11 Easy, Heat-Free Hairstyles That Anyone Can Master

We all like to feel good about our hair, but we don't all necessarily have the time or patience to spend an hour blow-drying, straightening, or curling. Not to mention, heat-based styling tools are infamously damaging to our locks. It's why knowing a few easy hairstyles that don't require any heat is a must for those of us who want to look put together, but don't want to sacrifice a ton of our lives to styling or fry our hair.

I went through a phase in my mid-twenties where I changed my hair color a lot, and on top of that was blow drying and flat ironing on a regular basis. I had heard people talk about the importance of minimizing heat on hair, heat protectant serums, etc., but I honestly was both too lazy and naive to really worry about it. Over time, I began to notice a major shift in the texture of my hair. It was hard to run a brush through it and it became tangled almost instantly, and even worse, the ends looked lifeless and fried. Every time I saw photos of myself I was taken aback by the state of my hair.

The reality was several years of processing and heat had finally taken its toll, and I finally understood what everyone was talking about. Enough was enough, and I decided to grow out my natural hair color and avoid heating tools as much as humanely possible. It took time (and a lot of regrowth), but I eventually got back to heathy hair, and I now make protecting it from damage a priority. This inevitably meant mastering a variety of no-heat hair styles that make me feel put together and confident.

If you're looking to tone down the amount of heat you use on your hair, here are 11 heat-free looks that are key for your style arsenal.

1. The Topsy Tail

Abby Smith on YouTube

A topsy tail takes the premise of a basic ponytail but adds another super easy step to create the illusion of a much more complicated look. It also has a slight bohemian vibe, which perfectly compliments the less-polished look of air-dried hair.

2. High Messy Bun

Zoella on YouTube

A messy bun is a classic go-to for when your hair air-dried and is now a little unruly. It gets everything up and away from your face and tames it on the top of your head while allowing for bumps and imperfections.

3. Front Side Twists

Tineey on YouTube

The front side twist is one of the fastest hairstyles you can do and will trick people into thinking you put way more time into your hair than you actually did. And if you really want to amp it up, add a bow or large flower to the side of your head where your hair is pulled back.

4. Bohemian Front Braids

Amber Fillerup on YouTube

This is a slightly more time-consuming take on the front side twist but has an overall more boho effect. It's great for when you want to use your hair's natural, air-dried messiness to your advantage, and is perfect for outdoor concerts and festivals!

5. Overnight Curls

queenxpeaches on YouTube

There are a ton of hair tutorials out there on getting overnight curls without curlers, but for some reason I always end up just going back to tried and true velcro curlers. They create super consistent waves, and in my experience are just as low-maintenance as some of the newer, allegedly "easier" methods. Plus, they're crazy inexpensive and you can use them forever!

6. A Favorite Beanie

POPSUGAR Fashion on YouTube

OK, this might seem kind of like a cop out since it's not technically a hairstyle, but a classic beanie can not only totally enhance your ensemble, but it totally hides your hair on days when you just didn't have time to style. This is perfect for brunch with friends, or can even be worn at the office if you work in a more casual environment. So don't sell the beanie short!

7. A Braided Bun

Abby Smith on YouTube

A braided bun instantly takes your look from casual to elegant, and it's totally okay if it's a little messy or haphazard (that's part of the charm). Simply braid your hair — wet, or dry — and then wrap it into a low bun slightly to the side of your head. You can wear it with jeans and a T-shirt or with a fancy dress for an evening occasion, no heat or styling tools needed.

8. Princess Jasmine Ponytail

MsLaBelleMel on YouTube

A "Princess Jasmine ponytail" is an insanely easy take on a regular ponytail but just gives it a little extra something. Plus, it tames hair that would otherwise look messy or unruly in a normal pony. Simply add a few hair elastics down the length of your ponytail so that you have several even sections, and then tug the hair in each section to give each part some fullness. And you're done! Jump to 07:58 of the above video for a visual.

9. A Faux Fishtail Braid

Tess Christine on YouTube

This style from YouTuber and beauty enthusiast Tess Christine takes the Jasmine ponytail up a notch by making it look more like a fishtail braid. This is a style that's perfect for those of us who don't necessarily have a ton of time or even hair styling skills, but want something that looks a little extra special. Skip ahead to 5:31 to see how she does it.

10. Textured And Loose

In a Refinery29 piece on no-heat styles, Susan Kaplow, Refinery29's executive Vice President, said that after combing her wet hair, she then applies dry shampoo (while it's still wet) and combs it through again. When the hair dries it's loose and casual without any crunchiness.

11. Surfer Girl Hair

This is a similar, yet way more beachy take on a textured and loose look. In the same Refinery 29 piece, beauty director Megan McIntire said she applies mousse to her hair while it's still damp and then simply twists it into dread-like sections all over her head. Once dried, she untwists the sections and applies a salt water spray for added texture. And that's it!

While there's definitely a time and a place for hair dryers and heat-based styling tools, they by no means need to be a part of your usual every day routine. There are a ton of gorgeous styles that rely on heat-free, air dried techniques, and — bonus — they're actually good for your hair.

Image: Pexels (3)