10 Best Heatless Curlers, Recommended by Vogue Editors & Hair Stylists

  • Who it’s for: All hair types
  • Material: Satin charmeuse

What are heatless curlers?

“Heatless curlers are an alternative method to using hot tools to achieve curls and waves,” explains Raven Hurtado, stylist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. Compared to hot tools, “heatless curlers are less damaging to the hair, and help maintain its health,” she says.

When it comes to getting curls—which typically require heat to hold them—there are several alternatives to try. One method is using a heatless curling headband; one may also opt for a heatless curling set, heatless curlers, or wave formers.

How to do heatless curls

Each type of heatless curler comes with its own set of instructions. While some are best used in the morning—or while one is getting glammed up for an event—many deliver heatless curls overnight.

“Heatless curlers can be simple to use,” says celebrity hairstylist Joseph Maine. “Typically you just wrap your damp hair around them, secure it, and let it sit until the hair dries completely, ideally using a hold product as well. Your hair is pliable when wet—therefore it dries in the shape it was formed in while damp.” However, he warns: “The way they are wrapped and applied can require a learning curve.” As such, here are some general tips for using various types of heatless curlers:

  • If you’re using a headband: “Place it on top of the head, then clip it in place so it doesn’t move around,” Hurtado says. (Many curling headbands come with a hair clip for this very purpose.) Next, you’ll wrap your hair around the rod on each side of the head, then use silk scrunchies to hold the hair in place. “You can use a heatless curling headband during the day for a couple of hours, or leave one overnight,” Hurtado says.
  • If you’re using rods: While you could use a single silk or satin rod, most opt to curl their hair with multiple flexible rods. However many you use, wrap the hair around the rod, roll it up toward the scalp, then clamp the rod in place and let the curls set.
  • If you’re using rollers: Sponge, foam, or velcro rollers can also provide heat-free curls. Simply wrap sections of the hair around the curlers, clip them in—and prepare to wait. “You see the best results when you leave rollers in for seven to 10 hours,” Hurtado says. “They’re good for overnight use.”
  • If you’re using wave formers: You’ll need a hair hook to thread the hair into wavy, crocheted styling tools. Once the hair has been inserted, the wave formers snap into place and the curls can set.

Which hair types are heatless curlers best for?

Medium and long hair both take well to curling headbands or rollers, Maine says, specifying that medium hairs works best with medium rollers, while jumbo rollers befit a lengthier mane.Long hair and curly hair are good candidates for wave formers, Maine says. 


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