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Ask Belle: No Heat Damage Curls

Hi Bell!

My hair is pretty straight and I would love to be able to wear it curly sometimes, but I don’t like using heat on my hair.  I thought about trying rollers anyway, but my hair is just too brittle.  Do you have a solution for no hear curls, maybe, possibly, pretty please? 

Thanks! Kenzie

If you’re concerned about damaging your hair with heat, you should be using a heat protector.  I like Wella’s Thermal Image ($15) heat protectant spray.  It doesn’t weigh hair down but offers excellent heat protection.  It also doesn’t smell like a toxic cloud, a rarity.  Just spray a bit on dry hair before curling.

If you don’t use too much heat, even the addition of a leave-in conditioner will help.  I like the It’s a 10 brand.  The spray is $30 for a full-size, so I recommend picking up the travel-size to see if you like it before you commit.

Still looking for no-heat curls?  I own a set of Curl Formers, for when I want truly curly hair.  It takes a little practice to master using them, but they work really well.  Just dampen (dampen, not wet, wet is a disaster) your hair, and set your hair in the curling tubes.  They’re soft, so like to sleep on them, for a long-lasting curl.  But if you’re in a rush, just hit them with the blow dryer until they are bone dry.  Spritz with a beach spray for texture and a bit of hair spray for hold, and you’re all set.

Looking for another method?  Makeup Wearables offers a tutorial that involves twisting the hair around a rag.  This tutorial also uses rags and looks a lot like the way my college roommate used to twist up her hair.

If anyone has other methods to recommend, please leave them in the comments.



  1. Jenn says:

    I was just in a stage show set in the 1940s and had to curl my hair for every performance. Now, I tried hot rollers but my hair started feeling crispy pretty quickly, so I found this tutorial: https://bygumbygolly.com/2011/09/how-i-do-late-30searly-40s-sponge/
    I found that I could use dry hair, mist it lightly with water and use styling foam, set it in rollers, use Tasha’s trick to avoid curler dents in the front, and let it sit for 1-2 hours. Sometimes I’d hit it with a blow dryer for a couple minutes, but often I didn’t. I ended up with bouncy, 1940s-style curls that lasted until I got my hair wet again. I could come home from work, set my hair, and it would be ready by 7:30 for an 8pm show. On weekends, I’d let it sit longer, but it didn’t make much difference.

    May 19, 2015/Reply
  2. B says:

    It’s a 10 is the best product ever. I have thick, stick straight that It’s a 10 actually gives a little body and shine too. And it makes hair so much easier to brush in the morning. Get it with a big CVS coupon and it’ll make the price a lot easier to swallow.

    May 19, 2015/Reply
  3. J says:

    How about good old fashioned pin curls? Lots of different methods out there, but it’s easy enough to wrap wet hair into few (or many) little spirals right out of the shower, pin them in place (I find two bobby pins crossing eachother works well) and letting them air dry. You can even sleep on them! Depending on the size you make them and how much you comb/brush/finger-brush them, you can get anything from tight, Shirley Temple ringlets to 40’s perm to big starlet waves.

    May 19, 2015/Reply
  4. Lisa says:

    Headband curls. No heat, just need a soft headband! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rdfgu3zqY4&feature=player_embedded

    May 19, 2015/Reply
  5. Rachel B says:

    I have stick straight hair, but using the rag method or the foam stick curlers from the drugstore overnight give me curls that last all day. I only use hot tools when I’m in a rush. I’ve found that I need to wrap tightly (not painfully tight but enough that it is secure), to reduce frizz. If I want a more gentle curl, I need to use a thicker sock or rag. YouTube tutorials can be very helpful here.

    May 19, 2015/Reply
  6. Stacy says:

    I have stick straight hair that didn’t hold a curl very well until I found the Caruso Steam Roller set. https://www.amazon.com/Caruso-C97953-Molecular-Hairsetter-Rollers/dp/B0002JKPB8
    The under $40 set has 30 foam rollers in five sizes (six of each size). I typically just use the Jumbo rollers for a loose curl and some volume. I use them daily. It takes about 5 minutes to roll my hair and I leave the rollers in anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The curl lasts all day with no damage to my hair. I did buy a set of large claw clips to use instead of the clips that come with the set to eliminate “curler dent.”

    May 19, 2015/Reply