I Tried It: Kitsch Heatless Curls Review (Before & After Pics)

February 24, 2023 — Written by

Don’t you wish you could just wake up looking like *poof* ready to go, my hair looks amazing? Yeah us too. Heatless curling systems are all the rage just for that reason, but do they live up to the hype and which heatless curlers are the best? We are taking on this challenge in 2024 so BUCKLE UP as we review, with before and after pics, the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set. 

A woman with long wavy gray hair takes out her Kitsch heatless curling set.
Lisa puts her hair into the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set.

By: Lisa Fennessy, Nicolle Mackinnon and Kristy Taylor

IN THIS POST:



As a child of the 80s, I grew up obsessed with magic. I tried casting spells with dried leaves and rocks. I attempted to make things levitate with an intent eye gaze. I put my fingers together like Evie from Out of this World to try and stop time and I tried granting wishes with a blink and a quick head nod like Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie.

As you can guess, none of these attempts worked—but that didn’t stop me from trying. 

RELATED: The best heat protectants for all hair types—gray and beyond.


What are heatless hair curlers?

Fast forward 35 years and here I am dabbling in a little bit of real life magic via heatless hair curlers. Heatless curls are just that: they promise to curl your hair WITHOUT heat.

Using less heat on your hair is a draw to anyone who wants to save time. It also reduces damage, breakage and split ends that are often a byproduct of applying heat to hair. And it’s especially a draw for anyone with gray hair because not only does it reduce heat damage, it also reduces the chances that gray hair will turn yellow or brassy looking. (And if you are in that boat, heatless curling systems is one way to reduce brassiness; using purple shampoo is another.)

We have been testing the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set over the past few months (Nicolle has actually been using it for years) and although it’s not perfect, it gets pretty close to it. Here’s the skinny, how to use it plus what we liked and what we didn’t. 

Relatedly, on the days when you don’t have time for heatless curls, we’ve test the Shark styling tools, the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer and the Dyson Airwrap Styler.


Lisa holds up the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set
Lisa holds up the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set

What are Kitsch heatless curlers?

The Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set is basically a soft, fabric rod that shapes hair using time instead of heat. Kitsch calls this set “the original heatless curling set” and it comes with a satin curling rod and two scrunchies. This set sells for $18 and can be used an unlimited number of times (which makes the cost / curl a fraction of a penny if you want me to justify this purchase for you, lol).

I couldn’t find materials details on Kitsch’s website so we checked in with them, and here’s what they said: “The curling set and the scrunchies are made of satin polyester and the foam inside is made of Polyurethane Sponge.” These aren’t my favorite materials, but this is one of the most popular heatless curl systems on the market, so we wanted to review it. If you want to make a more sustainable choice, the LILYSILK Heatless Silk Curling Headband is a great comp that’s made of mulberry silk and is OEKO-TEX Certified. The only downside to the LILYSILK option is it’s a little more structured / stiff compared to Kitsch’s which makes it harder to sleep on (comparatively speaking).

Save: Code NEWKNEW will save you 15% off at Kitsch. Code TNK10 will save you 10% on all orders and TNK20 will save you 20% on orders over $500 at Lilysilk.

RELATED: The best clean, natural shampoo I’ve tried


How to use the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set

Let me start by saying, regardless of experience or coordination, ANYONE CAN DO THIS. And in fact, with a little bit of practice it actually gets, dare I say, EASY (!!) over time. Here’s how to use the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set, PLUS a few of our own pro tips to follow. 

  1. Make sure hair is dry or use a spray bottle to dampen hair just a tad. (If hair is too wet or too damp, you risk it not drying and the curl not holding.)
  2. Place the center of the curling rod on top of your head, in the center, so it hangs over both sides of your face equally. 
  3. Secure the middle of the rod in place with a large hair clip (try this one). 
  4. Spilt hair in half, down the back of your head.
  5. Starting with one side of the hair that is closest to your face, wrap around the rod, picking up more chunks of hair with each turn of the rod (like you are French braiding). 
  6. Secure ends in place with scrunchies. 
  7. Repeat on the other side.
  8. Leave this in overnight and take it out gently in the morning. 

And if you’re more of a visual learner, we gotchu! Check out this video of me putting in my Kitsch heatless curls set. 👇

How I put in my Kitsch heatless curls set.

How to troubleshoot using the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set plus pro tips

After using this set for a couple of months, I have a lot to say about this system so I’m just going to throw it all out there in no particular order. 

First, part of the marketing here says this tool helps to reduce frizz and in my experience, that has not been true. I have naturally wavy hair so if I let my hair air dry it frizzes out a bit. AND if I wrap my frizzy air dried hair at night, I wake up with frizzy curls in the morning. This tool will not necessarily defrizz your hair. 

