Many people believe that if you have natural hair, particularly that which is more kinky than curly, you cannot achieve flirty curls without using heat. The lie detector test determined that was a lie.
I won’t pretend that kinky hair is easy to curl. However, I do believe that with a few added steps, curls can be achieved using tools such as curlformers, flexi rods, magnetic rollers, and perm rods.
In this post, I outline four heat free ways to curl natural hair as well as give tips to maximize results.
- Style on damp hair because styling wet hair (although the hold is much greater) will result in shrinkage and less volume. Also, a common complaint from naturals who style on wet hair is that it never dries in time. Don’t set yourself up for failure. I want you to win.
- Style on clean hair because your styling aid will be more effective on clean hair. Also, it is difficult to moisturize dirty hair because moisture can’t get in. Wetting your hair to moisturize it will cause your hair to revert and the goal is to go as long as you can without having to remoisturize.
- Use mousse, gel, or some type of product that boasts holding power because you want the style to last.
- Thoroughly detangle and smooth hair before applying curling tool because if you don’t detangle, when you separate the curls, you’ll see that your hair meshed together. I think this applies more to those with kinkier hair like mine. This is why I don’t style of freshly washed hair because there’s just no way I can detangle my hair enough. I prefer to braid my hair up after I wash it. Allow it to dry and stretch and then style it the next day.
- Use smaller sections because your curls will be more defined. The bigger the section, the less likely it is to dry and even if it dries, separating sections can cause frizz.
When Curlformers were first introduced, many naturals rushed to try them. For some people Curlformers are manna from heaven, but others find them to be a waste of time. I’ve tried Curlformers once on damp hair and it did not work. At all. However, when I tried using them on wet hair, I got a very nice curl with little frizz.
In the videos below, YouTubers Strawberricurls and iknowlee show what products they used and the results they got using Curlformers. Naptural85 recently did a video comparing and contrasting Curlformers and the Vakind Magic Leverage Hair Curlers (which cost way less). Apparently, there aren’t many differences between the two.
I have a love/hate relationship with flexi rods because, while they help achieve some of the sexiest ringlets, you have to apply them perfectly to ensure you get the results you want. Furthermore, it takes me a long time to apply them and they’re super uncomfortable to sleep in. The first time I tried flexi rods, I twisted my hair first because for some reason, I didn’t think my hair would produce a curl. I recommend doing this if you don’t necessarily want ringlets, but enjoy the stretching power of flexi rods.
The second time I tried them, I wrapped my hair around the rods without twisting first and I actually got good results. Read: My First Flexi Rod Set on My Natural Hair to see what I used.
When I returned natural, I considered throwing away my magnetic rollers because I thought I would have no use for them. The only reason I kept them was because I was off to school and I left them home. I basically forgot they existed. But CharyJay‘s video below is proof that getting rid of them would have been a mistake because her roller set looks gorgeous. I even put her video in my favorite natural hair videos playlist. (Yes. I sit and watch and videos I like over and over, especially if the video production is great.)
The second video below features NaturalMetra showing curls you can achieve using bigger rollers. I don’t mean to seem like a debbie downer, but if I was to use magnetic rollers on my hair, I would use the smaller ones because I don’t want my feelings hurt y’all. NaturalMetra’s hair appears to get straighter than mine without heat so I would not expect the results that she got. I know my hair and she will side eye me so hard it’s not even funny. If I don’t blow my hair out first, it’s not happening.
Perm rods are another curling tool you can use to achieve heat free curls. I tried using perm rods once and I did get lovely curls, however the “bumps” on the rods stuck to my hair while I was taking them down. Some of my hair actually came out during that process so I recommend being very careful when doing this. It could be because of the product I used.
In the video below CharyJay shows how she achieved bomb curls using perm rods. I think I’ve watched this video at least twenty times.
Curls are flirty and sexy. Naturally kinky, curly, and coily hair is the most versatile hair texture because it can be rocked in so many ways. Don’t let having natural hair prevent you from trying different hairstyles. Your hair is an asset not a liability.
One thing I must is say is that setting your hair takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if your roller set doesn’t come out good the first time…or the second time…or the third. Stick with it. It will get better. If it doesn’t get better, evaluate your method and make changes.