TikTok Swears By These 13 Genius Heat-Free Hair Styling Hacks

I have a confession to make: I love using hot tools to style my hair. It’s quick, it’s easy, and straighteners, curling irons, and blow-dryers deliver impressive results in a short amount of time. It’s no wonder hot tools are most people’s hairstyling method, but at the end of the day, the convenience is probably not worth the harm. Over time, heat styling can really ruin your hair, which is why I’m always on the lookout for non-heat styling hacks that actually work.

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While using your favorite flat iron or curling iron is the most popular way to achieve full-bodied, bouncy hair, too many straightener passes can be extremely detrimental. The application of heat and tension to your hair weakens the keratin in your hair and impairs its ability to retain moisture, leading to hair breakage and, of course, the dreaded (and seemingly inevitable) split ends. Thankfully, smooth and sleek curls, and even bouncy curls, are achievable without unnecessarily high temperatures.

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TikTok, or more specifically HairTok, is full of clever tips and tricks for getting fresh out of the salon without harmful heat damage. From satin hair sticks you can sleep in to heat protectant sprays that really work, these simple tips will give you HairTok-worthy hair without the scorch. Keep scrolling for all the heat-free styling tools, sprays, and accessories that TikTok swears by—all for under $30.

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Wear a curling headband to bed

Bombshell beachy waves usually require a curling iron, but this heat-free alternative method is so easy you can literally do it while you sleep. How it works is simple: place the curling iron over your head like a headband and secure with a mini claw clip. Then, take a 1 inch section of hair and wrap it around the rod. (Towel dried or damp hair works best for this.) Once each piece of hair is secured, allow hair to dry while wrapped around rod. For a more in-depth guide, watch @gabrielaxperez’s video on how to sleep your way to beachy waves, no heat required.

Ponytails for the night with ribbons

Overnight hacks work well for creating curls and waves (I’m looking at you, sock curls), but sleeping your way into straight, straight hair can be a lot harder. Thanks to @sarasaadia I found an overnight hair straightening hack that really works. First, slick your hair into a low ponytail. Then tie a ribbon around the base of your ponytail and wrap the ribbon all the way down to the end of your hair and secure it at the top of your ponytail with a hair tie. While this technique won’t completely straighten your hair, it will create a straighter style overnight.

Twist hair for a heat-free blowout

Nothing beats a fresh blowout from the salon, except maybe waking up to one. These secure clips make that possible. Taking a note from @audreyvictora_’s heat free blowout video, start by tying towel dried hair into a high ponytail. Cut off a few one- to two-inch sections, roll them up into small buns, and wear them overnight. In the morning, remove the clips for nice, bouncy, heat-free blowout results.

Combat frizz with silk hair ties

Another way to keep the heat away from your hair is to increase the time between styling sessions. To get the most out of your blowout, try twisting your hair into a bun and securing it with a silk scrunchie before bed. TikTok user @brubinich demonstrates how simple and effective this method is, and her results are stunning. Silk hair ties work because silk limits friction — also known as frizz — between strands. With over 1,300 5-star reviews, this pack of three silk hair scrunchies will hold hair in place without tugging.

Add texture with heat-free crimping pliers

The internet is full of tutorials on how to get heat-free curls, but these colorful streaks will help you achieve a frizzy, retro style. Yes, they look a bit intimidating, but I promise they’re incredibly easy to use. In fact, one five-star reviewer said she could apply an entire set in under 30 minutes. If the countless TikTok videos don’t convince you (@sariasaadio’s video is my favorite), then take my word for it. I tried these viral crimpers myself and couldn’t believe the results.

Trade your diffuser for a t-shirt

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you don’t need a bunch of fancy tools to achieve fabulous heat-free hair. In fact, you can use things lying around your house, including old t-shirts, in a method popularized by TikTok user @mypawfectfamily. The first step is to take an old t-shirt and roll it into a log shape. Then connect each end with a hair tie. After it’s attached, it should form a circle. Place the circle on your head and wrap 1 inch strands of hair around it. You can use dry or damp strands, but damp hair creates the best definition. To keep your hair moist while you work, use a spray bottle like this highly rated one from Amazon.

Extend your style with dry shampoo

Another way to extend the time between shampooing and heat styling is to mist your hair with dry shampoo. Dry shampoo helps absorb excess oil around the root, leaving your hair looking fresh even if you’ve been wearing the same style for a few days. This Garnier Fructis dry shampoo uses rice starch to absorb grease and has a beachy scent. Make sure to hold the bottle at least 6 inches from your scalp when spraying to avoid white streaks on your hair, and check out this video by @lindsaymariecolor on TikTok showing how to work the powder in without disrupting your work.

Style your hair with a headscarf

Sometimes, no matter what you try, your hair won’t cooperate. If all else fails, try tying your hair up in a silk headscarf. A printed pattern adds a stylish touch to your outfit and camouflages oil or frizz you don’t want on the go. Not sure how to tie it properly? @karenbritchick can show you how.

Define curls with a double-ended brush

Calling all curly girls! Next wash day, try incorporating a double-ended brush into your hair routine. The heavily bristled side breaks up knots without damaging delicate strands, while the less bristled side defines and shapes. @Hermela_solomon applies mousse directly to the brush and the result is frizz-free, shapely curls without the help of a diffuser or flat iron.

Use hair oil for second day shine

Applying hair oil to hair on day two may seem counterintuitive, but using oil instead of heat really works. In addition to moisturizing, nourishing oils also add shine, especially to curly hair. Verb’s hair oil promises shine without weighing hair down. One of the 4,000+ five star reviewers swears by this oil for her curls. “It eliminates that crunchy feeling and tames any frizz,” she says. Pro tip: spritz dry shampoo on your roots for an extra freshening effect and watch @brookethestylust’s video for an easy touch-up on day two.

Increase the volume with rollers

Due to their versatility, hair rollers are an important must-have in a no-heat styling routine. They can be used to extend the longevity of your curls or add some bounce to the ends of an otherwise straight hairstyle. (@elissakincade explains exactly how to use the rollers for a bouncy blowout look in this TikTok video.) To add some extra body without heat damage, section off the top layer of your hair and let these sections air dry. I love this particular roller set for its different sizes, clips, teasing comb and affordable price.

If you want straight hair without having to pull out your flat iron, it’s important to take care of your hair the right way. Sleeping on cotton or linen pillowcases can rub against your hair while you sleep, which in turn leads to unwanted fluff. Silk, on the other hand, is smoother and using a silk pillowcase is a great way to preserve your hairstyle. Check out @joannaleachen’s video for more benefits of sleeping on a silk pillowcase.

If using headbands, ribbons, and t-shirts seems like too much work, fret not. You don’t need any special instruments to achieve heat-free hairstyles. Instead, try braiding your hair before bed. A single braid results in the loosest waves, and multiple braids, like the one in @briciaemilyn’s heat-free styling video, result in tighter, smaller waves. This method is not only super convenient but also super accessible. For even more definition, apply mousse to your hair before braiding.

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