Editor’s note: Our team was saddened to learn of the passing of Charlie Curls’ founder Kris Akins. Charlie Curls is no longer in business, but I wanted to leave this article as it highlights Kris’ kindness, thoughtfulness, and intelligence.
Further down, you’ll find our recommendation for a comparable heatless hair styling tool.
Every morning for nearly two decades, I washed and dried my long, thick hair before school or work. Most of those mornings, my routine also included some form of heat styling (straightener, curling wand, or big hot rollers) to smooth it out or add curls or waves.
After leaving the corporate world to be a stay-at-home and then a work-from-home mom, I worried less about trying to look polished every day. And I started to realize the toll all that washing and styling had taken on my hair. So I cut back to washing every two to three days.
I was still using a hair dryer or some form of heat styling most of the time. Then we moved to hot, humid Florida, and sweating under a hair dryer wasn’t exactly a pleasant way to start the day.
The problem is that my hair doesn’t air dry in a flattering way. If I leave it completely alone, the only way to describe it is… Medusa-esque. But even combing or brushing it as it dries just leaves it half kinky, partly frizzy and oddly poofy.
So, you can imagine my interest when our friend Carissa Berg shared her obsession with the CharlieCurls heatless hair styler at a wellness conference. We mentioned how great she looked despite an overnight airport delay and almost no sleep.
She said, “Oh, I kept my hair pulled back in the CharlieCurls styler. Took it out this morning, ran my fingers through it, and here I am!”
She introduced us to Kris Akins and Amber Sims, their founder and marketing director. They’ve been two of the loveliest people to get to know, and they sent us samples of the CharlieCurls. After a bit of experimentation to find the right techniques for my hair, I’ve been thrilled with the results.
In fact – it’s the only option I’ve found to get my hair smooth without heat.
What is CharlieCurls?
CharlieCurls is a soft, moldable long loop accessory you can wrap hair around to create soft waves or curls. It’s the result of a need-turned-invention by founder Kris Akins. Years ago, she needed a way to combat tangles and tantrums with her daughter, Ciera.
Mothers of kids with long hair have all been there. You brush or comb their hair before bed time and wake up to a mess of tangles. Faced with the same struggle, Kris created a solution that kept her daughter’s hair neat and tangle-free as she slept. She soon found that not only did the CharlieCurl solve the tangle issue, it gave Ciera gorgeous curls.
CharlieCurls really digs into the science of how and why hair behaves in certain ways. Their passion for healthy hair keeps them always searching for ways to level-up holistic hair styling.
How Do You Use CharlieCurls?
After a brief learning curve, the CharlieCurls styler is super easy to use. Here’s how to do it…
- Start with dry hair. (Keep in mind that 2nd day hair always styles better than freshly shampooed.)
- Mist hair lightly. Wet it just enough to dampen the cuticle without the water penetrating the full hair shaft which can cause frizz.
- Roll your hair up in the heatless curler. Find a variety of rolling techniques in the videos below. There’s a lot of thick hair on our team so we love the princess roll. Fair warning – we only do it at home and even then our kids laugh at the Princess Leia buns.
- Leave hair rolled for 2+ hours. Two hours can give most hair types a nice wave or curl. For very thick or very straight hair, you may need three hours. You can also leave it in overnight.
CharlieCurls Holistic Styling Regimen
Through healthier and sustainable approaches to repair hair, you’ll be amazed at how much better hair looks and behaves with heatless styling.
CharlieCurls’ Heatless Hairstyling Kit includes their original styler, a continuous fine mist eco-sprayer to let you set hair with water (more on that below), as well as a wooden comb, which combats flyaways and smoothes hair before you wrap it in the styler.
Wood, like hair, is carbon-based and doesn’t conduct electricity like plastics and cheap metals. So a wooden comb actually keeps your hair free from static damage.
Why We Love CharlieCurls
There are so many benefits to simplifying life with kids. Whether it means streamlining your morning routine or easing tricky situations with your child’s hair – all the sanity saving makes a difference.
Here are more reasons why moms love this genius hair styler.
- You get to brush through soft waves instead of morning tangles.
- Hair is curled without causing any damage or hurtful styling.
- No energy is wasted because there’s no heat involved.
- You don’t need chemical hair products (or to waste plastic bottles of styling product)
- Less effort – whether you’re doing your own hair or your child’s.
- You can use it anytime and anywhere (while playing with your kids, doing work from home, walking the dog, or even doing yoga).
- The CharlieCurls styler is just one piece that’s easy to keep up with.
- If you love the Wanderlust lifestyle (and still want to look good for those Instagram posts) this heatless styler is perfect. It’s lightweight and requires no electricity.
- CharlieCurls is plastic-free.
Is There a Learning Curve?
Your first few times using a CharlieCurls styler may involve a bit of trial and error. The good news is that it’s nowhere near as complicated (or as high stakes) as learning to use a menstrual cup.
The worst I’ve experienced is that my ends look a little wonky if I didn’t tuck them properly before rolling it up. And sometimes I don’t leave it in long enough to get waves that stay all day. But the experimenting is definitely worth the immediate and long-term benefits to your hair… and your time.
It’s actually easy enough for kids to use, too. And you won’t have to worry about your child getting a burn from a curling iron. Plus kids feel empowered not having to wait for a parent to do their hair.
The no-heat approach has an added benefit where you can wash your hair less often, retraining your scalp to stop overproducing oils. The result is a naturally balanced ecosystem for your hair.
Heatless Hair Styling Options
As warmer weather is (thankfully) on the way, now is a great time to switch to a heatless styling option.
The CharlieCurls set is no longer available, but you can still find heatless curling tools elsewhere. The Kitsch Satin Hair Rollers are also extremely easy to use and cause no damage or pulling to hair.
Kitsch is the same brand that makes the amazing rice shampoo bar we rave about. It leaves hair clean and beautifully moisturized. Plus it’s plastic free and helps us achieve our almost zero waste bathroom goals.
Feel free to ask questions here in the comments.