How to Braid Your Hair for Simple, Natural Waves Overnight

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How to braid your hair for natural waves overnight |

I’m one of those people with straight hair that can’t get curls or even waves by using a curling iron. It just doesn’t work. And even if it does make my hair slightly wavier (requiring massive amounts of hairspray), it doesn’t last for more than a couple hours before the waves go flat and straight again.

For years, the only way my hair could get any kind of lasting waviness was if I went to bed with my hair wet in actual curlers, but who wants to wear curlers to bed all the time? Definitely not me.

The Solution? Braids!

I started braiding my hair at first because I was tired of always waking up with it tangled. One of the downsides of having long hair is the time it takes to brush it out all of the tangles. It was the worst in the winter months because my hair would seem to get even more tangled with the coarser fabric of all of the heavy sweaters I was wearing.

Since I was tired of the tangles, I decided to go the old-fashioned route and braid my hair before bed just like you read about in old books and see Ma Ingalls do on every episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Braiding my hair kept it tangle-free, and, as an added bonus, it made my hair wavy too!

How to Braid Your Hair for Waves Overnight

The first thing you want to do is to start with clean hair because washing your hair will undo all of the waviness from the braid. This method works great for me because I usually wash my hair in the evenings rather than trying to wake up extra early to do it in the morning. If you usually wash your hair in the morning, though, you might still be able to get a few waves if you braid your hair and leave the braid in while you finish getting ready, but it probably won’t work as well as leaving the braid in overnight.

The next thing  you want to do is to brush your hair. Brushing your hair is a good natural way to improve the health and appearance of your hair for one thing, but also, if you brush any tangles our of your hair the night before, all you have to do the next morning is to unbraid your hair and then style it however you want. And if you brush it before braiding, you don’t have to worry about brushing any of the waviness out of your hair either.

Step number three is to make your braid nice and loose.

* The key to having subtle, more natural looking waves is to make sure the braid is loose, not tight.* If the braid is too tight, you’ll end up with crimped hair rather than wavy hair. So, unless you want to look like one of those Crimp N’ Curl Ponies from the 90’s, loosen your braid!

After I’ve braided my hair, I just pull at the pieces with my fingers to make sure that they’re nice and loose. You also want to try end the braid as close to the end of your hair as possible, otherwise you’ll end up with wavy hair and then a few inches of straight hair at the bottom.

Loosen your braid!

Depending on your hair type, you could also mist your hair with a spray bottle to make the waves more pronounced. I usually just braid my hair dry unless it’s still a little bit damp after taking a shower, and it still works fine for me.

The other option is to mist your hair with a bit of natural hairspray to help it keep its hold better. You don’t want to use too much or your hair will be stiff and crunchy in the morning, but a light mist will help the waves keep their shape. Since I don’t want to breathe in all of the chemicals in regular hairspray, I switched to a more natural kind. You can find the hairspray I usually use here.

In the morning, just unbraid your hair, run your fingers through it a bit, and you’re good to go!

how to braid your hair for easy natural waves

Why I Love Braids:

1) They’re Really Easy and Quick!

Unlike using a curling iron, putting your hair into a braid literally takes less than a minute. And the best part for me is that it’s something I can do the night before rather than trying to rush around in the morning. I like my sleep, and I don’t usually get up any earlier than I have to, so I love being able to just unbraid my hair, run my fingers through it quickly, and continue on with my morning.

2) They’re Comfortable to Sleep in

A braid is really comfortable to sleep in, unlike curlers or bobby pins. And, as we know, good quality sleep is really, really important for good health, so that’s an added bonus!

3) They Still Look Normal

When your hair is in a simple braid, you can still look “normal” enough to go answer the door if somebody knocks rather than trying to hide your curlers under a kerchief 🙂

4) They Keep Your Hair Tangle-Free

Before I started braiding my hair, I would wake up every morning with a huge tangled knot that would take me forever to try to brush out the next morning. Braiding my hair saves me so much time and trouble every morning.

5) They Keep Your Hair Healthier

Since braids keep your hair from getting tangled, they also help to keep your hair healthier since you don’t have to yank a brush through it all the time, potentially breaking strands, while you try to get rid of all the tangles.

