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How to Curl Hair with Braids
Curled hair can be a great look for a night out or a special event, but it can be time consuming to do with a curling iron or rollers. You can get soft, wavy hair by braiding instead of curling. This method of creating waves works best for people who have naturally wavy or curly hair. Make sure you braid hair that has been washed and is still slightly damp. If your hair is naturally wavy, a loose side braid will give you relaxed curls. If you have straight hair, try tight braids for more uniform waves. You can then maintain your curled hair so it looks polished and pretty.
Prepping Your Hair
Wash your hair.Start by washing your hair as you usually would. Use shampoo and conditioner, especially if you have thick hair that tends to get dry.
Dry your hair so it is still slightly damp.Let your hair air dry or use a blow dryer. Make sure your hair feels damp but not soaking wet, as this will help your braided hair set and curl.
- Braid your hair when it is about 80% dry.
- You can also dampen dry hair by spraying it with a spray bottle.
Brush your hair.Make sure there are no tangles in your hair. Use a brush or a comb to brush your hair when it is still slightly damp.
Apply hair oil if you have thick or coarse hair.If your hair tends to get frizzy when you braid it, you can apply nourishing hair oil to the ends of your hair before braid it. Take a dime sized amount of hair oil in your hands and run them through the ends of your hair. Do not do this, however, if you have fine or straight hair, as it may prevent the curl from holding.
Apply setting lotion or mousse if you have wavy or straight hair.Squeeze a small amount of lotion or mousse into your hand. Apply it evenly throughout your hair, starting at the middle of your hair and working down to the ends.
Have 1-2 hair ties on hand.You will need at least 1 hair tie to do a side braid. You will need 2 hair ties to create tight braids.
- Use hair ties that are wrapped in fabric or thread as they will not pull on your hair.
Doing a Loose Side Braid for Relaxed Curls
Make a deep side part with your fingers.Use your fingers to part all your hair, or as much of it as you can get, to one side. Move your fingers from the front of your hair to the back to gather up your hair to the side.
- If you have bangs, you can let them fall as they are.
Pull your hair to the side, over your shoulder.Gently pull your hair over one of your shoulders so all your hair falls to one side of your face. Use your fingers, rather than a brush or comb, so your hair stays loose.
Separate your hair into 3 sections.Take the left and right pieces of hair and loop them over each other.
Loop the center piece through the left and right sections.Take the center section and pull it up through the middle of the left and right pieces. Then, place it over either the right or left section.
Braid your hair all the way to ends.Continue braiding your hair, looping the sections over one another. Make sure you hold your hair firmly but not too tight as you braid so the side braid is loose.
Secure the end of the braid with a hair tie.Once you have braided all your hair into a side braid, wrap a hair tie on the end to keep it in place.
- Use a scrunchy or ribbon if you have fine hair. Hair ties can leave dents in your hair that may interfere with your new wavy look.
Leave the braid in overnight.Sleep with your hair in the side braid. Try sleeping on the opposite side of the braid so it does not get too messed up during the night.
- You can also wrap your hair in a scarf or wear a shower cap to bed to keep the braid in place.
Remove the braid in the morning.Once the braid has been in your hair overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours, take off the hair tie and carefully undo the braid. You should have loose waves on the ends of your hair, giving you a relaxed, curled hairstyle.
Doing Tight Braids for Tight Curls
Separate your hair into 2 sections down the middle.Take your fingers and separate your hair, creating a center part. You should have 2 sections, one on either side of your face.
- You can also use the pointed end of a comb to separate your hair into sections if that’s easier for you.
Make 2 sections on one side of your head.Form 2 sections on 1 side of your hair, pulling from the top layer of your hair.
Twist together 2 pieces of hair.Hold 2 pieces of hair in either hand and twist them once in your hand. Then, loop them over each other in the opposite direction of the twist. Pull them tight to your head as you twist them.
Add more hair and twist the two pieces together.Use one hand to keep the 2 pieces in place. Use the other hand to take 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) of hair into your hand and add it to one of the pieces. Then, loop the 2 pieces over each other.
- Make sure you grab hair from the back of your head so you get all of your hair in the braid.
