How to Get Loose Crimps With Braids

Heat doesn't have to play a part in the equation for luscious, crimped hair.
... Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images

Curling and crimping irons are tempting, bedazzling styling tools, luring you in with their quick results and fancy dials. These heating tools also have a dark side -- they can take a toll on your tresses over time, leaving them dry, tired and dull. If you want to change up your hair texture without the damage of heated products, braids just might become your new best friend. These simple woven gems make it easy to add that sassy crimped style to your hair -- even while you sleep.

Wash and condition your hair with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. These products will add moisture to your locks and encourage a crimped final look. Leave the conditioner on your hair for 5 minutes before it rinsing out with warm water.

Towel-dry your hair. Allow your hair to air-dry until it is just slightly damp.

Apply a pea-size amount of leave-in conditioner to your fingertips and run your fingers through your hair to apply the product evenly. Apply from roots to ends for full, moisturized coverage.

Separate a 3- to 5-inch section of hair at the top of your head just to the right of your part at the hairline. Bigger sections of hair will create looser crimps and smaller sections will produce tighter ones.

Comb through the separated section of hair with a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles or bumps.

Separate the section of hair into three even sections. Braid the hair into a tight, smooth braid until you reach the very tips. Wrap a hair elastic around the base of the braid to secure it into place.

Separate the next 3- to 5-inch section of hair directly behind the first braided section on the top of your head. Make sure that the sections are the same size. Repeat the combing and braiding process.

Braid all of your hair into smooth braids working your way around the crown of your head in even sections. Then begin to braid the next layer of hair down. Work in 3- to 5-inch sections starting next to your right temple and finishing next to your left temple. Finally, braid the lowest sections of hair in the same manner, working your way around the back of your head. Always work with the same size sections of hair.

Braid your bangs in one or two small braids if you want to have a completely crimped look. Alternatively, leave your bangs to air dry and take on their natural shape. If you have blunt bangs, you can also opt to leave them straight and sleek as a contrast to the crimped look.

Leave the braids in place for at least 4 hours; if possible, sleep in the braids overnight for the best results.

Remove each hair elastic one at a time and gently undo each braid.

Tousle your hair with your fingers at the roots to loosen up the texture and release the hair. Comb through any tangles or messy areas gently with a fine-tooth comb.

Spritz your locks from roots to ends with a bit of texturizing spray to help create a messy, beachy look that lasts all day.

  • Apply a styling mousse to your hair before beginning the braiding process if you have locks that tend to lose their shape quickly.
  • Create just one or two thick braids for very loose waves.

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.