Likewise, the smoother my hair is before it’s wrapped, the smoother my curls will look the next day. In my experience, this means hitting my hair with a blowdryer to smooth hair before wrapping which I realize negates the whole “heatless curls” sitch but…if I let my hair air dry most of the way and hit it with a dryer for a couple of minutes at the very end it’s still technically a “less heat” curl. 

Nicolle jumping in here for a minute: “I agree on these points—my hair is thin, wavy/curly and VERY prone to frizz. I actually will smooth out the top layer of my hair and my long bangs with a blow dryer and round brush before putting Kitsch in to eliminate the chance of additional frizz. So, again, not entirely heatless, but a significant heat reduction from blow drying and curling with a hot curling iron.” 

Now, considering we’ve all got our pre-hair status under wraps, here’s a few ways you can use the Kitsch Satin heatless Curling set to achieve your desired look. 

woman using spf for hair
Lisa applies hair product to her hair before styling.

Before putting in the Kitsch heatless curlers: add styling product to your hair

If you have hair that doesn’t take a curl that well or you want your hair to hold a curl a bit longer, consider adding a styling product to your hair while it’s wet out of the shower. Then allow your hair to dry as normal and by the time you go to wrap it later on, it will already have product in it. Innersense’s Whipped Cream Hair Texturizer is one of my faves. 

Nicolle uses EVOLVh’s WonderBalm or TotalControl Styling Creme.

Wrap chunks of hair bit by bit

Forgoing the “French braid” wrapping technique, you can pick up smaller chunks of hair and wrap them bit by bit. This will give you a tighter curl. I don’t love this look because the curl comes out with no curl on the top of my head and a tight curl from my chin down. That being said, it’s a stark dichotomy in the morning, but by the afternoon it looks a lot better as it falls out a bit. 

The back of a woman's hair after overnight Kitsch test
My hair immediately after using Kitsch heatless curls overnight.

In that same vein, if you wrap your hair all in the same direction doing this, you have the chance at getting that beach wave look in the afternoon or the next day as the curls fall down a bit (see Nicolle’s photo below). If you wrap your hair with one chunk going one way and another chunk going another way, you will retain that individual curl look longer. 

A woman with long wavy blonde hair.
Nicolle’s hair on day 2 of using Kitsch heatless curler overnight.

Chunk wrapping hair all at once 

You can also take larger chunks of hair (or all of your hair depending on your length and hair type) and wrap that around the rod in one fell swoop. Generally, this will add more of a wave and body to your hair, rather than an individual curl look.

Damp v. dry hair 

You will see some reviews telling you you have to start with damp hair. YOU DON’T. But it also really depends on your hair type. For me, I have naturally wavy hair that holds a curl really well so I can use this on dry hair with no product and my curl will hold all the next day. 

But if you have stick-straight hair, you might want to consider putting the Kitsch set in when your hair is damp, or spritzing your hair with a bit of water before wrapping it. You might also want to consider adding some product

One thing is for sure though: if you wrap your hair too wet, you run the risk of your hair not drying overnight and if that happens, you won’t have any curls either. You might have to try it a few ways / times to figure out how it works best for your hair / how you like your curls to look.

A woman with long wavy blonde hair after using Kitsch heatless curls.
Nicolle’s hair immediately after using Kitsch heatless curls with the ends of her hair left out.

Leave the ends out

For a less polished, more beachy look, secure the scrunchies with the ends sticking out. This will leave the ends straight and pokey rather than having them make a full curl. 

Wear it during the day

So many reviews will tell you this is so comfortable to sleep in. I wouldn’t describe it that way (and neither would Nicolle or Kristy). I’m such a light sleeper and the littlest things can impede my sleep, so having a satin covered foam rod wrapped around my head isn’t my definition of comfort. 

I actually think the way I prefer to use this is to throw it in during the day and wear it around the house in preparation for a night event or a dinner out. I found that if I keep it in for at least 2 hours, it will still curl my hair (see the before and after pics here). 

Use a silk scarf or a hair wrap

I toss and turn like the dickens when I sleep. And I haven’t done this yet, but I’m thinking a silk scarf or a hair wrap would help to reduce frizz from the overnight roll around festival I attend nightly. Also this would help if you wanted the curl to last a second day too. I have my eye on this one

How Nicolle styles her hair after using Kitsch heatless curlers.

After taking out Kitsch heatless curlers: add more styling product! 

When your curl gets to the place of “I like it like this,” use hairspray to keep it that way. It could be a couple of hours after taking the rod out or maybe it’s right away. This will help the curl hold longer. We like Josh Rosebrook’s Hair Spray.

And for more shine and pieciness, you can try working a hair oil through your hair after you take out the rod. Our favorite one is I Create Shine by Innersense. See Nicolle applying it above.


