6 Tricks to Curl Your Hair Without a Curling Iron

Updated: Feb. 10, 2017

Try these ideas before you shell out for a new styling tool or damage it with heat.


Fabric curlers

If you’ve ever wondered how women of yesteryear got perfect pin curls without heat, rag curls are your answer. To make them, cut one-inch wide strips of fabric (the cotton from an old T-shirt will work like a charm), and roll one-inch sections of hair around the strip until your reach the root of your hair. Finish off the makeshift roller by tying the loose ends of fabric into a knot. Continue on each piece of hair and sleep on the curls overnight. Let them out in the morning for red-carpet waves. (Related: Try these home remedies for dry and damaged hair.)


Twist-and-pin curls

Achieve this simple style by twisting one-inch sections of hair and coiling them at your head. Use a bobby pin to keep each coil in place and go to bed. In the morning you’ll have tight ringlet curls when you let the spirals down. (Related: These curly hair styling tips are basically life-changing.)


Headband curls

Starting with damp or air-dried hair, pull a stretchy fabric headband around your head. Split your hair in half (to the left and right sides of your head) and begin to roll one side backwards, away from your face. Bring the rolled hair up and under the headband, so that the roll goes around the top of the headband and comes back out underneath, and repeat until that entire half of hair is twisted around the headband. Repeat on the other side’s half of hair. Sleep on this mini up-do and you’ll wake up with loose waves. (Related: These are the 38 secrets hair stylists won’t tell you.)

iStock/Olessya Laskova

Roll and pin curls

For this one, you’ll need a small arsenal of hair clips. Begin with damp hair. To form each curl, pull a one-inch section of hair away from your head and roll the hair in a loop from the tip to the root. The easiest way to keep the loop in place is to roll it around your middle and index fingers. When finished, remove your fingers from the loop and clip it in place. Wait until the curls dry and remove the clips. Because lying down on these loops will squish them, this method can be quite time-consuming. Try it on a day you haven’t got much to do, except for the event you’d like curls for.

iStock/Maria Jeffs

French braid curls

Get braided waves to start higher in your hair by making a French braid (as opposed to a regular one) and sleeping on it. The waves created by this method could look more crimped than other curling methods.

iStock/David Pereiras Villag

Sea-salt curls

This method is convenient in that you can complete it in the hour after your morning shower, but beware that the waves won’t be as defined as when using a curling iron. Start with wet hair and finger comb your strands. Allow the hair to air dry while you go through your morning routine. Before you leave, scrunch hair in an upward motion toward your head and apply a sea-salt spray. Continue to scrunch until you’ve reached the desired texture.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest