Tips for a Successful Braid Out on Straight Natural Hair

side view of woman with braid out hair style

About 80% of the time  I rock curly styles because of how time consuming it is to straighten my hair.  When I finally do go straight, I like to go as a long as possible until I wash it again because I don’t want to waste all of that effort.  Right after I straighten my hair it is very lightweight and flowy which I love.  In my last post I discussed how to achieve those results.  After about a week or so, my hair starts to feel heavy.  That’s when I like to change things up a bit with a braid out for something different.  Unfortunately, it took a long time for me to find what worked for a successful braid out on straight natural hair.

Why Do a Braid Out on Straight Hair?

To be honest, one of the reasons I like to wear my hair straight is so that I can see how long it is.  Sure I can always stretch out one of my curls to see how far down it will go but straight hair shows my true length.  For my hair texture, a braid out usually is not much longer than my wash and go style.  So when my hair is straight I get the best of both worlds;  I can see my length but also enjoy wearing a wavy style.  

I also try to stay away from heat while my hair is straight.  I know that might sound crazy since it was heat that got my hair that way in the first place.  It’s just that I feel my hair has already endured enough with all of the blowdrying and flat ironing.  So for that reason, I tend to use heat free methods to style my straight natural hair.  

Styling Products on Straight Hair vs. Curly Hair

My curly hair routine is really different from my straight hair routine.  One of the reasons is because I tend to use a lot more product on my curly hair.  Those products are often heavier as well with ingredients like shea butter and castor oil.  When my hair is straight I like to use things that are moisturizing but lightweight.  This keeps my hair free from heavy build-up.  

My hair reverts really easily so I steer clear of anything that will make it shrink back up prematurely.  One example is my favorite hair gel, Eco Styler.  This product has been my “day one” and I probably use it more than I should (but that’s another post).  It works great to slick my edges when I pull my curly hair into a bun or ponytail.  However, If I use the same product on my straight hair, it reverts like crazy.  That’s because the gel has a lot of water in it.  If I want to lay my edges while straight then I have to use an edge control product.  For this reason, I have to be careful of which products I use when my natural hair is straight.

My Method for A Successful Braid Out

The Products

For years I kept trying for a successful braid out on my straight hair but had so-so results.   Sure my hair was wavy but also very frizzy.  I tried misting my hair lightly with water because using products on dry hair never works for me.  That worked, sort of, but not quite right.  Then I tried using gel, which again, introduced more water.  My hair was more defined with this method but still frizzy.  

I finally had success when I tried using a styling foam and I’ve been using one ever since.  With it I get definition but the product is light enough so my hair still has movement.  My current favorite is Motions Foam Styling Lotion.  This product gives my braid out definition without causing my hair to revert.  Since I only use it when I wear my hair straight one bottle has lasted a long time.

One other thing I like to do is moisturize and seal my hair before applying the styling foam because it gives good hold but can be drying.  For this I use  a light leave-in conditioner by Paul Mitchell and go over that with a little coconut oil.  Now, I don’t really think coconut oil is actually heavy enough to seal in moisture.  I use it in this way because I have low porosity hair.  So when I apply the oil to dry hair, it just sits on top without penetrating the hair shaft.  The oil does however provide a lot of shine and flexibility when used under the styler.

The Braid Out
back view of single braid on straight black hair
Here I used a single braid for waves at the ends of my hair. I use two braids on each sides for waves throughout.

After applying my products I braid my hair up.  This step is also different from when my hair is curly.  On curly hair I use a lot of smaller braids all over my head in order to get the curly look that I want.  I probably end up with 12-15 braids total.  When my hair is straight, I only use 1 or 2 braids.  The reason for this is that I’m going for a more wavy, boho vibe so 1 or 2 braids is plenty for this look.  

The results of using a single braid

I have also tried the style using 1 or 2 large bantu knots or mini buns.  The result I get from using braids is a zig-zag wave while the bantu knots are more beach wavy.  Both looks are really pretty so I like to switch it up.  I have even used this method to keep my hair up while on vacation because the style is so easy to maintain.  Most importantly, I’m not using any more heat to obtain the look that I want while enjoying my length.

straight natural hair with waves
This result is from using two bantu knots on either side for a soft wavy look

There you have it!  That is how I achieve a successful braid out on straight natural hair.  It has literally taken me years to find what worked after plenty of trial and error.  Hopefully these tips will be helpful!

Be sure to stop by EVERY WEDNESDAY for more tips and info on maintaining natural hair!

 

 

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