Healthy Alternatives to Applying Heat to Your Hair

While it’s true that a woman’s crowning glory is her hair, getting to that truly glorious state is often bogged down by all the steps you need to take to get that gorgeous mane. It often involves the use of a variety of styling tools that use heat to either straighten or curl the hair to within an inch of its healthy life. Many women suffer from the results of hair damage caused by the constant application of both heat and chemical hair products, with some extreme cases resulting in hair breakage or hair loss.

There are a number of ways to style your hair without using any heat which will still give you either straight, glossy hair or shiny, bouncy curls while keeping each strand healthy and damage-free.

Straighten Hair without Heat

Straighten Hair without Heat

Long before high-tech blow dryers or ceramic hair irons were around, women have been straightening their hair using basic, time-tested methods and healthy non-damaging hair treatments. A quick caveat though: these methods may not be as effective on those with very curly or have thick, wavy hair. Those types will definitely need some styling assistance from heated hair straightening tools to achieve pin-straight locks. These methods will work well on fine to medium hair with slight curls or waves.

Adopt a New Hair Routine

  • Let’s start with the basics – your shampoo and conditioner. You may want to consider switching to products that are meant to straighten and smoothen hair with regular use. They often use ingredients that are meant to weigh down the hair and heavily condition the hair to help with the straightening. Look for products that make use of natural ingredients like jojoba or argan oil or coconut milk that have been used for centuries to moisturize and treat hair frizziness.
  • Towel dry your hair using an extra absorbent towel to draw out as much moisture as possible. Be gentle about drying your hair, patting and stroking the hair from the tips to the roots as the towel absorbs the water. Avoid any vigorous rubbing as that can cause even more hair frizziness and damage to the hair strands.
  • Brush your hair until it dries. Since you are not applying any heat, this step may take the most time and effort. Use a wide paddle brush as you separate your hair into swaths and gently brush downwards on both sides of the swath. This separates the hair strands and the gradual pulling downwards also helps with the straightening. To speed up the drying time, you can brush your hair in front of a fan that provides a cool breeze to evaporate the moisture without causing damaging dryness.
  • Jumbo plastic hair rollers are a wonderful tool to use for straightening hair overnight. Just section off your towel-dried hair, brush it up and wind each section flat around each roller. Secure with duckbill clips and leave to dry overnight. The next morning, unwind each roller and gently brush hair to straighten each section out.
  • On almost dried hair, use hair smoothing products like a cream or mousse to keep the frizz out. You can even use products with natural essential oils like coconut and jojoba that have natural straightening properties that won’t damage your hair.

Make Your Own Hair Straightening Masks

These hair masks made with natural ingredients not only help straighten your hair but also provide much-needed strength and nourishment to keep your hair healthy and beautiful. Use them at least twice a week for two months to see the best results.

Coconut milk and lemon mask: Mix together two cups of coconut milk, 5-6 tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons olive oil, and three tablespoons cornstarch. Heat over a low flame until smooth in consistency then allow the mixture to cool before applying to hair. Wash everything off after 30-45 minutes and brush dry.

Milk and egg mask: Mix two cups of whole milk (or coconut milk) with one whole egg, whisking well to fully incorporate the egg and milk together. Soak your hair in the mixture for at least 10 minutes. Do not rinse off yet. Wrap your hair in plastic cling wrap for 30 minutes, allowing your body’s natural heat to work with the hair mask. Wash everything off thoroughly and brush dry gently.

Milk and honey mask: Mix together a cup of whole milk and a tablespoon of honey. Allow the mixture to soak into the hair and scalp for an hour before washing off.

Curling Hair without Heat

Getting soft, natural curls without a curling iron is actually easier than you think. You can try one of these methods to make tight springy curls or soft, tousled waves without having to fry your hair strands on a heating tool.

  • Braiding: Anyone who has tried braids knows that they leave your hair with loose waves after they come off. You can use that same method with a few tweaks. In order to get longer lasting curls from a braid, you have to properly prep your hair to retain the curl. Make sure that your hair is slightly damp so that it is more receptive to keeping the wave. Apply some leave-on conditioner or styling serum to tame flyaways and to keep your strands smooth. You can do small, tight braids to get a more distinct wave or you can opt for larger braids to see bigger, softer waves. Be sure to use cloth hair ties so as not to leave a noticeable ridge at your hair ends.
  • Rag curls: This method has found its way down from much earlier times to the present day and it still is as effective as ever. Cut up a clean old t-shirt into 1-inch strips. Start rolling up one-inch sections of your hair under a cloth strip until you reach the hair roots. Tie off the cloth ends around each rolled up section. Keep going until you have rolled up all the hair. Then sleep on your rag-rolled curls knowing that when you wake up the next morning, you will have made pretty waves without touching a curling iron. Be sure to have prepped your hair with a styling serum or conditioner before rag rolling.
  • Pin curls: This method will require a lot of hair pins and a bit of patience. After your shower, comb your hair to untangle any knots. Dab on some styling cream and you are ready to go. Taking a small section of hair, twist and roll it until you reach the roots. Secure the roll with a hair pin and continue with the next section. You can wrap your hair up in a scarf to keep the pins from coming undone while you sleep. When you take out the hairpins the next morning, you’ll be happy to find tight curls ready for styling.

Styling without the Heat

A gorgeous coif doesn’t have to come at the expense of hair torture via heat. Some occasions may call for the need to bring out the styling iron or the hair dryer but you can always give your hair a rest from these devices. Go for the unconventional but reliable ways of bringing out a sleek straight look or a perky, natural curl that is as stylish as it is easy to acquire, all without a lick of heat.

M Pimentel

M is a happily married Filipino mother to three wonderful little daughters, ages: 8 years, 5 years, and 4 months old. Her daily life is a struggle between being the Executive Content Director for Project Female and deciding who gets to watch television next. She specializes in creating and editing content for female empowerment, parenting, beauty, health/nutrition, and lifestyle. As the daughter of two very hardworking people, she was brought up with strict traditional Asian values and yet embraces modern trends like Facebook, vegan cupcakes, and the occasional singing cat video.

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