Does the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set work?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is, it could take some trial and error to get the look you want. Be sure to check out our pro tips and FAQs for more. 


What is the best type of hair for the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set?

We found that medium to long hair (that’s also naturally wavy) works best. If you have hair that won’t keep a curl from a curling iron or hair curlers, don’t expect magic to happen here. Also if you have short hair that won’t make a full wrap around the rod, that won’t work either. Same goes for already kinky-curly hair.


Kitsch Before and After Pics 

Nicolle, Kristy and I all put Kitsch’s Satin Heatless Curling Set to the test, and we have MANY before and after pics!

For comparison sake, my hair is long and wavy and on the thicker side. I can technically diffuse it and it will curl…or it used to. I haven’t done that in a while. If I let my hair air dry it will curl in some spots around my ears and in the back. My hair has always taken and held curls well.

The back of Lisa's hair after overnight Kitsch test
My hair immediately after using Kitsch heatless curls overnight.
A woman with long wavy gray hair after using Kitsch heatless curls.
My hair at 10 am after using Kitsch heatless curls overnight.
A woman with long wavy gray hair after using Kitsch heatless curls.
My hair at 6 pm after using Kitsch heatless curls overnight.

Now, I showed you what my hair looks like after using this system overnight but here’s what my hair looks like after using the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set in the morning. For this pic, I put it in at 9am and took it out at 11am. Not bad!

A woman with the Kitsch heatless curls set in her hair.
Me using Kitsch heatless curls set in the morning.
A woman with long wavy gray hair after using the Kitsch heatless curls set in her hair.
Me after using the Kitsch heatless curls set for 2 hours only.

Nicolle’s hair + personal experience with Kitsch

My hair is thin, naturally wavy/curly and prone to frizz. If I let it air dry, the front half is tightly curled, and the long back is just wavy. I can diffuse it into a pretty tight curl (not kinky curly), but it goes flat fairly easily. Basically my hair is incredibly malleable. When I use Kitsch overnight, I can get the curls to last 4 days, easy. I only use Kitsch when my hair is totally dry, because otherwise, it’s a little too reminiscent of my elementary school picture day photo from the early 90s (RIP crimped-curled BIG hair). 

Here’s what my hair looks like wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day, over time:

A woman with long blonde hair immediately after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day.
Nicolle’s hair immediately after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day.
A woman with long blonde hair about 3 hours after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day
Nicolle’s hair 3 hours after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day.
A woman with long blonde hair about 7 hours after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day.
Nicolle’s hair 7 hours after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day.

And here’s what my hair looks like when I use Kitsch overnight:

A woman with long blonde hair immediately after wearing Kitsch overnight.
Nicolle’s hair immediately after wearing Kitsch overnight.
The side view of a woman's hair immediately after wearing Kitsch overnight.
Side view of Nicolle’s hair immediately after wearing Kitsch overnight.
A woman's hair the second day after wearing Kitsch overnight.
Nicolle’s hair the second day after wearing Kitsch overnight.

I think I like it best after wearing the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set overnight, but after it’s fallen a bit by midday. The curls hold for me for nearly 4 whole days after using it like this! (I also sleep with my hair in a very loose high bun, secured with these tiny clips so it doesn’t go flat or turn into a rat’s nest.) 

Kristy’s hair + personal experience with Kitsch

My hair is fine and stick straight. It’s the type of hair that loses curl from a curling iron after approx 15 mins, so my hopes were not high for the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set. Was I shocked by the results? No, but I did find that it actually worked okay if I used it on unwashed hair. I think I could see improvements if I try some of the products that Lisa and Nicolle recommend.

A woman smiles while wearing the Kitsch heatless curling set.
Kristy’s hair while wearing Kitsch heatless curls with clean hair for three hours during the day.
A woman with long brown hair after wearing the Kitsch heatless curling set.
Kristy’s hair after wearing Kitsch heatless curls with clean hair for three hours during the day.

Here’s what my dirty hair (day 2 since washing) looks like after wearing Kitsch for three hours during the day, over time:

A woman's hair while wearing Kitsch heatless curls with dirty hair for three hours during the day.
Kristy’s hair while wearing Kitsch heatless curls with dirty hair for three hours during the day.
A woman's hair while wearing Kitsch heatless curls with dirty hair for three hours during the day.
Kristy’s hair while wearing Kitsch heatless curls with dirty hair for three hours during the day.


Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set: What we liked

  • The price is great considering you can get unlimited uses from this tool. 
  • For naturally wavy hair, it delivers a curl that stays all day without using heat. 
  • Saves hair from additional heat damage. 
  • Easy-ish to use. 
  • Doesn’t take a lot of time to put in…like 5 minutes or less when you get used to it. 
  • Easy to pack in a bag and take on trips. 
  • You won’t ever burn your forehead or your arm trying to use this, lol.
  • Gender and age neutral. 

Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set: What we didn’t like 

  • I hate sleeping with this thing in. It’s distracting and it’s not comfortable. I don’t sleep great to begin with and sleeping on a rod (satin or not) doesn’t help. 
  • I wish the rod came in length options to accommodate longer hair. 
  • The tutorial shows the user clipping the rod in place with a hair clip but no hair clip is included.
  • I had to use this 3-4 times before figuring out how to get the look I wanted.  
  • Doesn’t work on all types of hair (see Kristy’s review).
  • Claims to reduce frizz, but we didn’t find that to be true. 

Should you buy the Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set? 

Final answer? HECK YES! There are a few learning curves, but overall this tool is pretty easy to use and lets you wake up with cute hair in the morning with very minimal effort. 

Even though it doesn’t work perfectly on all hair types, it’s a minimal investment if you’re interested in saving time and reducing heat damage to your hair. BONUS: It won’t turn your gray (or blonde!) hair yellow.

It looks silly, yes, but the heatless nature is worth it to me, especially since I work from home AND have gray hair.


Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set shopping guide

To save on other ethical beauty and lifestyle brands, check out our EXCLUSIVE coupon codes!


Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set FAQs

Can you use Kitsch heatless curls on wet hair?

You can but you run the risk of your hair not drying and then the curls not setting. It’s better used on dry or slightly damp hair.

Can you use Kitsch heatless curls on dry hair?

We found that using Kitsch heatless curls on dry hair gave us the best results.

How do you sleep with kitsch heatless curls?

You don’t. Just kidding. If you are a back sleeper or a stomach sleeper, you are golden. If you are a side sleeper like me, I like to shift the rod back a bit so it sits towards the back of my head rather than the side of my head.

How long does it take for Kitsch heatless curls to set?

We found you will need to plan to keep this in for a minimum of 2 hours.

What is the best heatless curl method?

The best heatless curl method is one that will give you the desired results you want. If you like the results you see in the before and after pics above the curling rod method could be the best method for you.

Do heatless curls really work?

Yes! Check out our before & afters here.


Will you try the Kitsch heatless curler? Let us know your experience!

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

Kitsch Satin Heatless Curling Set Review (We Tried It!)
  • Price
    (5)
  • Ingredients
    (3)
  • Effectiveness
    (4.5)

Summary

Would I recommend the Kitsch Heatless Curling Set? HECK YES! There are a few learning curves, but overall this tool is pretty easy to use and lets you wake up with cute hair in the morning with very minimal effort. Even though it doesn’t work perfectly on all hair types, it’s a minimal investment if you’re interested in saving time and reducing heat damage to your hair.

Overall
4.2

Pros

  • The price is great considering you can get unlimited uses from this tool. 
  • For naturally wavy hair, it delivers a curl that stays all day without using heat. 
  • Saves hair from additional heat damage. 
  • Easy-ish to use. 
  • Doesn’t take a lot of time to put in…like 5 minutes or less when you get used to it. 
  • Easy to pack in a bag and take on trips. 
  • You won’t ever burn your forehead or your arm trying to use this, lol.
  • Gender and age neutral. 

Cons

  • I hate sleeping with this thing in. It’s distracting and it’s not comfortable. I don’t sleep great to begin with and sleeping on a rod (satin or not) doesn’t help. 
  • I wish the rod came in length options to accommodate longer hair. 
  • The tutorial shows the user clipping the rod in place with a hair clip but no hair clip is included.
  • I had to use this 3-4 times before figuring out how to get the look I wanted.  
  • Doesn’t work on all types of hair (see Kristy’s review).
  • Claims to reduce frizz, but we didn’t find that to be true. 

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Mina

    My hair is very similar to how Nicolle described her, but I stopped coloring almost 5 years ago, so the grey I have is grown out but I’m still more pepper than salt. Would love to know what products she uses on her hair. Shamp/cond to styling products 🙂

    1. Reply

      Nicolle Mackinnon

      Hi Mina! Love hearing your gray hair story – I bet your hair looks great! I kinda use a few different things for hair styling, and I switch it up often, but these are my ride or die:
      Shampoo: EVOLVh Ultra Shine Moisture Shampoo
      Conditioner: Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Conditioner
      Styling: EVOLVh’s WonderBalm or TotalControl Styling Creme.
      Volumizing: Innersense I Create Hold
      When I want to wear my hair curly (mostly in the summer): Boucleme Curl Defining Gel
      Hairspray (not 100% clean and it’s an aerosol…): Aiir Professional Flexible Control Aiir Spray
      Hair oil: I Create Shine from Innersense

      LMK if you want any additional recs! 🙂

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