Many women love the look of a fresh blowout or silky straight strands that have passed through a straightener. There’s no denying it: Heat styling can make your hair look great (for a while). But the high heat can really do a number to the health of your hair, especially over time.
While you may love your heat styling tools, there are plenty of heatless hairstyles that look just as (if not more) chic. Give your hair a bit of a break from the heat and try one (or all) of these great hairstyles instead.
Healthy Hair Care: Skip The Heat For Dry And Damaged Hair Strands
Why are more and more women deciding to go heatless? One reason is the time you save by allowing your hair to dry naturally. That, and some styles, like beach waves, are actually easier to attain without heat. But, as mentioned, likely the biggest reason why you may want to give heat styling a break is for the health of your hair.
Here are some potential downsides of heat styling:
- Heat styling may affect the color of dyed hair.
- Heat styling may dry your hair out.
- Some heat styling techniques, like straightening, can break down your hair’s fiber proteins.
- Heat styling may cause surface damage to your hair.1,2
- Applying heat with a curling iron might damage the hair cuticle.3
- Regular heat styling could damage hair follicles, which may lead to hair loss.
- Frequent straightening might lead to more frizz.4
Heat styling damage is irreversible.5 To avoid issues, you may want to take a break from the blow dryer as often as you can. And with so many quick and easy options for heat-free styling, you may find that gorgeous heatless style is easy to attain.
Prepare Your Hair For A Heatless Style
When you choose to go heatless, you’ll typically let your hair air dry before you style it. Just because you’re allowing your hair to dry on its own doesn’t mean that you have to end up with a flat, styleless mess. Here are a few ideas of products to apply and methods to try for air-dried hair.
- For Very Thick, Straight Hair: Prep your hair with an air dry product spray, twist it into four buns on top of your head, and hold them in place with U-shaped pins. The next morning, remove the pins to reveal soft, wavy hair.
- For Fine Hair: Wash your hair with products made for fine hair, wrap your hair in a terry cloth towel or t-shirt to absorb excess moisture, and remove the wrap when your hair is 50% dry. Try not to brush it or touch it after you remove the towel to avoid frizzy hair.
- For Fine, Curly Hair: Scrunch a curling styling lotion into wet hair and try not to touch it until your hair is dry. When it has air dried, flip it over and spray a volumizing spray to the roots to add volume.
- For Thick, Coarse, Naturally Curly Hair: Apply a deep-conditioning treatment in the shower before you even start styling. When you step out of the shower, apply a moisturizing curling cream and let it air dry.
- For Thick And Poofy Hair: Gently blot your hair with a towel, spray on a leave-in conditioner, and comb the bottom half of your hair. From there, you can let it dry or pile it on your head in a loose bun to help give it volume.
- For Kinky Curls: After washing, coat your hair with a moisturizing cream mixed with hair oil. Section off your hair, and twist it into two-inch sections, allowing each to air dry before you take them down.
- For Straight Hair: For a beach wave look, mist damp hair with salt spray, divide it into two or four sections, and loosely braid each section. Allow braids to dry before removing hair elastics. To keep it straight, blot hair dry, apply a volumizing spray to the roots, and comb a styling cream through your hair.6,7,8
Once your hair has air dried to perfection, go out and enjoy your day or try one of these fun heatless hairstyle ideas.
7 Heatless Hairstyles To Try This Year
1. The High Ponytail
This style seems like it should be easy, but bumps, lumps, and flyaways can make it deceptively difficult. Here’s how to pull off the perfect high ponytail style.
Works for: long, thick, straight or wavy hair
- Pull your hair back in alignment with your cheekbones and hold it there with an open hand.
- Using hairspray and a bristle brush, smooth your hair back into the ponytail.
- For a high, bouncy ponytail, secure your hair with two elastics.
- Hide the hair elastics with a small section of hair or skinny braid taken from underneath the ponytail. Pull it out, wrap it around the hair elastic, and secure it with pins.
- Tease the ponytail in an upward motion, applying hairspray as you go.
- Apply hairspray to your hand and smooth flyaways.9
2. A Half-Up Braided Crown
Braided crowns are cute, bohemian and (best of all) quick and easy to pull off. This is one of those hairstyles for short hair that also looks great on long hair.
Works for: Any length, wavy or curly hair
- Start with wavy hair.
- Grab a section of top hair closest to your face, divide into three smaller sections.
- Braid this section by passing the strands underneath. The right section goes under the middle, then the left goes under the middle, and so on. As you braid, incorporate strands from the top layer of your hair.
