I am definitely a wash and go type of curly girl and have pretty much worn my hair this way for the first six months of this year not to mention nonstop last year. Every once in awhile I begin setting my curls in braids again for a number of different reasons. Because my hair is much longer than it was when I cut it a year ago, I’m wondering if my tried and true braid outs of the past would serve me better in the long run.
There are more than a few major differences that I’ve noticed between a wash and go and a braid out. I still have not determined if one method is better than the other, yet I can definitely tell a difference with both methods on my own hair. Here are six benefits I’ve noticed from styling my hair in braid outs as well as how I create this simple hairstyle.
1. Easier Detangling
Wearing braids outs allows for much easier detangling sessions hands down in the long run. At least that has been my own experience every time. Part of the reason is because I often comb through my hair when wet prior to braiding it. By separating my natural curl pattern with a comb, my hair easily takes on the shape of the braid which it maintains until I wash it again. By thoroughly detangling my hair prior to setting it, while elongating my curls during the drying process, tangles are far and few inbetween.
2. Longer Lasting Hairstyle
Braid outs allow me to go more days between rinsing or washing my hair without using a ton of styling products. Most of you know that I don’t use hair products in general, and I don’t enjoy putting a lot of stuff in my hair. This style lasts much longer for me because I loosely rebraid my hair at night and cover with a silk scarf. This night time routine helps with preventing tangles and maintaining the braid pattern in my hair while I sleep.
3. Extra Moisture
Braid outs take much longer to dry, yet this seems to moisturize my hair even better because of it. The longer that water remains in my hair, the more moisture my hair is able to absorb. I have low porosity hair, so once moisture is locked into my hair strands it stays put. Setting my hair in braids helps greatly with retaining moisture.
4. Updos Are A Breeze
It is no longer challenging to style my hair in various hair buns and other updo styles with stretched bigger curls versus my own tighter coils. Usually I would only wear my hair in a messy top knot bun with a wash and go. This setting method smooths out my hair so much that doing other styles is much easier.
5. I Can Wear Hats
Braid outs devolumize super big hair to only big hair. If you have big hair you understand the struggle with hats. I love wearing hats, yet I usually have to reduce the volume of my hair tremendously to wear them. The smooth and organized results from braid outs make this dilemna almost disappear. I say “almost” because big hair is still big hair!
6. Pre-Detangled Hair For Henna Treatments
I always suggest applying henna to fully detangled hair. When I have applied henna to hair that was only partially detangled, I would usually have to cut a few random knots out of my hair after I rinse the henna out. This is always avoidable, yet when you are having a lazy moment you pay the consequences. I set my braid outs on fully detangled hair and usually don’t wash my hair on the same day as a henna treatment. Because I rarely get tangles with braid outs, henna treatments don’t create more unnecessary tangles that need to be cut out.
My Styling Process For Braid Outs
I shared my wash and go hair styling regimen in great detail in this article. When I style my hair in a wash and go, I never use a comb and only finger detangle. Finger detangling is not only gentle on my hair, but it allows my curls to clump as they wish without disturbing them or having to rely on styling products to do this. I usually rinse my hair daily to keep it moisturized and fresh.
Braid outs allow me to be a bit more lazy with my hair while still caring for it. This hair style can last for a full week, yet I will completely rinse and refresh the style during the week if I’m not being lazy. The two major factors that help me accomplish this is that I fully detangle my hair with a super wide tooth rake comb pictured here on wash day, and I also loosely braid my hair in the evening adding a tiny bit of hair butter if needed.
After I wash my hair, I style my hair with my Simple 5 Minute Hair & Body Butter Recipe for my braid outs. I only use four braids total for this style. I place one braid on each side in the front half of my hair usually with a middle part. I place two braids in the back vertically on top of each other to prevent the hard to disguise middle part. I gently comb through and braid my hair while it is very damp and not soaking wet.
For extra volume, I will pin curl each braid and secure with a hair pin so the entire braid forms a curve versus only using a hair roller/perm rod on the ends of my hair. I pin curl the two front braids away from my face. These pin curls take even longer to dry which usually means that I am keeping these braids in for a full 12-24 hours to ensure they are completely dry before removing them.
At night I loosely rebraid and pin curl each of the four braids then cover in a silk scarf. I find beautiful vintage and secondhand silk scarfs at thrift stores very inexpensively. Because I don’t usually wear silk scarfs for fashion, I have no problem making these beautiful scarfs evening hair attire. Gently unraveling each braid and lightly separating and fluffing is all I do in the morning if my hair doesn’t get put into some form of updo.
I usually end up going back in forth between wash and go’s and braid outs. Both are easy. Braid outs take much longer to dry and are best maintained nightly, while wash and go’s have the least amount of manipulation overall. A simple high ponytail or topknot bun is a much quicker evening routine with wash and go’s, while there’s no unraveling braids in the morning. While I do enjoy them both, I am slowly falling back in love with braid outs.
If you’re a curly girl, do you prefer wash or go’s or braid outs and why?
(Images by Dawn Michelle)