Hair & Makeup

Why You Should Be Styling Your Hair Without Heat, According To This Celebrity Expert

While we’d never suggest downing hair straighteners and blow-dryers completely during party season, too much heat exposure can inflict some serious damage on strands. Here, the A-list’s go-to hair pro, CHARLOTTE MENSAH, shares her styling secrets with RHEA CARTWRIGHT, and reveals how to get red-carpet results – zero heat required

Sublime hair inspiration at Paris Fashion Week, courtesy of Olivia Dean (wearing purple dress) and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Start with mega moisture

All great styles begin in the shower, and forgoing heat doesn’t change that. Technology in heated tools often closes hair cuticles, which helps hair look instantly glossy and reduces frizz. To achieve that look sans heat, hair needs maximum moisture from hydrating shampoos and treatments. “Deep-conditioning is a crucial process between shampooing and styling your hair, which is designed to help restore and maintain moisture, regardless of your hair type,” says Charlotte Mensah. “Moisturized hair prevents damage, breakage and split ends.” A treatment once a week is best practice, or pull hair into a slick bun for deep-conditioning on the go.

Practice a wash-and-go routine

Letting hair dry naturally is the easiest way to avoid heat, but using the right leave-in products is essential. Boosting volume on fine hair without heat can be a challenge, so a mousse is a must. Drench hair with a handful of mousse and keep scrunching as your hair dries for maximum volume. For curly hair textures, a leave-in conditioner is key to avoiding unwanted frizz and keeping hair hydrated. Once hair has dried, Mensah says oils and serums are great for creating a polished finish. “They help to improve the smoothness of your hair and tame flyaways for a sleek result, as well as keeping hair defined and easier to manage.”

Hone your braiding skills

Don’t be afraid of plaits and braids to create glamorous styles without heat – these also work well on hair that hasn’t been freshly washed. “For coily hair, straight-back cornrows or two cornrows look great as braids,” advises Mensah. Using a silk pillowcase will ensure your braids last for days. Essentially a two-in-one, braids not only look good when finished, but also when taken out for quick and easy waves. For fine and straight hair that’s reluctant to hold a curl, you can create long-lasting waves and movement by prepping hair with a lightweight styling product such as Oribe Styling Butter Curl Enhancing Crème and loosely braiding into one, two or three braids (depending on how much hair you have) before going to bed. The looser the braid, the more relaxed and beachy the wave will be come morning. “When taking the braids out, loosely tousle them and place the waves where you would like them to fall.” For Afro or curly hair, use a little oil on the ends, as they will be a bit dryer; while finer hair types will likely need more movement, so finish with a salt spray for added texture that looks effortless.

Prep the night before

Styling your hair overnight saves much-needed time during your morning routine, while using an item from your closet can create salon-worthy results – wrapping hair around a piece of fabric, for instance, can mimic a blow-dry. “Separate damp hair into sections and weave a piece of silk, or a small silk scarf, into each one. Wait until your hair is completely dry before removing and combing through to loosen the curls,” says Mensah. The silk will also help cut down on frizz. Finish with hairspray for extra hold, or a glossy sheen spray. For added volume at the roots, a short, sharp burst of dry shampoo will do the trick.


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