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What Are Robe Tie Curls? | How to Nail This Heatless Look

Robe tie curls are a quick and easy way to get gorgeous tresses without your hair tools. So if you are tired of dealing with heat damage but still want flawless waves, read on to learn more about this heatless look.


What Are Robe Tie Curls and Why Should I Try Them?

Close up of a robe belt for a piece on robe tie curls

Tom Gowanlock/Shutterstock

If you grew up with your mother wrapping your hair around scraps of cloth before sending you off to bed, you’re already familiar with the basic concept behind robe tie curls. 

Robe tie curls (also called Bathrobe Curls) are a simple heatless styling method along the same lines as rag curls or sock curls.

All three consist of twisting your damp hair around a piece of fabric and securing it with a ponytail holder. Overnight, your mane will transform into a flowing cascade of enviable curls while you get your beauty rest. 

Avoid Heat Damage

Anytime you curl your hair, you combine two elements to get the job done: shape and heat. A curling wand or curling iron gives you results immediately because they apply very high temperatures to your strands while holding them in the appropriate form. 

Unfortunately, your hair pays a steep price for the speed tools can provide. Each of our hairs is made of a protein called keratin. Healthy keratin helps maintain proper moisture levels, the shape of the hair shaft, and texture.

While keratin is pretty tough, it’s by no means invincible. The keratin strands in our hair can withstand temperatures up to 300-degrees before severe damage takes hold, but most tools boast temperatures of 400-degrees or more.

Heatless curls use the same principles of heat and shape but apply it over a much more extended period– typically 7-8 hours while you sleep. It takes on a curved shape when you wrap your wet hair around the soft cloth. Then, over the next few hours, it sets as it dries. 

Save Time in Your Morning Routine

In addition to being a healthier option for your hair, heatless curls also help those of us who tend to hit the snooze button a few too many times in the morning walk out the door with hair we can be proud of. 

Sleeping in tool curled hair inevitably leads to frantic morning touch-ups if you’re lucky enough to have the waves survive overnight. On the other hand, overnight, heatless curls are like a bit of a gift you’re giving to your morning self.

Since you do all the work the night before, all you have to do in the morning is shakeout that luscious mane, spritz with a bit of styling spray, and take on your day with supermodel hair. 

Versatile Style for Everyday and Formal Occasions

Whatever your day may bring– Sunday brunch, a family wedding, or just some time spent browsing Target– you feel more confident when your hair is soft, shiny, and manageable. In fact, 81% of women say that they feel the best about themselves when their hair looks great!

Robe tie curls are super versatile. Because they’re not overstyled, they can easily transition into an updo without looking a little whacky, as heat tool hair is prone. Wear them long and loose, up in a voluminous ponytail, or tucked into a glossy top knot. 

How to Use Robe Tie Curls

Ready to give robe tie curls a shot? We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to achieve the whorls and swirls without subjecting your locks to damaging, high-heat tools. 

What You’ll Need

These simple spirals only require a few things:

  • Robe tie
  • Hairbrush
  • Two ponytail holders
  • Product, like salt spray, curl cream, or defining cream
  • Holding spray

Step 1: Wash

For this trick to work, you’ll need damp hair, so plan to rock these locks the day after you wash. Use a high-quality shampoo that will moisturize and refresh so that your tresses look their healthiest the next morning. Alternatively, use a damp brush and run it through your hair, rewetting as necessary. 

Step 2: Apply Product

Depending on your hair texture, apply a product to help the robe tie curls look utterly luscious.

Straight Hair

Try a sea salt spray to help your smooth, straight hair maintain a little texture. First, focus on your roots to add a little extra volume. Then, work your way down to the ends, applying it section by section to ensure even coverage. 

Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is prone to frizz, so try a defining cream to enhance your natural texture and help block humidity from penetrating the hair shaft. The best ones on the market are also deeply moisturizing, making your hair shinier and more gorgeous. 

Curly Hair

Robe tie curls might seem a little silly if you already sport ringlets, but the style can help get chaotic curls under control.

While your hair is still very wet, run a curl cream through with your fingers. It enables the strands to hold their natural shape, transforming frumpy kinks into stunning swirls. 

Step 3: Partially Dry

To stay genuinely heatless, towel dry your hair about 80% of the way or let it air dry. Either way, there needs to be some moisture for this curling style to work. 

Step 4: Brush

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Carefully brush out all the snares and snags. Wet hair is more prone to breakage, so if you plan to wear robe tie curls often, you may want to invest in a good hair brush designed to protect your strands when they’re still damp. 