6) The Waviness Lasts All Day

For those of us who can’t seem to get wavy hair from heat methods, braids are the perfect solution because they really do last all day (or at least they do for my hair!)

I can’t guarantee this method will work equally well for everyone since everyone’s hair is unique, but it’s such an easy thing to do that’s it’s certainly worth a try.

So, if you want easy, naturally wavy hair, tap into your inner 19th-century woman and start braiding your hair!


How to braid your hair for natural waves overnight |

For more info about natural hair care, check out these posts:

All Natural Hair Care

Natural Homemade Products for Curly Hair

DIY Shampoo Recipe Roundup



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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

30 thoughts on “How to Braid Your Hair for Simple, Natural Waves Overnight”

  1. I just found you through Cheeseslave! I’m north of Boston 🙂 I also have a blog, mostly about parenting and some recipes too. You’ve pretty much described my hair, it’s impossible to curl too 🙂 I do this a lot, except I never thought to put some natural hair spray on it to make it last longer! I braid my 5 year old daughter’s hair a lot too.

    • Hi Anastasia, so glad you stopped by! It’s always great to meet a fellow New-Englander 🙂 Your kids are adorable! I love all of the pictures you have on your site 🙂

  2. This is a great idea! I have very short (just below chin) thick, wavy hair. I can never seem to enhance my natural waves enough to make my hair look presentable. This worked perfectly! (I did do multiple braids, so I wasn’t exactly able to answer the door like that 😛 ) Thanks for the post!

  3. Thanks a lot for the post! I found this really helpful. I’m trying to find a new easy hair style for school and this is just what I’m looking for, I’m going to try it tonight! Wish me luck ^.^
    Also Happy Easter!^_^

  4. My hair is VERY thick, shoulder length, and naturally wavy. I normally let my hair air dry, thinking that in the morning it will look beautiful, but every time when I wake up it ends oh looking like a knotted rats nest. I have tried so many things and my hair has always been extremely poofy and frizzy. Until I followed your braiding tips and slept with my hair slightly damp, and my hair was FABULOUS! I don’t normally get comments about my hair, but I got bunches that day. Thanks for helping me tame my unruly hair!!!!

  5. You have no idea how much this helped me ,just like Krystal I have THICK hair and I’m only 14 🙁 but hey these waves came out soooooo cute ! thank you!!

  6. I tried this on my 14 year old daughters hair, she has very straight her and she wanted a change.It worked great, she is really pleased with the results.she is going to do this to have wavy curls for her school photos on Monday.Thank you.It is great she wont have to damage her hair with any heated curling products and by my experience the results from bought curling appliances don’t last long and take ages to use and they are expensive to buy, so this method is easy,with no expense and has fantastic results. Many thanks Lori.

    • I’m so glad it worked well for her! Heat styling products have never really worked for me either. The curls last for an hour or two and then just fall flat. When I braid my hair, though, the waves last all day!

  7. Thank you so much for this post, I have braided my hair and was looking up if I needed to brush it or not and thanks to our post I found all I need to do in the morning is to take it out and run my fingers through it xx

  8. Very nice i did it over night turned out beautifully thanks a lot because I couldn’t ever curle my hair and make it stay with a curling iron

  9. Hi. After washing my hair, do I braid my hair while my hair is wet or do I wait until it is fully dry? I hope this works for me as I don’t want my hair curly but just wavy 🙂

    • I usually braid mine when it’s dry or slightly damp but almost dry. I’ve found that, for me, if my hair is too wet then it ends up being too pronounced of a wave (and it looks crimped if I don’t make the braid loose enough), but dry works much better for me. It depends a little bit on hair type, too, though. If your hair is really straight and doesn’t hold curls well at all, then you might find that it works better to have your hair be slightly damp, but if your hair has a little bit of natural wave already, then braiding it completely dry might work better.

  10. What kind of scarf to wrap it up with to ensure best results also I wetted my hair a little bit after braiding it I also use moose.

  11. A silk scarf would be a good option to protect your hair and keep your hair smooth. I would braid dry hair and mist or spray lightly with a little water or use hair mousse so that the waves set. I am a silk scarf designer for nighttime hair care. Click on my name if you would like more information.


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