- When your braid goes beyond your ear, stop adding new hair.
- Pin the braid in place temporarily while you braid the other side.
- When the other side is braided, tie the braids together behind your head with a clear hair elastic.
- Go back and loosen the braids in front to give it a slightly messy, carefree look.
- Pull out a few strands to frame your face.10
3. The Messy Bun
The messy bun is an easy, low-maintenance weekend look that can also look chic for dressier occasions. Here’s how to pull it off.
Works for: Medium to long hair, any hair type
- Flip your head upside down and pull your hair into a loose ponytail, allowing some imperfect bumps and strands.
- Position the ponytail at the point on your head where you’d like your bun to end up. It can be as high or low as you’d like.
- Hold your ponytail with one hand. With the other, twist the hair and spin it around the base of the ponytail, continuing to wrap it around to form a bun. Leave a tail of hair out at the end.
- Secure your bun with a hair elastic. Add bobby pins to make it more secure.
- If you’d like it to look more messy, pull out pieces of hair that frame your face.
- Finish by spritzing with a hold spray.11
4. Double Dutch Braids
This braided style will keep your hair out of your face, so it’s great for a long day or work or even yoga class.
Works for: Long, thick, straight, wavy, or kinky hair
- Start with a center part that extends down to your neck.
- Apply a product like gel, mousse, or leave-in conditioner to the hair around your face.
- Take one section and temporarily twist it up and secure it with a clip so it’s out of the way.
- Grab the other section and weave it into a classic Dutch braid. The right piece goes under the middle, the left piece goes under the middle, and so on.
- As you braid, add more hair from the area above the braid.
- Repeat this all the way down to the ends of your hair and secure with an elastic.
- Repeat on the other side.12
5. Half-Up Bun
This hairstyle is a great one to try if your hair has air-dried a little flat or funky, but you still want to keep some of it down. Here’s how to pull this one off.
Works for: Any texture and any length, except for ultra short hair
- Grab the top section of your hair, leaving the very front bangs area free.
- Pull your hair back to make a high ponytail, combing it with your fingers to make one cohesive section.
- Secure your ponytail with a hair elastic.
- Gently loosen the section you just secured to give it a messy look.
- Twist the ponytail, and wrap it around itself to create a bun.
- Secure the bun with a few bobby pins.
- Gently pull apart the bun a bit, making it as messy as you’d prefer.
- Secure the finished bun with a few more bobby pins.13
6. Bubble Ponytail
The bubble ponytail is a stylish variation of the classic ponytail. It can be styled to look formal or casual, and it looks especially great with thicker hair. Frizzy or kinky hair that may be hard to manage in more sleek styles looks especially good styled this way.
Works for: Long, coarse, textured hair, or straight hair
- Gather your hair into high or low ponytail, depending on where you’d like the bubble ponytail to sit on your head.
- Add gel to your hands and slick the hair into place before securing it with an elastic.
- Add another elastic 2-3 inches down to create the first ball.
- Continue and repeat, spacing out elastics every 2-3 inches. Make sure you leave a 3-inch gap between the last elastic and the bottom of your hair.
- On each section, gently pull your hair to create a bubble-like effect.
- Finish with hairspray to set the look.14,15
7. Elegant Chignon Bun
A chignon (which is really just a fancy pants way of saying “bun”) is a classic, feminine style that can be dressed up or down.
Works for: Medium to long straight hair
- Use a comb to part your hair straight down the middle.
- Smooth your hair behind your ears and gather it at the nape of your neck.
- Gently twist your hair from the base of your neck to the ends of your hair and then coil it around in a circle.
- Continue to twist your hair into a bun, using your index finger to hold it into place.
- Secure the sides of the bun using large bobby pins.
- Gently pull and loosen the bun to get your desired shape.
- Try pulling out more volume on the volume to give it an asymmetrical look.
- To create some volume on the crown of your head, gently loosen the hair on top of your head.
- Finish the style of with hairspray or finishing spray.16
Go Heat-Free And Enjoy
With a fun arsenal of heatless hairstyles, you just might find it easier to give up blow drying every now and then. If you’d like to try a heatless hairstyle for a specific event, just remember to shower the night before, so your hair has plenty of time to air dry.
You may find that the waves you can attain with air drying are much harder to achieve with blow drying and curling irons. Plus, air drying your hair will give you more time to do other things (like sleep in) in the mornings, and who doesn’t want that?
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