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Protective Hair Styling: Braid Outs

Updated on September 21, 2012

One of my favorite protective styles is a braid out. It is also one of the easiest hair styles for me to do with my hair currently at Armpit length. (Of course, when it shrinks it gets even shorter than that.)

To do a braid out, all you need to do is plait your hair in as many braids as you like, and let your hair sit for a few hours or overnight to set.


Drying Time

If you are going to do a braid out with wet hair, make sure you have enough time to let your hair dry completely to avoid frizz and shrinking if you have naturally curly hair. I like to let my hair dry for a whole day if my hair is soaking wet when I braid my hair.

If you don't want to wait that long, you can of course, sit under the dryer.

If my hair is damp when I braid it, then I can usually get away with letting it dry overnight. Depending on your hair texture and thickness, your drying time maybe slightly different compared others.


Large Braids Vs. Small Braids

Depending on the size of your braids, you can achieve many different effects. Larger braids will stretch out curly hair much more than smaller braids and they will leave you with larger waves.

Smaller braids will give you a more defined curly or wavy look and stretch out curly hair much less than large braids.

Also depending on the length of your hair, you may be able to experiment with different size braids to find what fits you best.

Wet Vs. Dry

Something as simple as letting your hair dry, or not letting your hair dry, can make a difference in the outcome of your style. If you have naturally curly/kinky hair you know all about shrinkage. Shrinkage occurs when you allow moisture to come in contact with your hair. Braid outs help to limit the amount of shrinkage and also reduce the amount of tangling when you allow the hair to dry while braided.

Sometimes, I will allow my hair to remain damp when I remove the braids. Doing this allows my hair to shrink a small amount. It doesn’t shrink as much as it would if I were to do a wash and go but it does shrink more than it would if I were to let the braids dry completely.


Products I Use

When I do my braid outs I use water, shea moisture curl enhancing, or shea moisture organic raw shea butter conditioner for moisture. I use castor oil to seal in moisture and occasionally I’ll use shea butter to help stretch out my hair even more.

Why are Braid Outs Protective?

I like to say braid outs are protective because they are a low manipulation style. I don’t have to fuss with my hair every day in order for it to look presentable to me.

Braid outs also last most of the week for me and limit the amount tangles and knots.

I believe low manipulating equals protecting. I don’t where a braid out too often because it is best for me to keep my hair put away 90%. I do this in order to retain the maximum amount of length in my hair growth journey.

Most of the time my hair is in braids, twists or a bun. When I want to wear my hair down a braid out is one of my choices rather than turning to a flat iron or blow dryer.

Different Styles you can do with a Braid Out

I like to change my braid outs to make them a little more fun instead of my simple part down the middle or side of my head.

In the first style, I like to side part my hair and take a small section in the front of head. I take that section and I roll down my hair in a flat twist and pin it to the side.


In the next style, keep my hair parted down the middle and twist flat twists down the front of both sides of my head.


In the next style, I like to take the front half of my hair and pin it back. This style gives me that half up half down look.


In this style, I put a small pompadour in the front middle section of my head. Next I pin the sides back to about the middle of my head.


In the last style, I keep the pompadour from the last style and I leave the sides out instead of pinning them back.


All of these styles were done with a braid out. Thanks for reading! =)


P.S Sorry About the quality of my photos. Some came out better than others. I'm working with my phone until I can buy a new camera. =(


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