Having a mane of beachy waves and protecting your hair from intense heat don’t have to be mutually exclusive—here’s how to style your hair sans hot tools.

By Anneke Knot
July 01, 2020
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The year is 2014, I lived a half hour away from my high school. Coming back from practices or rehearsals, I didn’t mind the extra drive, but in the mornings, I struggled to wake up for my 5:45 AM alarm. My snooze button may or may not have been abused (especially on Monday mornings). My penchant for a few extra minutes of ZZZs and desire for cute hair were often at odds, so I decided to find a solution. I experimented with all kinds of sleep styling—I slept in wet messy, buns, ponytails, and braids. After a few tries, I realized braids worked the most consistently and made that a staple style. 

Freeze frame, record scratch, flash forward to 2020, this little trick has reestablished itself in my beauty rituals. I may not be waking up to get to class on time, but I am definitely testing my snooze button dangerously close to 9 AM. These days, I can’t always muster up the energy to spend a ton of time on my hairstyle, so many mornings I have resorted to a messy bun or last minute ponytail. After deciding that my coworkers had seen far too many of my flyaways, I decided it was time to marry the best of both worlds: a cute style with little to no effort on my part. Ta-da! The wet braids were born—er—reborn! Follow the instructions below to create your own.

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1

I have best results when my hair is damp. If it is soaking, you run the risk of waking up with wet strands.

2

I started adding mousse to diminish frizz and add hold. I love the Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Mousse ($8; amazon.com). It still works without it, but my success rate was much higher after adding.

3

These do not have to be perfect. I repeat: these do not have to be perfect. The beauty of this style is you do not have to be exact. Rejoice in your messiness, free your fingers, get it done as quickly as possible and get to sleep.

I chose to French braid each side, but you can accomplish something similar by just braiding both sides or doing a single braid. It all depends on your style preference.

4

In the morning, voila! Just take out your hair ties—the Slip Silk Scrunchies ($39 for 3; nordstrom.com) feel like a cloud—and unwind the braids. Add a little TRESemmé TRES Two Extra Firm Hairspray ($6; ulta.com) to finish.