Wet-Setting: How To Get Straightened Hair Without The Heat

A big, bouncy blowout is the undeniable hairstyle star of the last several months. This '90s callback hairstyle gets you straight, shiny, voluminous hair with a soft, flirty curve. Likewise, flatter, more 2000s-inspired straight hair has been popping up in the fashion scene, with people sporting long, sleek styles. Unfortunately, unless you were born with naturally straight hair, it takes a good amount of heat styling to achieve most of these popular styles.

Regularly using heat styling tools exposes your hair to significant heat damage. Per Dyson, temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit can alter the protein structures in your hair. Since hair straighteners often heat up to well over 300 degrees, you're looking at quite a bit of damage if you straighten your hair multiple times a week. Even if you just use a blow dryer to straighten your hair, you will still be exposing your hair to intense heat.

Luckily, there are other ways to get straight, glossy hair without touching a heat styling tool. The traditional heatless styling method involves an old-school beauty item: hair rollers. With velcro or clip-in rollers, you can wet-set your hair into a fabulous straightened, blowout-style look. While the method takes longer than a straightener or blow dryer, the process is fairly easy and the results are gorgeous.

How to prepare your hair for wet-setting

Unlike hot rollers, which use heat to set your hair, velcro rollers use good old-fashioned air drying. Start with wet, freshly washed hair. Since wet-setting hair takes a long time, you'll probably want to maintain the hairstyle for a few days; so it's a good idea for your scalp and hair to start out clean.

Gently dry your hair with a towel. To prevent frizz, gently pat your hair with a towel. If you can, use a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt to dry your hair, as these materials are less abrasive than a typical bath towel. Towel dry your hair enough that it is damp instead of soaking wet — rolling super-wet hair into your scalp does not produce good results!

Detangle your damp hair with a comb. Any tangles will be quite painful to negotiate around velcro rollers, so be thorough when combing your hair. Once your hair is detangled, apply a generous amount of mousse. Like gel or hairspray, mousse will create hold in your hairstyle, which you'll need to properly execute a wet-set. Run the mousse through your hair, making sure it coats all the strands. After these prep steps, you'll be ready to create your wet set.

Wet-setting your hair with rollers

As long as your hair is detangled, partially dry, and prepped with mousse, placing your hair rollers shouldn't be hard. Divide your hair into sections that are about an inch wide, wrap your hair around the rollers, and secure them to your head, following the usage instructions for the type of rollers you have. The denser your hair, the more sections you'll need. Follow up with a hairspray or other kind of setting spray for additional hold.

Once you've put in your rollers, all you need to do is wait. Since drying takes a while, many people like to wrap their hair in a bonnet or scarf and let it dry overnight. When your hair is dry, you can gently remove the rollers. If you use velcro rollers, take it slow to avoid ripping out any hairs. Brush out your hair until you achieve the texture and shape you like. The initial results are usually bouncier than you want, but the more you brush, the straighter and smoother the style will get.

Although wet-setting takes longer than heat-styling, you will come away with beautifully straightened hair with a classic, distinctive look. Plus, if you protect your hair while you sleep, you can wear this style for several days without risking any heat damage, making wet-setting a fantastic addition to your hairstyle repertoire.