The Finest Warmth-Free Curling Strategies, In accordance with TikTok | The Strategist

As someone with double-processed, bleached hair, I avoid hot tools at all costs. But of course my hair doesn’t always dry perfectly in the air, and I often long for the beachy, soft waves that I quickly indulged in with an iron. When I came across these heat-free curl tutorials on TikTok, I was personally interested to see which of them actually worked and how they hold up alongside my once-beloved hot tools.

Great news: this first technique uses things you probably already have at home: socks, bobby pins, and a couple of hair ties. Essentially, the sock acts like an irregularly shaped roller. Braiding your hair around it and taking it off a few hours later creates messy waves. I tested this on damp hair. I divided my hair into four parts, braided them around the sock, and then secured them at the end with a tie.

The sock braiding method gives you some control over the type of curl you get, which I liked. For loose curls or waves (my preference) do four sock braids. Six to eight sections create a tighter curl. The tension with which you braid your hair around the sock also changes the result. The tighter the braid, the tighter the curl. Overall, I found that the flexibility (and frankly, the unpredictability) of the sock made for more messy, imperfect, and textured waves.

There is one caveat, however. My colorist Emaly Baum (whom I kept asking questions about trying new techniques on my dry, bleached hair) explained that the sock method is probably pretty bad for our hair, as we twist delicate strands around coarse, rough strands and stretch fabric . It’s especially bad on wet hair as damp strands are even more prone to breakage.

In light of this feedback, I tried it a second time and swapped a silk scarf for my socks (Emaly once told me that silk is gentle on hair because it creates less friction). Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up with the same wavy curls. I think the hair needs to wrap around something with a little more volume to create curls.

Okay, it turns out the sock trick isn’t good for our hair. I wouldn’t make a habit of doing this on a daily (or even weekly) basis. But if you’re trying to give sockshaft a try, here is one of the most popular TikTok tutorials.

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