A few weeks ago I watched a video of an influencer removing a hairband to reveal perfect curls. All she had done was twirl her hair into it the night before and then gone to sleep. Et voila! She had, quite literally, woken up looking like she’d spent five hours in a hair salon.
Impeccably styled waves without a) cracking out the curling tongs or b) remortgaging the house.
I ordered the Bouncy Blow Band (£20.99, bouncyblowband.com) fully aware I was falling into a social media trap: I had been ‘influenced’. Was this contraption too good to be true?
The day it arrives, I tie my hair around the band — pinning the curler to the top of my head — taking a strand of hair and twisting it round, adding extra hair to each wrap and securing with scrunchies.
UK-based writer Ciara Dossett (pictured) has put overnight curlers to the test as they are taken over by the TikTok generation
I consider a ponytail complicated, but this was surprisingly easy and took under five minutes. I went to bed looking like a sixth Bennet sister. (Note: these are perhaps best used when sleeping alone.)
The next morning, I jumped out of bed to see the results. I was impressed. There was a nice curl and bounce — like I’d had a blow dry. I couldn’t have done any better with tongs.
Hairdresser Tabitha James Kraan (tabithajameskraan.com) is a ‘big fan’ of heatless curlers like these.
‘I recommend them as they work surprisingly effectively,’ she says, ‘They are not only good for the hair — long-term heat application can weaken hair as well as causing split ends — but good for the environment, too.’
Overnight curlers are by no means a new phenomenon but have been commandeered by the TikTok generation (videos with the hashtag ‘heatless curls’ have amassed 1.2billion views).
So which of these new wave devices will have you waking up looking like Sleeping Beauty and which are variations of bedhead? We put them to the test…
SECOND TIME LUCKY
Heatless Hair Curling Ribbon (£10, boots.com)
Ciara liked the Bouncy Blow Band (£20.99, bouncyblowband.com) best, rating them 4/5. She said ‘The ties are inbuilt which is useful if, like me, you only ever have one scrunchie’
With two sausage shapes held together by ribbon, this device resembles a set of pink nun-chucks. Sadly, it doesn’t make me feel like a hair-curling ninja.
The instructions say to secure it with pins, but the kit doesn’t have any. It’s short, making it hard to fit all my hair on (though I do have a lot).
My hair-do loosens before I get into bed and almost all of it has slipped by morning.
I try again, this time with a sturdier claw clip securing it, and wake up with glossy curls at the front, though it is frizzy at the back, potentially from rubbing against the polyester. 3/5
Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set (£11.50) and Gold Open Shape Claw Clip (£6.70, both cultbeauty.co.uk)
My flatmate, who has, in her words, ‘very thin, very straight’ hair, and I are both a bit obsessed with this set.
The gold claw clip also feels substantial and keeps the band in place. I sleep with the clip in but don’t notice it at all.
The ribbon bends like a pipe cleaner so it moves easily if you turn at night. In the morning, I have near-perfect curls.
With this in the bathroom cabinet, my curling iron may end up gathering dust. 4.5/5
A restock is promised this month. The only drawback is the grippy material, designed to retain shape and moisture, may be too warm in the summer
SILKY AND SLIPPERY
Heatless Curler (£54.90, thebigsilk.com)
Though pricier, this kit arrives in a posh box with hairbrush, clips and scrunchies. It’s also 100 per cent mulberry silk which prevents flyaway hairs.
The curler is the same shape as the Boots one but chunkier, which makes it tricky to wrap my hair around. It’s also solid and, as I sleep on my side, uncomfortable. Thin ribbons allow you to twist it round the back and then tie in a bow. I feel as if I have gift-wrapped myself, but even with the additional clips, it kept slipping.
No distinct curls here come the morning, but it does give shape and bounce. 3/5
Bouncy Blow Band (£20.99, bouncyblowband.com)
With four ‘legs’ rather than two, this looks like half a pink octopus. Apparently, the design distributes curls more evenly making it perfect for thick hair.
The ties are inbuilt which is useful if, like me, you only ever have one scrunchie. In lockdown, Samantha Ryder, who created the Bouncy Blow Band, stopped curling her hair every day and noticed how much healthier it looked. She wanted to create a product that didn’t harm your hair with heat.
The worst curlers tested were the dressing gown cheat. When I try it, I end up with volume and a loose curl, but the material dries my hair out
Last month she sold out, and I can see why — this gives me the tightest curls (though you can fold the band for bouncier hair). A restock is promised this month. The only drawback is the grippy material, designed to retain shape and moisture, may be too warm in the summer. 4/5
DRESSING GOWN CHEAT
Dressing gown belt (£0, the back of my bedroom door)
Am I wasting money on fancy hairbands when the solution is tied round my waists? Little Mix star Perrie Edwards posted a video trying the same technique with her dressing gown belt — with surprising results.
When I try it, I end up with volume and a loose curl, but the material dries my hair out.
After teasing with a comb, this doesn’t give immaculate ring-lets, but did create a beachy wave. If you are happy with a relaxed look, this does (sort of) do the job. And if it’s good enough for Little Mix… 2.5/5