Braid-Outs Are One Of the Easiest Natural Styles to Create — Here's How To Do It
We spoke with celebrity stylist Chuck Amos to create a step-by-step guide.
Braids are really that girl when it comes to protective styling — and what makes them even better is that they can be a two-in-one deal. Because while plaits are a style all on their own, braid-outs (the look that's created once you've unraveled your strands) are just as cute.
"Braid-outs make such a great style because they elongate your natural the curl pattern and if done and dried properly, can last you up to five to seven days," says celebrity hairstylist and Ouidad brand ambassador Chuck Amos.
The best part about it? It's an extremely, extremely easy style. All you need are a few basics: detangling tools, moisturizing products formulated for natural hair — and this quick step-by-step guide from Amos himself.
What Are the Best Techniques For Creating a Braid-Out?
Whenever you're creating a fresh style, you want to be working on clean hair. So always make sure to start on curls that have just been washed and conditioned.
"Then, apply a curl cream or gel cream to your hair and make sure all the tangles are completely out, using a wide tooth comb to comb the product through, from root to tip," Amos suggests. "Make sure the product you're using are coating the entire section of your hair."
Next, section out your hair into two to three inch parts, then start at the roots and braid down to the ends. "Do not bring part of a strand into another section, because it will get thin," the hairstylist says. He also adds that you may also want to keep a couple rollers handy. "Braid-outs can tend to make the ends look straight, dead, and limp. I highly recommend you to use a perm rod at the end of your braid to curl the ends, so when you dry your hair, you not only get an elongated beautiful pattern, but you get beautiful bouncy curls at the end of your braid. When divided, that rod curled end will look like your natural hair's curl, completing the look of beautiful, defined, shiny, frizz-free curls."
You can also try finger coiling your ends as well.
Once you've finished doing the braids, you'll want to make sure the hair is completely dry (if you're air-drying, keep in mind that this can take up to two days depending on the thickness of your hair) before taking them out. However, if you're in a rush, you can use a handheld blow dryer or a bonnet dryer to speed things up.
When you're ready to unravel the plaits, be gentle, and remember to use an oil or serum to help curb frizz, if you want a super defined look.
"Go slowly, keeping each strand together as you unbraid," Amos says. "Take out all sections, then slowly divide each strand from root to tip, to achieve fullness to you hair. Shake your hair to loosen it. Then I recommend using your wide tooth comb to gently go into the roots, moving the comb in a circular motion and then pulling outwards away from the scalp around one-inch to create fullness."
VIDEO: How to Curl Your Hair Without Using Heat
What Products Should I Use for My Braid-Out?
You'll want to start off with nourishing cleansing products, like Briogeo's Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner, as well as an oil like Mizani's 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil for undoing the plaits. But when it comes to getting an ultra-defined finish, you'll want to reach for a good gel.
Amos recommends Ouidad's Coil Infusion Good Shape Defining Gel. "It gives you the firm hold of a gel, while infusing oil for moisture and shine," he explains. "Your braid outs end up being soft, hydrated, shiny, and frizz-free."
How Do I Prevent My Braid-Out From Looking Stale In-Between Wash Days?
At night, make sure to sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase to prevent breakage and dryness, which can lead to frizz. You can also try putting your hair in a loose pineapple before bed to keep the hair voluminous.
And there are a number of styling hacks you can try as well.
"You can dampen your hair and re-braid your section, then dry them to make your style last between wash days," Amos suggests. "But what I recommend is that you use your braid-out hairstyle texture in different ways, like styling it in a French twist, or a high bun. That can keep the definition in your curls intact while you go throughout the week before washing again."