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).

47 thoughts on “Hair Tutorial: Easy overnight loose waves (no iron required)

  • Reply Brittney August 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    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.


  • Reply Anonymous August 27, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    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!!

  • Reply simplybeccablog August 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Awesome hair tip! I will be trying this :)! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Anonymous August 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    What a beautiful outfit! Love the green skirt!


  • Reply Anonymous August 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    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?

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

    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?


  • Reply Style-Squared August 28, 2013 at 4:20 am

    love the outfit and i am trying the hair asap!:)))

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

    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.

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

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

  • Reply Cassandra Too August 28, 2013 at 11:33 am

    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

  • Reply Ann August 28, 2013 at 11:53 am

    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?

  • Reply pretty little things August 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    great tutorial and I'm loving that outfit — that top and and color of skirt look beautiful together! xo

  • Reply Julie_San August 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

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

  • Reply rodelmalopez August 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

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

  • Reply Carol Li August 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

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

  • Reply Olivia J August 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

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

    Corporate Catwalk
    Facebook Page

  • Reply Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    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.

  • Reply opportunityknits August 28, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Love the hairstyling tip!

  • Reply the|avantguardian August 29, 2013 at 3:53 am
  • Reply b August 29, 2013 at 4:56 am

    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.

  • Reply Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

    You may want to try this socks curl –


  • Reply Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

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

  • Reply ....... August 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

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

  • Reply Lils August 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    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?

  • Reply Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm

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

  • Reply chicanalyst August 30, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Gorgeous outfit!

  • Reply la vie en rose August 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

    I love the entire outfit and also your hair! They look like mine 🙂

  • Reply lavieenrosebysilvyp August 30, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I love the entire outfit and also your hair! They look like mine 🙂

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    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 : )

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm

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

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm

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

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    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.

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    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…

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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

  • Reply Jean August 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    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.

  • Reply Tanya August 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm
  • Reply Rubai August 30, 2013 at 11:09 pm

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

  • Reply Flora Amies September 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    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'!


  • Reply Maggie Adofo September 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    You look beautiful as always!

    Maggie A
    Love Mavin

  • Reply Anonymous September 3, 2013 at 2:46 am

    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.

  • Reply T September 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    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.

  • Reply Anonymous December 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    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!

  • Reply Connie Kvien June 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    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!

  • Reply Connie Kvien June 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Oh and do you use any products??:)

  • Reply Connie Kvien June 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    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!! 😉

  • Reply Jade Graham June 9, 2015 at 6:05 am

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.