For those with textured hair, “heatless curls” often entail your everyday air-dry. But if you have a looser strand pattern, like 2A or 2B waves (i.e., fairly straight roots with wavy ends), you may need a little extra help adding body and structure.
If this sounds like a familiar scenario, you may find success with this easy solution: I recently stumbled across Crown Affair founder Dianna Cohen’s air-dry hack on TikTok and was floored by her perfectly tousled and bouncy beach waves—she honestly looks like she just stepped out of a blowout. Ahead, find exactly how to nail her “clip and twist” method.
How to master the clip & twist air-dry technique.
As with any air-dry, you’ll want to first form the strands with nourishing, hydrating products. Although, if you have looser waves, you’ll want to towel-dry your hair a bit before reaching for a lightweight styling product to secure more volume (as opposed to those with defined curls, who will want to apply products on sopping-wet locks). Cohen uses a soft microfiber towel to absorb extra moisture—these provide less friction on the strands than traditional terry cloth, which minimizes frizz.
For her stylers, she applies two pumps of leave-in conditioner and a hair oil (both from Crown Affair, of course) from mid-lengths to ends, and uses the brand’s wide-tooth comb to gently detangle her tresses. “Your hair as a fiber is super vulnerable when it’s wet,” she says, so be patient during this process—no need to hack your way through knots and snarls.
Once your hair is aptly hydrated and detangled, it’s time to clip: Grab the two front sections of your hair in both hands and twist them away from your face. Wrap both sections around your head and secure the ends with a small to medium hair clip at the back of your head, kind of like you’re creating a half-up, half-down style. Make sure the clip locks firmly in place.
Next, gather the rest of your hair and split it into two sections. Twist each section with both hands, again twisting away from your face. Clip the ends in front of your face and let the strands hang (you might look like you have a long wizard beard for the time being, but a funky ‘do is the price we pay for salon-quality heatless waves). “When you’re twisting the bottom, make sure you get all of that hair in,” Cohen adds, or the forgotten strands might fall limp. If you have denser hair, she says feel free to split the bottom sections into four instead of two—you’ll just need an extra hair clip to secure it in place.
Then all you have to do is try to keep still while your hair dries; for Cohen, that takes 45 minutes or so, but you may have to spend more or less time with the clips depending on your hair’s porosity and dry time. Once her hair is about 90% dry, Cohen removes the clips, shakes out her strands, and allows her hair to dry the final rest of the way.
The result? Cohen’s waves are fluffy and full of body, with a little extra definition in the front pieces. Seriously, it looks like she took a curling wand to her strands. If you find the viral sock-curling method a bit too defined for your liking (it typically delivers a tighter barrel curl), you’ll love this easy technique—it offers perfect, low-key beach waves.
Cohen’s “clip and twist” air-dry method is great for those with loose waves hoping to define their strand pattern. I haven’t yet seen this trick on curlier hair types (curly heads might want to gravitate toward hair plopping or flexirods for more defined ringlets, anyway), but if you regularly twist your strands to create an impression on the hair, you might find success.