Achieving perfect waves with minimal effort is the ultimate hair objective for many of us, but it never quite seems to work out the way we want it to. It is just not as simple as sleeping in a damp braid, no matter how frequently people try to tell us that it is—especially if you have thick hair that doesn’t take well to styling without heat.
If you are not willing to wrangle the curling iron though, here are some great ideas to get wavy hair overnight, and there are zero braids involved.
Use a headband: Take one of those soft headbands—you know, the ones you usually use to keep your hair out of your face at the gym— and place it on your head so that it’s horizontal over your ears. Section by section, wrap your damp hair around the headband, tucking it beneath the elastic as you go. No pins necessary for this one; just shake it out and go in the morning.
Use pins: If you have a little extra time (and patience) on your hands before bed—and don’t mind sleeping on a head full of pins—flat pin curls are super easy to do, and they work to make waves on every hair type and length. You can also size your sections based on how tight you want your waves and curls to be, so the technique is totally customizable. Just take each section and roll it up to your scalp, then pin in place so that the loop is flat. Wrap your head in a silk scarf to keep the curls in place and frizz-free overnight.
Knot it: Bantu knots are a traditional African hairstyle that looks awesome on its own, but worn overnight, they will leave loose, silky waves behind. On just slightly damp, detangled hair, apply a light-hold styling product to give the knots some grip. Twist each section of hair with your fingers until it coils around itself and starts to move toward your scalp, then wrap the twisted length of hair around the base of the coil. You can use bobby pins or a small elastic to secure the knot against your head.
The sock bun: For all those who didn’ know about this amazing trick, all you need is a sock. Cut the tip off, pull your hair through, and slowly roll the sock out over itself, tucking the hair with it. It will probably be messy, but the resulting bun will turn your sad, boring hair into magic overnight.