Continue adding and twisting your hair until you reach the base of your neck.Add more pieces of hair to the braid and twist each section over each other. Continue doing this until you have twisted your hair all the way down to your neck into a braid.
Twist the remaining hair into a tight bun.Once you reach the base of your neck, you may not have any more layers from the top of your hair that you can twist. Instead, you can curl the rest of your hair by tightly twisting it into a bun shape.
- Make the bun very tight, as you do not want it to come undone during the night.
Secure with a hair tie or scrunchy.Once you have twisted the rest of your hair into a tight bun, place a hair tie or scrunchy over the bun and secure it by wrapping the hair tie around it 1-2 times.
- Scrunchies are better for people with fine hair, as they prevent dents in your hair.
Repeat the same steps with the other section of hair.Twist together the top layers of your hair, holding your hair tight as you loop and twist it. Do this until you reach the base of your neck. Then, twist the remaining hair into a tight bun.
- Secure the bun with a hair tie.
Keep the braids in overnight.Sleep with your hair in the tight braids so it can curl overnight. You may wear a scarf around your hair or a shower cap to keep your braids from falling out.
Take out the braids in the morning.Carefully remove the hair ties. Then, gently unravel your braids. Do not tug on them too hard, as you do not want the curls to be pulled out. You can also try shaking out your hair to avoid ruining the braids. You should have tight curls all over your head.
Maintaining Your Curled Hair
Apply hair spray to your hair.Keep your curls in place by applying a few spritzes of hair spray to your curled hair. Use your hands to lightly scrunch your curls. You can also flip your hair over to add volume to your curls.
Avoid brushing or touching your curled hair.Brushing your hair can ruin your curls. You should also try not to touch your hair too much throughout the day, as this can unravel your curls and make your hair appear oily or flat.
Wash your hair as you normally would to remove the curls.If you have dry hair, use a moisturizing shampoo to wash out your curls in the shower or bath. You can also use a conditioner if your hair tends to get dry or frizzy.
QuestionDo braids make your hair grow longer and faster?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerBraids protect your hair so that it is less prone to damage and breakage but they don't increase the amount your hair grows.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens when you braid your hair when it's wet?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerWhen hair is wet it stretches farther and is more fragile. Braiding it when it is wet can cause it to break.Thanks!
QuestionCan you curl kanekalon hair?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerYou can set kanekalon hair on a roller or bendable rod, but you can't use a curling iron or any other heat styling tool to curl it.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you loosen tight braids?
Licensed CosmetologistLicensed CosmetologistExpert AnswerGrip opposite sides in your fingers and gently pull, starting at the top of the braid and working down.Thanks!
QuestionCan a fishtail or normal braid work as well?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey can, though each type of braid will give somewhat different curls. A fishtail works better for a full head of curls and is normally tighter too, so they will last noticeably longer.Thanks!
QuestionWill plaiting my hair in several braids tightly every night damage my hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf they are too tight, yes. Avoid that by loosening them just a bit.Thanks!
QuestionWill the water really help the curl stay?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but make sure your hair is not too wet when you braid it, or it will take longer than 8 hours for it to dry. Also, make sure that your hair is completely dry before you take the braids out.Thanks!
QuestionCan I also do multiple mini braids with short hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. That works too if you have short hair. As long as you follow the directions carefully, any length and number of braids should be fine.Thanks!
QuestionHow long do the curls stay in your hair?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you use hairspray or gel, it should last a while. If you are not using hairspray/gel, it lasts a day or two.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make some braids in the morning and take them out at night?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, just make sure your hair is completely dry when you make them.Thanks!
How do I make a tighter braid for very thick hair? How do I do a dutch braid?
What will happen if I do tiny braids in and dry my hair over night?
To curl your hair by braiding in, start with clean hair, detangled, slightly damp hair. Make a deep side part and gather your hair to one side. Separate your hair into 3 sections, then loosely braid it all the way to the ends and secure the braid with a hair tie. Leave the braids in for 8 hours or overnight, then remove the hair tie and carefully undo the braid. You can help keep your curls in place by lightly spraying them with hairspray.
Things You'll Need
Hairspray or hair oil (optional)
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of How to Curl Hair with Braids was reviewed by on December 7, 2019.
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