Hair Tutorial: Easy overnight loose waves (no iron required)

seahorse and teal skirt3

J.Crew seahorse dress (last worn here) as a top, thrifted & altered skirt,  
J.Crew Everly pumps (from eBay), Parentesi bag (sold out, but they make other cute work bags here)

This hairstyle is so easy that it may not warrant a tutorial, but I’ve received many requests on past posts for a how-to. When my hair gets too long and I’m short on time, I often use this quick trick before bed to add texture. U by Kotex asked me to share about one of their promotions, along with a hair tutorial involving their current gift with purchase (which is the only tool you need for this style). From now until October 4th, text KOTEX to TARGET (or 827438) to receive a coupon for a free pack of Goody hair elastics when you purchase two U by Kotex products. I’m already a customer of the latter, so a free supply of hair ties (where do they always disappear to?) on my Target stock-up trips gets no complaints from me.
seahorse and teal skirt2
As some background, I have coarse and thick hair that dries naturally into frizzy waves. Not soft, sexy, waves…but rather scary mushroom head waves. I usually wash my hair at night so it flattens down when I sleep on it. For this hairstyle, I suggest starting with 90% dry hair to avoid the myriad of ailments (possibly all fabricated by moms and grandmas around the world) that may result from sleeping on wet hair.

Brush your nearly dry hair well and part into at least two sections, depending on the thickness of your hair. I showed 4 sections here for super thick hair, but prefer the results of 2.
goody hair tutorial 1

Roll hair sections into loose buns and secure with elastics. If you did more than two sections, you can layer onto two buns (as shown below) so it doesn’t feel like a bushel of oranges hanging off your head.

goody hair tutorial 2

Two loose buns will usually suffice for thick hair. The smaller your buns are, the smaller the resulting waves – too small/tightly tied buns will result in crinkles instead of waves, and no one wants that!

goody hair tutorial 3
Next, get a good night’s rest. In the morning, simply remove elastics and run your fingers through to comb out the buns. The wavy shape gets “sealed” as your hair finishes drying overnight, but add hairspray before taking out the buns if your curls usually don’t hold.
goody hair tutorial 4
Finishing touches: I have a flat head, so sometimes use an iron to add volume just to the top of my hair, as shown (make sure to keep some distance to not burn your scalp!). You can also use an iron to reshape any waves that may have gone wild during overnight tossing and turning. See here or here for a few of many past posts showing these bun waves.
seahorse and teal skirt

This hair post was sponsored by U by Kotex. To get the aforementioned offer, text KOTEX to TARGET (please note that standard texting rates may apply).

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. What products do you use? Even your "mushroom head" appears less frizzy and poofy than mine wikipedia backlinks

    Posted 6.9.15 Reply
  2. I tried this and major disaster 🙁 I have a feeling it won't work for me regardless but a couple questions if you see this 🙂

    1. What products do you use? Even your "mushroom head" appears less frizzy and poofy than mine

    2. I don't do many buns. Do you twist the hair before you twist it up in a bun? I did and wondering if that was part of the problem?

    3. I did 4 because my hair is very thick. The two side ones I twisted up high but now when I looked at yours again, it appears you kept them pretty low. Am I understanding that correctly?

    Thanks!! 😉

    Posted 6.4.14 Reply
  3. Oh and do you use any products??:)

    Posted 6.1.14 Reply
  4. From what you say, our hair is similar but I think mine is thicker and "puffier" than yours. Have used that same term "mushroom head' before! 🙂 I definitely have natural curls and can get them with time and products but just don't love the look. I normally straighten it but with hot, humid summer, it looks a hot mess 🙂 I can use curling iron on it to get nice waves, but takes much longer than straightening with flat iron. I just don't have that much time to wash/blow dry/curl. I am hoping this will work! If it does, honestly you will have changed my life! Ha!

    I'm curious just how damp it should be? I've tried other overnight tricks where it should be wet and it turns out all wonky and is nowhere near dry in the morning. If I dried it completely and then just spritzed with water, would that be damp enough? Want to make sure it is dry in the morning.

    Thank you!

    Posted 6.1.14 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I have the same exact type of hair as you! So thank you for this post, I've been looking for an easy way to get soft waves without damaging my hair with a curling iron. 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog posts, they are very informative and your outfits always look great. Thanks!

    Posted 12.27.13 Reply
  6. T wrote:

    Jean, I love your blog! I have the exact same type of hair, so I especially appreciate this post. 🙂

    I just have to chime in about not going to bed with wet hair! The reason has to do with temperature. You lose more heat from your head when it's wet, plus, your body temp naturally drops during sleep. Cold temperatures suppress the immune system, thus increasing your susceptibility to any viruses you may have been carrying.

    Posted 9.7.13 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    I accidentally stumbled upon your blog through one of your youtube reviews of a prada handbag.

    And I love your blog and style Jean!!!
    It's so different from other bloggers, yours I can see took alot of time and effort.

    Definitely going to follow your blog and other youtube videos.

    Posted 9.3.13 Reply
  8. You look beautiful as always!

    Maggie A
    Love Mavin

    Posted 9.2.13 Reply
  9. What beautiful hair, Jean, you look stunning!

