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How to Straighten Hair Without Heat in 7 Easy Steps

Don’t you wish you could transform your hair from wavy or curly to straight without damaging it? Well, believe it or not, learning how to straighten hair without heat is totally possible. Just use one of the 7 methods below.

How to Straighten Hair Without Heat

Someday scientists may produce a pill that can change your hair from curly or wavy to straight (it could happen, right?). But until then, we’re left with manual techniques to straighten hair. Unfortunately, most straightening techniques use harsh chemicals, and/or heat to straighten locs, both of which can be very damaging to hair. Luckily, straightening hair without heat (and without chemicals) is possible for certain hair types, and there are many ways to attempt it. You could try:

  1. Wet setting
  2. Wrapping
  3. Straightening products
  4. Sleeping with a wet bun
  5. Brush to dry
  6. Hair masks
  7. Long loose ponytails

None of these techniques will take tight curls to pin-straight tresses, but they will create smooth, sleek hair that’s at least a little straighter. Everyone’s hair is different, and depending on your hair type, you may find some of these techniques work better than others.

In our experience, a wet setting works for almost everyone, but it’s also time-consuming, and not everyone likes wearing rollers! If that’s you, wrapping your hair is the next best option. 

Step 1: Wet Setting

Wet setting is a process that uses extra-large velcro or silicon rollers to help straighten your hair. Start by washing and towel drying your hair. Afterward, you’ll want to add some medium-hold mousse for volume and control and then, wrap your hair around the rollers in two-inch sections.

It may help to section your hair using alligator clips before you start. You should also keep a comb on hand so you can ensure your hair is lying flat on each roller.

Every roller set is different. Some have clips, and others require a bobby pin to fasten them. In either case, make sure you place the clip or pin on the underside of your hair. That way, the crease won’t show when you take the rollers out.

Once you have all your hair in rollers, hit it with a light mist of hairspray. After that, it’s a waiting game. That’s the downside to avoiding heat; none of these processes are fast. Typically, it will take several hours for your hair to dry. In the meantime, wrap your rollers in a silk scarf. It’ll keep your hair from frizzing while you wait.

Once your hair is completely dry, you can take out the rollers and brush your hair. The results should be smooth, straight locks with plenty of volume at the roots and a slight curl at the ends. 

Step 2: Wrapping

Hair wrapping is an ancient technique for obtaining or maintaining straight hair. It involves wrapping your hair tightly to one side of your head and letting it dry.

To start, towel dry your hair and comb it straight. Then, take a large paddle brush and use it to brush all of your hair to one side of your head. Hold the hair tightly so it’s completely straight and smooth, then pin it with bobby pins.

When your hair is dry, remove the pins. The result will be straight, smooth hair. 

Step 3: Straightening Products

We’re not saying to purchase a harsh chemical straightener. Most of those will damage your hair worse than heat, and many contain sketchy ingredients like formaldehydeHowever, there are straightening products that can help you achieve relatively straight hair.

Look for a smoothing gel or serum and comb it through your wet locks. Bonus points if you find a product with extra keratin, which may help relax and condition your hair. Then, for maximum straightening power, use your blow dryer on the cool setting. It will take a while to dry, but it won’t be damaging. And, in the end, you’ll have hair that’s smooth and straight. 

Step 4: Sleeping With a Wet Bun

This method works best with hair that has just a slight wave; anything more than that, and you might be disappointed. If that’s you, though, you’re in luck. There’s nothing easier than sleeping with a wet bun. All you have to do is wash your hair at night and then towel dry it. Next, take a soft hairband and use it to tie a ponytail at the crown of your head.

Wrap your hair into a loose bun and then secure it with a second hairband. Your hair should dry overnight, and you can take the bands out in the morning. The results should be smooth, straight hair.

However, since this method includes laying your head on your pillow, you need to pay attention to one more thing– the material of your pillowcase. A cotton pillowcase can pull at your hair as you toss and turn, creating frizz. Use a silk pillowcase instead. 

Step 5: Brush to Dry

If you happen to have hair that straightens easily, you may not need more than a high-quality brush and a little time. If you brush your hair down and pull it tight over and over again until your hair is completely dry, you’ll end up with straight locks.

If your hair has a little wave to it, this technique will give you that effortless, runway chic look, but it won’t work if your hair is very curly. With curls, you’re better off using the wet set or wrap techniques. 

Step 6: Hair Masks

A hair mask can’t make curly hair completely straight, but it can straighten wavy hair. It also makes all hair types smoother and more manageable. A coconut milk and lemon juice hair mask is a popular option for creating straighter looks.

The ingredients for this mask are easy to source and put together at home, making it an affordable and accessible option. All you need is coconut milk and lemon juice! Combine about 1/2 cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, apply it to your hair and leave it on for thirty minutes.

When you rinse it out, you’ll find that your hair is straighter and smoother. That’s because lemon juice can help straighten waves in hair and coconut milk acts as a conditioner. Lemon juice can also bleach hair, though, especially if you go out in the sun. So, don’t use this mask more than once a week and never apply it outside.

If you don’t want to use lemon juice at all, you can also try a hair mask made with eggs and olive oil or even milk and honey. Both options are packed with protein which will help your hair appear soft, straight, and smooth. 

Step 7: Long Loose Ponytails

If you have extra long hair, you can encourage it to straighten with nothing but a few hair ties. Simply section your towel-dried hair into two low ponytails and secure loosely with hair ties. Then, add another pair of hair ties a few inches down your hair.

Continue with more hair ties every few inches until you reach the ends. Make sure not to tie the hair ties too tight, or you’ll end up with kinks when you remove them. Take them out when your hair is dry, and you should find your locks are that much straighter.

Or, you can just buy straight hair extensions. Pull your hair tight into a braid, add in the extensions, and off you go. Talk about the easiest way to straighten your hair without heat!

Things to Consider

Straightening your hair without heat is possible, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to find success.

  • Do use the right shampoo and conditioner. Invest in a shampoo and conditioner designed to straighten and smooth. You may want to use a leave-in conditioner, too, depending on your hair type.
  • Do use a super-absorbent towel. Removing as much moisture as possible will help you create smooth tresses, so upgrade your typical cotton towel to a microfiber option. You can even purchase microfiber towels meant for your hair. They come in the shape of a hood, making them extra easy to wear.
  • Don’t give up on straightening without heat if the first few tries don’t work out. There’s no one size fits all technique for straightening hair without heat. So, if the first method you try doesn’t work, don’t fret. Try, try again instead!
  • Do consider essential oils to smooth and tame. Coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil, and macadamia nut oil are ideal for creating smooth, conditioned hair. They won’t straighten waves or curls, but they’re great when you use them along with another method.
  • Don’t be aggressive while towel drying. Rubbing hair with a towel can create frizz, so be gentle as you towel dry. Hold the towel around the ends of your hair and press to absorb the extra moisture. Then move the towel up towards your scalp pressing as you go until all the drips and drops are absorbed. 

So, How Do You Straighten Hair Without Heat? 

To illustrate how to straighten hair without heat, a girl facing away from the camera with really long hair stands in front of a brick wall

Grishechkina Marina/Shutterstock

Several techniques can help you straighten your hair without heat, and they all work differently for different hair types. Finding the one that works best for you can take some experimentation, but once you find it, the heat-free, no-damage results will be more than worth it.