3 Ways To Turn Overnight Braids Into Next-Day Waves

Choose your braid according to your desired wave.
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Choose your braid according to your desired wave.

As numerous YouTube vids and Pinterest infographics have expressed, braids are a cheap and convenient way to create waves. But not all braids are created equal when it comes to the curl that they impart. Here's a look at the waves I got from sleeping in the standard, rope, and fishtail braids.  

The Standard 3-Section Braid

The standard braid produced mermaid waves overnight.

The standard braid produced mermaid waves overnight.

Since I’m sure most of you ladies know how to do this one (FYI: I also did an optional French braid on top for more wave action), I’ll spare you the directions and jump to the outcome. These mermaid waves have a romantic, girly vibe to them. Since the waves are smaller, this style will likely last on your hair for a while, making it great to wear for events--just don’t forget to add hairspray!

The Fishtail Braid

The fishtail braid left me with very loose waves.

The fishtail braid left me with very loose waves.

HOW-TO: Starting at the nape of your neck, separate hair into two sections. With each hand holding a section, use your right index finger to pull an outer piece from the section it’s holding. Cross that piece over to the opposite section, using your left index finger to receive it and let it drop. Readjust your hands so you’re neatly holding two sections again and repeat the process on the opposite side. Continue until you reach the ends and secure with a hair tie.

Fishtail braid steps. 

Fishtail braid steps. 

Note: Although I did a chunkier braid for this tutorial, I initially went to sleep in a classic fishtail using thinner pieces.  

The Rope Braid

Rope braids gave me messy beach waves.

Rope braids gave me messy beach waves.

HOW-TO: Divide your hair into two sections. Tightly twist both sections counterclockwise until you reach the ends. Holding both ends tightly, cross the sections around each other in a clockwise motion. This is super important, because if you go in the original direction of the twist, the braid will unravel. Continue until you reach the ends and secure with a hair tie. 

If you want to start the braid on your scalp (versus the nape of your neck) in a French braid sort of style, just make sure to grab pieces to add to each twist as you work your way down your head.

Rope Braid Steps.jpg

This braid gave me beach waves with a lot of volume and bounce. Of all three braid/wave combos, this brought me the closest to curls. Standard braid waves are still my favorite, though.  

  • What are your favorite slept-in hairstyles? 
  • And what products do you use to preserve your waves throughout the day?