How Do You Make Your Braids Curly or Wavy?

Photo of Braids By Ebony Brown | DIY
[Left: Braided Braids | Right: "Braid - Out"| Braids by Ebony Brown]

How Do I Make My Box Braids Curly or Wavy?

People have asked me this question, time and time again, and so, here’s the answer.

1.) I basically do what is called a “braid-out” with my box braid extensions, just as people would do with their natural, or kinky hair. When you make big braids in your hair and leave them in until your hair sets (sometimes using styling products, until it dries) and then unravel the braid, its called a “braid-out.” The only difference is that I’m using braids, instead of loose hair. I do not use hair that is already curly, or wavy.

2.) I gather and braid at least three, six, nine, or more single braids all into one big braid, and then I repeat this all over my head. So 100+ single/box braids eventually becomes about 20+ big braids total.

3.) In order for the curls, or waves to set, I wet the braids with water; the hotter the water, the deeper the curl! Be very careful. I’ve been referring to this technique as “dipping.” It’s  done in African braiding salons all over Harlem and elsewhere, but I  first learned of this, from watching my mom do her hair, when I was younger.

What Kind of Hair Do I Use?

I use  100% Kanekalon hair only. “Dipping” your braids/extensions  works with some 100% Synthetic hair. Both 100% Synthetic and 100%Kanekalon hair are usually non-flammable and because of this, at times, they don’t respond well to heat, or the curl doesn’t hold very long. Since my natural hair is dread locked, silky 100% Human hair is ‘not the move’ for me, the braids won’t last for three months, maybe they’ll hold for two weeks, but with all the time that goes into braiding, two weeks just isn’t long enough. I’ve found that the 100% Kanekalon braiding hair from the JANET Collection works well with my hair.

How Do I Make My (Braid) Curls, or Waves Bigger or Smaller?

For bigger, looser curls or waves include more single braids into the big braid, and for smaller, tighter curls, include less single braids into the big braid.

I hope this helps!

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16 comments

  1. Gorgeous!!! I had a hard time curling my yarn braids with hot water , i think next time i will just braid them and take the smaller braids and braid them into bigger braids and so on and so forth , I like to have a big curly mane.

    1. Thank you Urban Butterfly! I could imagine that it would be harder to make the curls stay when using yarn. Probably a heavy, but non-flaking, holding gel, or cream would do the trick, if you let it set and dry for a full day. Casting your hair, like sculpture, creating a flexible molding just popped into my mind. I like a big curly mane too. I’m deciding on my next hair move! Lol, more braids or do something experimental with my locks? Decisions…decisions!

  2. I ALREADY HAVE MY BRAIDS KIND OF WAVY BUT HAVENT MADE THEM WAVY IN A WHILE I WANT THEM A LITTLE MORE CURLY MOSTY THE WHOLE BRAID INSTEAD OF HALF WAY CURLY I WANT THEM ALL THE WAY CURLY IS THAT POSSBILE I HAVE HEARD OF USING LOTTA BODY AND SETTING LOTION AND USING BEESWAX

    1. I don’t use any product to achieve a curl for half or the whole braid. If the hair you are using is synthetic, the big braid, or rod dipped in hot water will do the trick. If the hair you are using is 100% human, then will you need to use some sort of styling product of your choice to hold the curl.

  3. Do they go back straight? :)

    1. Yes you could get them to go back straight, but I don’t recommend it with synthetic hair. It would look sort of look like silky, straight dreadlocks, meaning, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to comb through it. If you do then the resulting look would be fitting for Halloween, something quite frightening!

  4. Kennedy Young · · Reply

    What kind of hair did Use.

    P.S You are very Pretty N/H :)

    1. I used 100% Kanekalon Hair and thank you :)

  5. Shykira Sharp · · Reply

    Thank you very much!

    1. You’re welcome!

  6. My braids are too long and I want to cut them. Can this method be used when I cut them, and will they unravel? I used 100% Kanekalon hair.

    1. Yes, some unraveling will occur. The bigger the braids, the more it will unravel. I don’t usually cut the actual braid itself before or after dipping. If I do cut the braid after dipping:

      1.) First, I unravel, or comb out an inch or two from the bottom of the braid. If I’m going for the “wet & wavy” human hair look (using kanekalon hair), I’d comb out more.

      2.) Second, I cut/sheer each braid so its shaped liked a “V” at the bottom to give it a more natural look , as opposed to cutting it straight across.

      3.) I split my hair down the middle as if I were going to do two Indian style braids, grab & gather one whole side of hair (with hands holding hair in front of chest) all together and gently cut (straight across) any fly aways, or longer than necessary strands. I do this for both sides.

      4. Then I braid the grouped mini braids, sometimes using a geri curl rod at the end (instead of rubberbands) for a natural curl or wave look. The goal is not to need to cut after dipping.

      I hope this helps, if not now, then for the next time.

  7. Cmisswright · · Reply

    I dipped my senegease twist in hot water, but it appears that the color changed. My color 30 looks more like a color 27. and my color 6 look s more like a dirty black. Now my hair has like 4 colors in it. Do you know what I did wrong? It was all the same color before before I dipped them.

    1. Cmisswright · · Reply

      Also….some of my twist are longer than I would prefer….Any advice on how I can shorten them without them unraveling? Thanks Again

    2. Interesting. I haven’t yet noticed my own braids, or twists changing color, lightening, or darkening after dipping them. I used non-flammable hair, which MAY have made a difference – or maybe not. Perhaps it did darken, but it wasnt drastic enough for me to notice. At least now you know if you stick with the current brand of hair, it will change, so adjust accordingly.

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