There’s almost always a viral heatless curl hack circulating on the internet. Socks, curlformers, bendy rods, headbands… women will try anything in an effort to achieve the perfect heatless curl, but the results are usually less-than-desirable. These inefficient heatless curl hacks leave us with headaches, take too long to do, and produce curls too tight for that lush, effortless look.
I understand the struggle because I’ve endured the struggle. I’m one of those women who’ve given every beauty hack out there a shot. My hair is naturally straight, but not straight enough for me to roll out of bed, brush it, and go about my day. I love the full, curly look, but those curls fall out faster than I can say “shampoo.” A few months ago, I nearly gave up on my search for a great heatless styling routine. I let out a sigh of exasperation and accepted that it was going to be messy buns for the rest of my life.
However, this heatless curl hack, which went viral on TikTok in 2020 and continues to trend in 2021, could be the one.
The “curling ribbon” is a thick, flexible rod encased in silk that comes with two scrunchies and a hair clip. It creates loose curls that frame your face and enhance volume, and it actually works. The internet is obsessed with the curling ribbon. A video of TikTok user and hair aficionado @lillyvanbrooklyn taking out her curling ribbon and showing off the luscious curls it created racked up 7 million views and more than 900,000 likes.
THEY LITERALLY LOOK LIKE MY ROLLER CURLS i’m shook. #heatlesscurls♬ Rihanna Umbrella – ???????? ?????
To use the curling ribbon, divide your hair into two sections, place the rod on top of your head, and clip it in place. Then, wrap your hair around the sides of the rod, adding more hair each time in a french braid-like fashion. Finally, secure the ends with the scrunchies. When you’re finished, your hair should resemble pigtails.
Most people who use the curling ribbon wrap their hair around the rod while it’s damp and wait a few hours for it to dry or keep it in overnight, but dry hair wrapped around the rod and kept their overnight curls as well.
It’s an easy process that takes around 6 minutes. If you have longer hair and find that the last pieces you wrap around the curling ribbon are particularly loose, you can bend the ends of the rod backward and tie them together behind your head with another scrunchie. This will look more like a crown than pigtails.
The result? Thick and bouncy curls that give your hair that flawlessly tousled look Victoria’s Secret models wear on the runway.
It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Heat Tools
The heatless curl obsession exists for a good reason- styling your hair with heat weakens it and causes breakage. High temperatures strip your hair of the natural proteins and oils that nourish it. They also increase the porosity of the hair shaft by raising hair cuticles (the protective outer layer of the hair), which makes it difficult for the hair to retain moisture.
The cost of using heat tools regularly is dull, dry hair and perpetual fly-aways. It’s a vicious cycle- once your hair undergoes that kind of damage, it seems impossible to style it well without the use of more heat tools. While conditioning treatments can help your hair appear healthy and smooth, the only true remedy to heat damage is a pair of scissors. That’s why it’s extremely important to find a go-to heatless styling method.
Heatless curls are also more durable than curls produced using heat tools. Whenever I use heat to curl my hair, the curls fall out within hours; whereas heatless curl methods keep my hair looking great until the next wash.
Where to Buy
You can get the original, trademarked curling ribbon from Heatless Hair for $42-$48. It is made of 100% silk and was featured in Vogue’s June Glam Guide.
This incredibly well-rated, 100% pure mulberry silk curling ribbon can be bought on Etsy for $32.80.
There are also curling ribbons available on Amazon for as low as $9.99.
How to DIY
It’s always a good idea to be resourceful. If you’re thrifty or want to see if you like this method before purchasing a curling ribbon, you can replicate it using items you probably already own. After all, the creator of the original curling ribbon from Heatless Hair said the concept was inspired by a DIY!
The idea for the curling ribbon product originated with the “bathrobe curls” trend, which went viral in early 2020. The bathrobe curls trend is exactly what it sounds like- you wrap your hair around the tie of a bathrobe. The bathrobe tie takes the place of the curling ribbon’s silk-encased rod. You follow all of the same steps and use your own clips, hair-ties and/or scrunchies to keep everything in place.
There are two drawbacks to the bathrobe curls method that I’m aware of.
- The thickness of the bathrobe tie will determine the size of your curls. Because the tie of a bathrobe is more soft and flexible than a rod, wrapping your hair around it will be slightly more difficult and results may be inconsistent.
2. As opposed to the silk surrounding the rod of the curling ribbon, the material of a bathrobe tie causes frizz. This is especially noticeable around the top of the head.
However, it’s worth a try if you’re frugal and always on the hunt for good heatless curl hacks like I am.
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Madison Deane is an enthusiastic writer based in North Carolina with a passion for fashion, beauty and wholesome living.