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Another day, another fashionable hair styling technique circulating all over the internet. #Heatlesscurls, which currently boasts over 5 Billion videos under the hashtag on TikTok, is the newest hair trick that everyone can’t seem to get enough of. With countless videos showcasing effortless, buoyant curls achieved without any heat (typically while sleeping), the question on everyone’s mind is, are heatless curls truly better for our hair? Before we delve into it, let’s start by grasping the link between heat styling and hair damage.
Renowned for its rapid outcomes, conventional heat styling has always had an uncertain connection with hair health. Hot tools such as curling irons, flat irons, and heated rollers employ high temperatures to alter the hair’s shape. Although effective for styling purposes, this process often results in permanent heat damage, dryness, hair breakage, and split ends over time. The potential harm caused by heat styling serves as a strong motivation for people to seek better alternatives.
Introducing the heatless curls technique, which promises luxurious curls with minimal damage. It has opened up new possibilities for attaining Hollywood-worthy curls without resorting to potential heat tool harm. Let’s examine the truths and myths surrounding heatless curls.
What are Heatless Curls?
As previously mentioned, heatless curls are a styling method that enables you to achieve curls or waves in your hair without using heat. Instead of relying on hot tools, heatless curls involve utilizing alternative approaches like braiding, flexi rods, a headband roller, or even common household items such as socks to achieve the desired curls. On TikTok, many individuals opt for the peculiar yet intriguing headband option.
According to celebrity hairstylist and master cosmetologist Tamika Gibson, the primary advantage of utilizing heatless methods instead of heat is that the former causes less damage to the hair shaft. In contrast, heat-based methods may result in damage in the long run. Brandi Voorhees, a stylist from Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger in NYC, shares the same viewpoint.
The primary advantage of curling without heat is the general well-being of your hair. Over time, heated appliances can lead to fragility, dehydration, and harm,” she states. At first glance, curls without heat do appear to offer certain hair advantages.
Should Heat-Free Ringlets Be Done on Moist or Dry Hair?
While swiftly scrolling through heat-free curl videos on TikTok, you may notice that individuals have different approaches to achieving heat-free curls, ranging from the tools and techniques used to how they prepare their hair for the curls. While Gibson suggests doing heat-free curls on moist hair for tighter curls and dry hair for looser curls, Brandi leans towards exclusively doing heat-free curls on moist hair. “Heat-free curls yield optimal results when your hair is moist and left in overnight or until completely dry,” explains Voorhees. Allowing your hair to dry while in curls typically produces a tighter, more defined appearance that lasts longer. Gibson also advises applying a leave-in conditioner or hair mousse before attempting heat-free curls for enhanced definition and hold.
It’s worth noting that damp hair and soaking-wet hair are distinctive. Sleeping with soaking-wet hair carries certain risks, such as causing the hair strands to become soft and more susceptible to breakage during sleep, as previously mentioned by board-certified dermatologist, Steven D. Shapiro, M.D.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Heat-Free Curls?
Despite their advantages, heat-free curls have potential drawbacks. Gibson mentions that the resulting curl pattern may not match that of curls achieved with heat, and exerting too much tightness when creating these curls can lead to hair damage. Voorhees reiterates the importance of being cautious about applying excessive tension during the process. “You don’t want the curls to be excessively tight and pull on the hair. This is especially true when sleeping on them, as they can cause breakage and be quite uncomfortable.” Therefore, if you tend to move around a lot during sleep, you may prefer to do heat-free curls when you can monitor the tension they exert on your hair.
Voorhees also emphasizes another often overlooked drawback—time. “One of the greatest downsides of heat-free curls is the amount of time required to achieve your desired look. For optimal results, they should be done on moist hair and left in for 3-7 hours. The hair should be completely dry before removing rod wavers, headband curlers, braids, etc., for the curls/waves to hold.” If you’re pressed for time or have low porosity hair that takes a long time to dry, heat-free curls may not be the most time-efficient solution.
Are Heat-Free Curls Healthier for Your Hair Than Heat Styling?
In terms of hair health, both Gibson and Voorhees agree that heat-free curls are generally better than heat styling. Gibson asserts, “Using heat can cause damage since it penetrates the hair shaft. Consistent penetration removes the hair’s natural oils that provide protection, leading to damage over time.” Voorhees concurs and adds, “When it comes to the health of your hair, heat-free curls are unquestionably the superior option. Although heat styling may be quicker and more effective, it can damage the hair cuticle with prolonged use.”
However, they both acknowledge that heat-free curls are not a universally applicable solution.
Gibson observes that the waves may end up looser for rough or bulky hair and recommends using smaller sections to achieve the desired wave pattern. A captivating caution that both professionals emphasize is that curls without heat can endure for a longer duration in certain situations, particularly when the hair is prepared properly with a styling/maintenance product like foam.
So, the verdict? Curls without heat can indeed serve as a more beneficial substitute for curls styled with heat, but the outcome relies on various factors, including hair texture, technique, and time commitment. Similar to any hair trend, it’s all about discovering what suits you best. Therefore, why not give the heatless approach a try and witness the outcomes for yourself? Enjoy curling!