Because mechanical heat stroke is a thing!
It’s nice to give our strands a break from the blow-dryer every now and again, especially if you’ve been putting your hair through the wringer lately. We know what you’re thinking: There’s slim to no chance of you parting with your trusty tools. But just in case you were wondering how to get wavy hair without heat (and if it even was possible), it’s good to remind ourselves that our foremothers didn’t always have fancy ionized blowdryers, ceramic-plated flat irons or triple-pronged curling wands to help them get the glamorous looks they sported during their time.
With heat-less curling methods, the right product and a good amount of setting time, you’ll find your hair is more manageable and super easy to create. The best rule of thumb: The dryer your hair is when you unfurl, the wavier.
We run through three of our favorite ways how to get wavy hair without the use of heat. Read on:
How to Get Wavy Hair Without Heat
1. With Pin Curls
One of the most popular hairstyles during the 1940s, pin curls were a favorite among women who had to make do with World War II-rationed hair products—some even relied on sugar water to set their curls in place. Luckily for us, we now have the best hair products on hand to achieve this structured curl, as well as a few key hair accessories. And it doesn’t take that long to prep!
What you’ll need: volumizing mousse, duckbill/darby clips
Step 1: Start with damp hair that’s at least 90 percent dry—wet hair will not hold a wave or curl at all. Run a ping pong ball-sized pouf of mousse, like TRESemmé Flawless Curls Extra Hold Mousse (less if you have shorter hair) onto your entire head, distributing evenly throughout strands.
Step 2: Divide hair into vertical sections for a wavier look. They don’t have to be perfectly even. If you want a curlier look, make horizontal sections.
Step 3: Start rolling one section away from your face with your index finger (some find it easier to begin near the temples or hairline), curling inward and even looping twice or thrice around the finger if hair is longer. Secure in place with a duckbill or darby clip, checking that the bottom prong is against your scalp and the upper prong is holding the curl in place.
Step 4: Repeat the process on all sections until you’ve pinned your entire head, from one side to the back and all the way to the opposite side. Don’t stress about making the curls perfect or uniform—randomness is cool!
Step 5: Go about your business until your hair is fully dry, or for about two hours.
Step 6: Release clips and gently shake out your curls, aligning the waves for a truly retro vibe.
2. With a Twist-Braid
The twist-braid is one of the simplest plait variations out there. As the name suggests, it essentially just takes roping two sections of hair around each other till you reach the end. Popular for being one of the easiest bedtime-set curling methods, it’s a fast and furious way of when you want to know how to get wavy hair first thing in the morning.
What you’ll need: Setting/prepping spray, hair ties, hairspray
Step 1: Start with damp hair, or spritz on some texturizing spray such as Bed Head by TIGI Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray all over the lengths and ends to moisten strands before you begin. This gives the bends some structure when you unfurl them in the morning.
Step 2: Part your hair into two main sections. Split the first section, which is closest to your temple, into two. This is where your first twist will anchor.
Step 3: Begin by putting one lock above the other. By the second twist, grab a new lock behind your current sections—like when you’re French braiding—and do the same till you’ve reached your nape (and run out of sections to grab). By now you’ll just be twisting the two original sections together till the tips, and then creating a cinnamon bun over your ear. Secure with a hair tie.
Step 4: Repeat the process on the opposite side. This style is cute enough to wear outdoors, but if you’re sleeping on it, make sure the buns are secure—they tend to unfurl in the middle of the night.
Step 5: Gently uncoil your buns in the morning and shake off the twists. Flip your hair over a few times for some lift and set with some hairspray like Nexxus Styling Maxximum Finishing Mist, to keep away the frizzies and flyaways.
3. With Pigtail Braids
What you’ll need: Setting spray, hair ties, shine spray
Step 1: Start with damp or product-prepped hair, such as with TRESemmé Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream applied on the lengths. Part hair into two pigtail-worthy sections.
Step 2: Divide your first section into three locks and begin your French or Dutch braid. Grab more hair as you go towards your nape. Continue past the neckline and proceed to braid all the way till the ends. Secure with a hair tie and repeat the braiding process on the other side.
Step 3: Pancake your braids—gently tug them to widen the plait—for looser, sexier beach waves. Leave to set until hair is dry, or for a couple of hours.
Step 4: Remove the hair tie and shake the braids loose, tousling as you go. Apply some shine spray, like Bed Head by TIGI Headrush, for extra glisten.