Q: How can I do braid-outs to create big hair? I was able to achieve the look while I was transitioning, but now it doesn’t come out as nice. Suggestions? — Pamela
A: Big hair definitely rocks — but thanks to genetics, we can’t all have it. However, natural hair is very versatile. Why not create the illusion of big hair?
To make my fine, shrink-prone hair appear huge, I style my hair when it’s damp or dry to minimize shrinkage. I prefer twists over braids for the resulting pattern, but my techniques are applicable to braid-outs as well. For damp sets, I allow my hair to dry for fifteen to twenty minutes until it’s about 75% dry. Then I apply a leave-in conditioner and create 8-10 twists. Fewer twists result in a chunky, voluminous twist-out. Also, using minimal product (and light hold creams versus strong hold gels) yields the ‘controlled frizz’ effect. A damp set gives you definition and a bit more hang time than a wet set would. When I style my dry, previously stretched hair, I apply a teeny bit of leave-in conditioner, pomade, hair butter or grease (gasp!) in sections and twist… usually 8-10. This process yields big hair every time, especially on day two! You’ll notice less definition and even more length than you would with a damp set.
Finally, twist/braid-outs on blown out or roller set hair yields the biggest, fluffiest results, but they also don’t last long. I like to twist with a light leave-in like Lacio Lacio, shea butter, or grease.