One popular option is the Wet Brush. Its Intelliflex Bristles help you achieve silky smooth hair without tugging, breaking, or ripping. Leave your hair parted in whatever direction you plan to wear it. 

Step 5: Drape the Robe Tie

Place the robe tie on the crown of your head, letting the ends hang down past your ears. You can clip it in place using bobby pins for a little extra security. 

Step 6: Twist

Starting on one side of your hair at the roots, twist the entire section around the robe tie. The tighter you turn, the tighter your curls will be. Adjust the tension based on the look you’re trying to achieve. 

Once you get the end of your hair, secure the end with a ponytail holder before jumping over to the other side and repeating the whole process over again. We recommend using a scrunchie to avoid those pesky lines that traditional hair ties tend to leave behind.

Step 7: Catch some Zs

Time for the best part: sleeping! Head to bed for the night, giving your robe tie curls plenty of time to set and dry—dream about having gorgeous, bouncy hair the following day. 

Step 8: Unwrap and Enjoy

In the morning, check to make sure your hair is completely dried. Relieving your robe tie of duty while your hair is still damp is a recipe for limp, disappointing tresses.

While it’s better just to let it dry and set as long as possible, you can banish any remaining moisture with a hairdryer if absolutely necessary. Slowly unwind your hair from around the tie and finger brush the curls.

Finish off with holding spray for all-day bounce and lush volume. Once you learn how to do robe tie curls, you may consider abandoning your curling iron altogether. That’s how fast and easy the process is! 

Robe Tie Curl Hacks

Woman who has used robe tie curls to get natural heatless curls

Ilkiv Anastasia/Shutterstock

While the process is already pretty straightforward, there are a few hacks you may want to try if traditional robe tie curls aren’t quite working out for you. 

  • Don’t have a robe? Try a silk scarf instead! Not only is it a fantastic replacement, but silk doesn’t break brittle hair the way that cotton can. 
  • If you find that your robe tie curls tend to fall out in the middle of the night, try twisting them up into big cinnamon roll-style buns on the side of your head, then securing with a large scrunchie. This method keeps everything in place. 
  • For more robust curls, make sure your hair is wetter. For softer waves, drier hair works best. Adjust along that spectrum to achieve your ideal shape. 
  • Don’t be afraid to touch up strands with your flattening or curling iron. While that does introduce a little heat back into the process, it’s still way better for your hair health than using styling tools exclusively. 
  • Some burgeoning DIY stylists prefer the braiding method rather than the twisting method. Instead of rotating your hair strands around the tie, split the section in two and use it as the third piece of a traditional braid. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Bath robe for a piece on bath robe curls

Moretn B/Shutterstock

What are robe curls?

Robe curls are just another name for robe tie curls. They’re also called bathrobe curls, dressing gown curls, and sock curls!

How long does it take to do robe tie curls?

The whole process takes 7-8 hours, but you’re only actively engaged in working with your hair for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time is spent sleeping! It’s perfect for busy ladies who want big, billowy curls without spending an hour or more in front of the mirror every morning.

How long do robe tie curls last?

Like most curls, these gorgeous waves will look stunning throughout the first day but will likely require a bit of refreshing by day two.

How do you get curls overnight?

The easiest way to get curls overnight is to wrap damp sections around pieces of cloth, like socks, rags, or a bath tie. This provides the structure for the coil while still being comfortable enough to sleep on.

Do robe tie curls work on wet hair?

Robe tie curls work on wet hair, but they take much longer to dry. If you have time to wait around for very wet hair to curl, it will be much tighter and springy rather than loose and beachy.

Do robe tie curls work on curly hair?

For curly hair, robe ties are an excellent way to give some shape to your unruly spirals. Just be sure to moisturize your hair with a curl cream before wrapping, as curly hair tends to be more brittle and can break while you’re wrapping it.

So, What Are Robe Tie Curls?

Robe tie curls are an overnight, heatless method for giving your tresses some shape, volume, and texture. They can easily be adjusted to achieve those big, freshly blown-out curls that red carpet celebs favor or light waves for that barely-touched bedhead look perfect for running a few errands.

The whole process should only take about 10 minutes before bedtime. All you need is a robe tie, two ponytail holders, and a little bit of product to encourage your specific hair texture to hold the curl. Once it’s wrapped and ready, hop into bed and style as you like in the morning.

We hope we answered all your questions about what robe tie curls and how to rock the look. If you want to try some other methods for styling your hair, check out our Overly-Detailed Guide to Layers or Curtain Bangs and Wavy Hair 101. 

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