11 Tips for Perfecting Your Braid Out or Twist Out

Braid Out Twist Out

  1. Make sure your hair is moisturized. This will ensure a smoother set and thus a smoother result. You know your hair best. Most people typically need to use a leave-in conditioner and seal with some sort of oil or butter if you fell like you need it. Build moisture. Start with a little, smooth it in your hair, smooth it down until it’s invisible. If it still feels a little rough or life it might frizz, try spraying a bit of water and maybe add a little more moisturizer if you feel like you need it. This isn’t a perfect science. You really have to have a feel for your own hair.
  2. Use an oil or butter after applying conditioner, but before starting the braid or twist to prevent frizz and to seal your hair. Just lightly dip your fingers in an oil or butter and smooth over strands before starting each braid or twist. If it’s your first time experimenting with your hair like this, just take notes on what you did and evaluate your result and adjust for next time. For example if your hair feels heavy or weighed down, perhaps you used too much leave-in. If it feels greasy, perhaps you used a tad too much oil or butter or whatever you sealed with. Another sign that you’re heavy-handed is if you notice residue after your hair is dry.
  3. Make sure your hair is detangled. If you have a Denman brush or Tangle Teezer, now is the time to use it. You don’t want to get any single strand knots. Also, if the hair isn’t completely detangled, you might have frizzy parts of parts of your hair that will stick out once it’s dry.
  4. Make sure your hair is smooth. The smoother the set, the better result. Think of your fingers as a flat iron and smooth your fingers down your hair strands. If you feel any rough patches, apply more water and/or conditioner to that section and keep smoothing until it feels soft and smooth to the touch.
  5. Set the braids or twists the same way you will wear your hair. If you wear a center part, set the braids or twists that way with the front two sections framing the face and braiding or twisting the middle section straight back. If you wear an off-center part to the left or right, braid the hair that way. If you prefer to wear your hair straight back, you might try cornrows, flat twists or just setting the braids or twists so that they are all going towards the back. You don’t want to manipulate your hair too much because it might frizz. Frizz happens when we try to move the part or do something different than the way we set the hair. Who has time for that? Nobody. Again, make sure that the way you’re braiding or twisting is as close to the finished style as possible. You’re putting the time in to do the set and you want to be able to ensure predictable results.
  6. Don’t use a comb to part the hair where you don’t want a part because the part will show and you will have to manipulate the hair to hide the parts. This is where the set has the potential to be ruined. Instead just gather sections with your fingers when you’re doing the set and try to use the same amount of hair for each braid for a more uniform set.
  7. While braiding, be sure to keep the 3 sections of the braid separate. White twisting, make sure the 2 sections stay separated. Do not intermix the hair from one section of the braid with the other. Keep the 3 sections of the braid separate from root to ends. If you braid to the ends, this will be an issue. I don’t recommend braiding to the ends. I think better results can be achieved by braiding the hair until you have maybe 1-2″ left and just stop the braid or twist. Remember not to commingle sections. Now, add a roller or start a finger coil to ensure that all 3 sections of the braid stay separate. My roller of choice are flexi rods, but some people use magnetic rollers, straws, mesh rollers. 
  8. If your hair is prone to puff or frizz, use smaller braids or twists to prevent frizz. You’ll have more definition with the smaller sections and generally, more predictable results, but it’s all personal preference. Some women like more puff with a less defined look and do larger braids. It also has a lot to do with your hair type. If you have looser smoother curls or super defined natural curls, you can just loosely braid each section.
  9. Make sure hair is completely dry before unraveling the braids to prevent frizz. It’s a cardinal rule with natural hair and curly hair. Thou shall never touch your hair once it is set until it is dry. Who wants to put in the effort of doing the set only to have it ruined because you took down the set prematurely.
  10. Use a seamless end of a rattail comb or very carefully with your fingers to unravel the braids and start from the ends up. If you want more volume, you can separate the unraveled braids from the root to ends using the rattail end of a comb.
  11. If your hair is prone to frizz and you don’t want frizz, do not finger comb. If you must finger comb, do it carefully and delicately to protect the result from frizz. If you want, you can run a bit of serum through your hair or a little bit of oil depending on what you think your hair needs. Some people use a holding spray if they want to have more control and to prevent their hair from puffing later through the day. 

Tools You May Need

Products You May Need
Serum (optional)
Hair Spray (optional)
  • adiba

    i am a day late and a dollar short on EVERYTHING! LOL i attempted a wet set 2 strand twist out and could have benefitted from this tutorial…i'm quite puffy today….hoping some pin curls tonight can tame the lion mane – aka my hair…

  • Jez

    they are some great tips. I may also try this on a twist out… lol if i can..

  • Patrice-The Soap Seduction

    I tried my first braid out last week, and it was DISASTROUS! I didn't moisturize my hair-DUH, and I braided all the way to the end, and I didn't roll the ends. I'll follow your advice and give it another try. Thanks:)

  • Anonymous

    I am the braidout mistress! I've been doing them since BEFORE I ever transitioned (I never really wanted bone-straight hair) and I love them still. I've got two tips:

    1: I do cornrow braidouts almost exclusively because they look great with as few as FOUR braids (yes, really!) so they're SUPER fast, and there's less handling. Six is actually my fave. Experiment— you may get unexpectedly good results with fewer braids than you think.

    2: When I had straight ends, my braidouts looked terrible. The damage there was so obvious. Solution: 1.5"-long pieces of drinking straw used as mini-rollers. Roll the last inch or two of each braid (y'know, that skinny bit), et voila! Perfect ends! Somehow curling them hid the damage, and the straws made teeny tiny curls that were just more… realistic, IYKWIM. More like my natural texture. Now that my ends are curly (and actually healthy for real; no more "skinny bit"!), I find this isn't so vital, but it still adds a certain something.

  • Fun Times

    Awesome article! Braid outs are my fave style.

    Tips:

    Braid length of hair and then twist an inch or so from the end.
    –This leads to an easier take down, its easier on my ends and gives a cute spirally effect on the end of the crinkly braid-out pattern.

    If you want more definition, smooth on a little gel after moisturizing your hair and before braiding.
    –It works to blend the different textures on my head. I only so this on the parts of my hair that are less textured and don't hold the braid-out pattern well.

    Seal ends thoroughly.
    –Sealing your ends make a big difference in the feel of your hair and the outcome of the style. I like using a shea butter mix to seal.

  • Imogen

    Thanks for the great tips!

  • charlotte.quevedo

    Finger combing carefully does not make my hair frizz. Also using argan oil helps. You need to some separating and fluffing because at least with my hair it can look flat if I don’t. Also doing smaller braids on top increases my volume and root lift. Being careful to lift the braids into the center of the section encourages root lift and volume as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629696077 Latanya Ivey

    I’ve tried braid outs and they make my hair look scalpy. Twist outs are easier for me. But, I’m sure I’ll try braid outs again. Never say never.

  • amiya

    my hair is curly.lol i am forreal

  • amiya

    my is great and long to my butt.