Happy Sunday lovelies!
With Spring rapidly approaching and the temperature beginning to rise, I have begun to wear my (fill in the blank) out styles. While these styles are gorgeous (and they debunk the myth that relaxed hair has to be straight all of the time), the learning curve can be steep when you're trying to figure out the methods to achieving a great look every time you do them. So, I figured that I would share some of the methods that work best for me as well as some of the things that I consider before I style my hair.
With that said, let get this show on the road!
When I plan to do any type of "-out", I make sure that I have these 3 products on board:
1) A liquid leave in conditioner (Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In is my choice)
2) A moisturizer (Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Style Milk is bae lol)
3) A product that provides some kind of hold (my favorite is Taliah Waajid Curly Curl Cream. ORS Lock and Twist Gel is pretty decent too. Just remember the aim is for the product to provide a light hold, not a crunchy hold)
Now the leave in and moisturizer are there to provide the moisture that my hair needs (well, duh). However, the key product is the holding product. For us relaxed chicas, because our hair is straight, we have to ensure that our hair will maintain and hold on to those curls for longer than an hour. This is where that holding product comes in. While you may not use the exact product I use, please please PLEASE make sure you have a hold product in your "-out" rotation.
Once you have your products, you can decide if you want to do a braid out, twist out, or bantu knot out. For me, deciding which one to do is crucial because doing these styles on wet or dry hair can yield different results. For example, if I decide to do a bantu knot out, trial and error has shown me that for the best results, I have to blow dry my hair first then bantu knot my hair. My curls look better this way and last longer. However, there may be some heads of hair that have to do the opposite. On the other hand, my braid outs and twist outs have to be done on damp hair (hair that is about 75%-80% dry). Sopping wet hair results in frizzy braid outs and twist outs and dry hair doesn't hold the curl as well. I haven't a clue why my hair reacts this way, I just go with it.
The bottom line is this: doing these styles on sopping wet, damp, or dry hair may make all the difference in the world when it comes to the end result, so take your time to figure out which type of hair (wet, damp, or dry) gives you your desired results. Whichever state of hair you choose, MAKE SURE YOUR HAIR IS COMPLETELY DRY BEFORE YOU UNRAVEL YOUR TWISTS, BRAIDS, OR BANTU KNOTS. You will cry real tears if you take those jokers out while your hair is still wet. Don't say I didn't warn you.
When I'm ready to style, I section my hair, apply my products (minus the liquid leave in for my bantu knot out), and get to work.
For the "-out" newbies (and for those who just may need to see different ways of doing these styles, here are the videos I have reference that will allow you to see the setting process for these styles:
How to Get Perfect Bantu Knot Out Results On Dry Natural Hair (Alyssa Forever)
Even though this is targeted towards natural heads, the method is the same: blow dry prior to bantu knotting, section hair and apply moisturizing and hold products, bantu knot (except I two strand twist then bantu knot), repeat until finished setting, and unravel the next day.
Two Strand Flat Twist Out...Texlaxed/Relaxed Hair (Special K)
Here you can see how to flat twist your hair and how to bantu knot it at the end so that your ends are curly. Although her products are different than the ones that I use, this is my go to video for referencing how to do this style!
Braid Out Tutorial for Relaxed, Texlaxed, or Texturized Hair (TressedforSuccess)
This is the method I use (although I prefer to do these on damp hair): section hair, apply products to section, plait, place perm rod at the end of your hair, repeat, unravel the next morning
But What About Those Ends Though?
This is probably an important question. As a relaxed head, your ends will not automatically curl like someone whose hair is natural. Now if you want your ends to be straight for these styles, read no further. However, if you're like me and prefer a uniform look throughout your hair, read on.
Bantu knot outs will give you that uniform curly look because your hair is curling around itself in the bantu knot. So with this style you really don't have to think too much further about ensuring that your ends are curly. As long as you have a great holding product, you should be good for the day. Twist outs and braid outs (but especially twist outs) may be a different beast.
I have to admit, I am relatively new to twist outs because a) I didn't know what to do with the ends of my hair once I was done and b) I wasn't confident in my flat twisting abilities. This meant that I would have to have loose hanging twists and that just would have been a mess. So I took some time to get comfortable with flat twisting and I went to Youtube. I saw that in a lot of these twist out videos, folks would put perm rods or flexirods on the ends of their twists to ensure a curly look throughout the hair. That's all well and good, but I HATE sleeping in those things. I thought that there had to be a better way. And behold, there was. I saw several videos where after flat twisting, the end of the hair would be put into a bantu knot. This allows for comfortable sleeping and a shorter, curly 'do. I was sold! This method is my go to method for twist outs. Really this is flat twist bantu knot out but whatever. It works!
I do braid outs differently than twist outs. I'm not good at cornrowing (yet!), so that means I have to place anywhere between 8 to 15 plaits on my hair (after I've applied my leave in, moisturizer, and holding product to each section, of course). After plaiting, I place a large size perm rod on my ends, either let my hair air dry completely or sit under a hooded dryer to complete the process, and unravel the following morning. I get pretty consistent results this way.
Your style has set overnight (or a few days) and you are ready to unravel your hair! Before I unravel, I take some hair oil (can be coconut oil, olive oil, etc. I'm currently using Curls Blissful Lengths Hair Oil), place it in the palm of my hands and distribute the oil to each section. Next, I unravel my hair. Unraveling is tricky because you may find that you have to split certain sections into smaller sections. That's fine but you want to make sure you don't do that too many times or you'll find yourself with frizzy hair. If I have to split a section, I will do so no more than one time. That's just me though. Your happy medium may be different.
The day is over and it's time to go to bed. What do you do with your hair when your hair is in these styles? The way I see it, you have 2 options: the pineapple method or re-twisting, braiding, or bantu knotting.
When I am wearing a twist out or braid out, I'll just re-twist and re-braid my hair nightly. However, as the week goes on, I'll just use fewer braids or twists since the curl pattern is there. Once I'm done, I place my bonnet on and go to sleep.
Bantu knots are different because I can't redo those every night. That would be murder on my ends. So I use the pineapple method. I covered the pineapple method in this post after a braid out but got similar results using this method after a bantu knot out.
Welp. There it is. Everything I do to get great "-out" results. You may find that you'll have to follow a different pattern to get great results. However, I hope this can be a starting point for those who are new to these styles or just looking for new methods to incorporate into their repertoire