One of the best things about having natural hair is the ability to style it in so many different ways. You can wear it in braids, faux locs, braided in a weave or wig, or simply out in its natural curl pattern. If you choose the latter option, you might find it difficult in the warmer months when humidity can heavily impact a style. Fortunately, there are protective hairstyles, like a braid out, that can prolong your style and a variety of products that can protect it from humidity and other elements during the summer.
Although braid outs and twist outs are often seen on social media as interchangeable, there is a clear difference. “Twist outs tend to be wavier, depending on the hairs texture and length, while braid outs will offer a more stretched look,” shares Jennifer Covington-Bowers, Hairstory hairdresser. Braid outs, the hairstyle that derives from braids, are great because they require no washing, conditioning, or heat, and it gives your hair more length since you don’t have to worry about soaking your hair (aka no shrinkage).
“Braid outs stretch the hair out much longer than it would if it were to dry naturally,” says Briana Dunning, hairstylist for Strike. The best part, braid outs will also give you two different hairstyles — one with the braids and one when you remove the braids — allowing you to style in high or low puffs, buns, half-up half-down, and any other style you choose.
To inspire you to try out the braid-out on your natural hair, TZR spoke to three expert hair stylists for the top seven ways to wear the look. Read on to learn how you can recreate braid-out styles at home and the products to maintain the style.
Whether you choose to braid hair into one French braid or multiple, this is a great braid out to preserve your currently style. When you are ready to unravel the plaits, slowly divide each strand from root to tip to achieve volume and fullness to your hair. Lastly, shake hair to loosen it. If you want to hold onto this intricate pattern, Danielle Priano, celebrity hairstylist, recommends covering your head with a bonnet and scarf when you sleep to prevent frizz.
Old Hollywood Volume
If you’re interested in a frizz-free look, using an oil or serum in the unraveling stage can help curb flyaways and create a more defined look. When removing your plaits, run a wide tooth comb through your hair for this full voluminous old Hollywood braid out. Pro tip: when taking a shower, utilize a water-resistant shower cap and minimize hot temperatures as both can cause shrinkage, shares Dunning.
As a rule of thumb: the tighter your braids are, the more defined pattern you will have. Make sure you have a leave-in conditioner and spray bottle on hand when implementing this braid out. Hair should be slightly damp (too wet will prevent the hair from setting properly) when first installed. Next, portion out your hair in sections and start braiding two or three strand plaits.
Voluminous Defined Curls
To achieve this fun summer look, create a head full of small braids for super voluminous defined curls. The most important thing about this braid-out is to detangle your hair properly to avoid any knots and potential shrinkage. For enhanced detangling, utilize a Denman brush. And for more volume and a more defined look, Dunning recommends getting a pick to pick out roots.
For effortless ringlet braid outs, opt for velcro rollers or flexi rods for this crimp-inspired curl. Braid outs tend to make ends appear straight, but having velcro rollers on hand will create a great curl at the ends for a bouncy, moisturized finish. Another option is to finger coil your ends once the braids are completely in. And feel free to add a little product to your fingertips to better secure the finger coil.
According to Covington-Bowers, moisture is key to this lived-in braid out style. The pro recommends a leave-in conditioner and curl creme like Hairstory Hair Balm for deeply moisturizing the hair while also helping to define curls. You can also use a wide tooth comb to make sure the curl cream or styler goes from root to tip to coat each section of the hair.
Big And Bold
According to Dunning, bigger and looser section braids will create a more expansive texture — giving less definition but also less time to dry. The pro recommends budgeting 24 hours to dry, depending on the density and porosity of your hair. “Make sure to let hair dry properly as taking them out prematurely will result in frizz and less definition,” the pro tells TZR. When you remove the braids, remember to be gentle to avoid damage and frizz.
Ready to try your new braid out style? Below are some expert-vetted products.
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