I Tried the Heatless Hair Spiral Ribbons Going Viral on TikTok

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington
POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington
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I've voluntarily posted some less-than-flattering photos of myself on the internet during my years as a beauty editor, but this is by far the most interesting situation I've found myself in. And it comes as no surprise that TikTok lead me here. During one of my many late-night scrolls, I stumbled upon a video of someone testing out these heatless hair-waver ribbons from Amazon, so I decided to give them a try.

As someone who doesn't like curling my hair too often with a traditional curling iron or wand — both because of the damage and the amount of time it takes — I was excited to test yet a method of styling my hair sans hot tools. TikTok rarely leads me astray, so I was hopeful when I ordered the No Heat Wave Hair Spiral Curlers Styling Kit ($22). However, even after I'd studied the video a few times, I don't think I was prepared for just how involved this heatless hairstyling hack was. I got 28 ribbons in my kit, as well as a tool that resembles a shepherd's hook.

Putting in the Heatless-Wave Ribbons

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

In the video, TikToker Lauren Wolfe starts with a very small piece of hair. I didn't read the instructions, but I figured out pretty quickly that you slip the hook through the waved ribbon, wrap it around a one-inch section of hair, and pull it through to secure the ribbon to the hair.

I was a little nervous that my hair would get stuck, but having tried an automatic hair curler before and lived to tell the tale, I just went for it. The hardest part is getting a clean section of hair to work with — if you have stray pieces gathered in the hook, they can get knotted. I started with a piece at the back of my head, sectioned it, twisted it a few times, looped the piece of hair around the hook, gently pulled it through the ribbon, and voilà.

The Heatless-Wave Ribbons in My Hair

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

Working piece by piece, I made my way to the sides of my head and only got stuck a few times. The act of feeding each piece of hair through the spiral ribbons was incredibly time consuming, and sections sometimes took me a few tries to get, which only added to the overall time. When my whole head was finally done, about 35 minutes had passed — the same amount of time it takes me to curl my hair with a hot tool (if not longer).

Because you apply the spiral ribbons onto dry hair, you have to leave them in for quite a while in order for them to set. I put them in in the morning and left them until 2 p.m., which was approximately five hours. During that time, I went about my work as usual. When I emerged from my bedroom/office for the first time, my boyfriend pretended to turn to stone because I looked like Medusa. Funny.

Of all the heatless hair products I've tested, this one was by far the most cumbersome (yes, even more so than the overnight hair ribbon that also went viral on the app). I couldn't imagine sleeping in them — just walking around my apartment with them in was annoying enough.

Removing the Heatless-Wave Ribbons

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

After five long, frustrating hours, I decided it was time to take them out. I began with the same piece that I'd started the process with at the back of my head, pulled off the plastic ribbon from the bottom. I was pleasantly surprised when it slipped right off without any tugging. The section of hair had a crimped, loose wave to it, which gave me hope that it had worked. I removed the rest of the ribbons.

Luckily, the removal process was quick and painless, only adding about five extra minutes to my total time. Some sections of hair had curled better than others, but overall, my head was covered in messy waves similar to the saltwater-infused ones I get when I'm at the beach all day. They looked a little too wild for my taste, so I grabbed some styling products to try to tame them. I used the IGK Crybaby Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum ($28) for frizz and the R+Co Reflective Shine Hairspray ($39) to add some shine and hold.

Hours After Using the Heatless-Wave Ribbons

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

For me, the final look wasn't polished. While the spiral ribbons gave me a messier, naturally wavy look, the user in the video got an effect similar to what you'd achieve with the Mermade Waver, which is also popular on the app (and which I'd had much better success with). Unfortunately, my hair doesn't hold a curl well, so the crimped waves fell out pretty quickly. Because of how involved the heatless hair hack is and how inconvenient it is to wear approximately 18 plastic spiraled ribbons in your hair for five hours, I can't say I'll be doing this again anytime soon. Still, I'm happy I gave it a try. If you regularly style your hair and it holds a curl well, it's worth a shot.