hair who are looking to cut down on frizz, the plopping method is so popular that Marie Claire has an entire guide on how to do it! Essentially, you'll need to wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel or tee, let it soak up some water, and seal the deal with a great curl product.

Special Kits for Overnight Heatless Curls

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If you're not in the mood to DIY anything, there are plenty of kits on the market that come with long hair rods, scrunchies, and everything else you need for perfect heatless curls. Even so, getting your setup right still takes a bit of studying up.

"Our favorite method for heatless curls is using a satin hair rod," share the Vike twins. "You need to learn how tightly you should wrap your hair around the satin hair rod and the best way to sleep in it without having it fall out."

How Do Heatless Curls Work?

While hot tools require heat to work their magic, heatless curls utilize your hair's natural moisture. "As the hair dries, the hydrogen bonds within the hair fibers adjust to hold the new shape," explains Simich. "This process involves the temporary restructuring of the hair's protein molecules, which helps maintain the curl pattern once the hair is dry. Depending on your hair type, some will hold really well, while others may find heatless curls don't work well and hot tools are a better option."

Who Should Try Heatless Curls?

Anyone who wants to achieve curls or more volume while keeping their hair as natural as possible is a perfect contender for heatless curls—people with weak or damaged hair can especially benefit.

You can do heatless curls on wigs and natural hair," adds Albert, who often works with luxury wig rental service WellCapped. "It’s not just for a particular group of people—you can do it on straight and curly hair."

Meet the Experts

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Davontae' Washington

Davontaé Washington, is a Los Angeles-based hairstylist. With an exceptional focus on natural hair, wigs, and hair extensions, Davontaé has become a go-to name for A-list celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and more.

Davontaé's remarkable artistry and affable demeanor have also garnered him opportunities to work with brands like OLAY, Zales, and Apple Music, in addition to contributing his expertise to notable projects including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, OWN Network, and Parkwood Entertainment.

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Tara Simich

Tara Simich is a dynamic mother, wife and serial entrepreneur based in Perth, Australia. In an effort to find an easy solution to create modern waves in the hair, Tara disrupted the hair tool industry in late 2019 with the launch of the brand Mermade Hair. Its notably pink hair tools, user-generated content, narrow product range, and hyper-relevant branding allowed Mermade to create waves across Instagram & major retailers. Mermade Hair can now be found in retailers like Sephora, Best Buy, Urban Outfitters, and Superdrug. Tara began her career studying a Bachelor of Economics & working for firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Tara is also the founder of global fitness franchise, The Jungle Body and continues to do business consulting for small to medium sized brands. 

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Cody Renegar

Cody Renegar is an independent hairdresser and celebrity hairstylist who works between both coasts. His notable clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Blythe Danner, and Carson Kressley.

Cody’s signature is a modern twist of classic style—both dry and wet cutting. He creates hair that perfectly complements his client’s features, personal style, and lifestyle with seamless layers.

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Xion Albert

Xion Albert began his beauty career in March of 2020, starting his eyelash company XLashes. In September of that year, after the successful launch of the brand, Xion transitioned into haircare and has been working hard on becoming the best hairstylist and wigmaker ever since. Xion is proud of his accomplishments and pledges to provide quality care and service to his clients.

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Inessa & Alina Vike

Alina & Inessa Vike are beauty blogger and founders of VIKE Beauty. They launched their joint Instagram account @theviketwins in 2017, where they post about makeup and hair tutorials, sharing their favorite tips. Alina and Inessa have worked with top brands in their influencing career such as Laura Mercier, YSL Beauty, Lancôme, and more. They both have a background in finance but their passion for beauty never faded. In 2019, they won the CEW Rising Influencer Award. That same year they launched their beauty brand, VIKE Beauty, at IPSY Live in New York City. They launched with a hero product, Makeup Melt, which specializes in removing makeup by spraying it off while conditioning the skin. 

Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a freelance beauty writer at Marie Claire, where she writes about the latest and greatest skincare launches, hair colors, and Cardi B manicures. Her work can also be found at Byrdie, Bravo, and Us Weekly. You can find her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.