    I really really like your top in this post too, you always wear such good quality clothing. You're a real inspiration to look more 'polished'!


    Posted 9.1.13 Reply
  10. Rubai wrote:

    Can you do a review of the Parentesi bag? Debating it but I hate buying things not-in-store

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  11. Tanya wrote:
    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  12. Jean wrote:

    Hi there, it definitely doesn't work for all dresses, but this was so thin (I accidentally ordered a swimsuit coverup thinking it was a 'dress') that the only benefit was how easy it was to tuck in.

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  13. Jean wrote:

    So neat! Haven't seen this so thanks for sharing! And too funny that puffy mushroom is universal.

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  14. Jean wrote:

    Hi there – only 2 hair ties total to answer a question : )

    Also I just watched a tutorial linked by two ladies here and they both look awesome! Worth trying if the buns don't work for you…

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  15. Jean wrote:

    I guess I've gotten used to it and maybe turn a lot on the side, but can see how it might be uncomfortable with lumps there.

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  16. Jean wrote:

    So cool! Her hair looks amazing! I guess the curl definition product works wonders too…thanks for sharing!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  17. Jean wrote:

    I love Savers / Value Village because they sort items by size!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  18. Jean wrote:

    Hi Lils, maybe try some of the other neat links some ladies left on this post? The "socks" curl looks so cool!

    Nailpolish is OPI thrill of brazil : )

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  19. I love the entire outfit and also your hair! They look like mine 🙂

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  20. I love the entire outfit and also your hair! They look like mine 🙂

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  21. Gorgeous outfit!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    i've tried this many times and it never turns out as nice as yours. it just looks like a mess. 🙁

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  23. Lils wrote:

    I tried this but my buns came undone while I slept, probably because I move around. Any other tips. Also what color nailpolish are you wearing?

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  24. ....... wrote:

    love loose pretty waves! thanks for sharing a great tutorial! xx. gigi.

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    You mention some of your buys from thrifty stores…any recommendations on which ones?

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    You may want to try this socks curl –


    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  27. b wrote:

    My mom also told me not to sleep with wet hair because I would get a headache. I didn't believe her and did so. It was ok during my teens years, but now that I am in my twenties, I get massive headaches if I do that. I looked it up online and saw that there's actually scientific explanation on the particular phenomenon. I've also read things about not washing hair during period (especially the first day), which my mom also told me. guess there is wisdom in old teachings.

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  28. Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  29. Love the hairstyling tip!

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    hahaha.. i was told id get headaches forever if i dared to walk outside (especially in the winter) with wet hair. was also told that i shouldnt sleep with the fan on because i'd die in my sleep.

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  31. Olivia J wrote:

    Great tutorial. I always have pretty curls and the second I walk outside…BAM…all gone.

    Corporate Catwalk
    Facebook Page

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  32. Carol Li wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. I will try out my new do this week 🙂

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  33. great, its time saving way to get curls thanks a lot, by the way you look awesome in that dress

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  34. Julie_San wrote:

    I tried it and my hair looks no where as good as yours. Tough love from my hair as always. I love the outfit!

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  35. great tutorial and I'm loving that outfit — that top and and color of skirt look beautiful together! xo

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  36. Ann wrote:

    Very informative tutorial!

    But wouldn't bunching up your hair into buns get in the way of sleeping, especially if you tend to sleep on your back?

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  37. Your hair look beautiful! I will try this on my hair tonight, trying to avoid heat!
    Btw great outfit! love the color of your skirt too!

    Google + / Twitter / Bloglovin

    cassandra xx

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    LOL! my mother says I'll catch pneumonia and never wash your hair on the first day of your period! lmao

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  39. Anonymous wrote:

    so true about ailments being concocted about sleeping with wet hair…my filipina nanny told me i'd go blind and crazy if i did lol. she also told me not to bake during my period because the cake wouldn't rise haha.

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  40. love the outfit and i am trying the hair asap!:)))

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  41. Anonymous wrote:

    i love the way it looks on you!
    QUESTION – after I divide my hair into 2 and tie with elastics, do I use another elastic to secure the bun OR do I pull off the elastic of the parted hair and use that to secure the elastic? So in other words, if I part by two, will I use 2 hair ties or 4 hair ties total?


    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  42. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I have similar hair texture. My stylist calls it puffy mushroom. Awesome, right? I started using mousse and it helps a lot. I'm using a product by Giovanni called Natural Mousse Air-turbo Charged Hair Styling Foam. I'm sure others work as well, but of the eco options, this one was ranked best, and I like it.

    Thanks for sharing the hair tip. I've always admired your hair. I'll give the buns a go also, but I have shorter hair and it might not work as well as with your long hair. Have you seen the headband trick?

    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  43. Anonymous wrote:

    What a beautiful outfit! Love the green skirt!


    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  44. Awesome hair tip! I will be trying this :)! Thanks for sharing.

    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  45. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, how do you comfortably fit a dress inside a fitted-pencil skirt without having it being bulgy?? You always amaze me.. I feel like it's impossible for me to attempt that!!

    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  46. Brittney wrote:

    Your finished result looks lovely! Whenever I try for overnight curls, I end up rolling over on the buns and crushing the shape. I guess you have to be very careful to sleep on your side.


    Posted 8.27.13 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?