First Voluminous Braid-Out on My Relaxed Hair

Wash Day.
I'm 12 weeks post and instead of relaxing my hair I tried a braid-out.  I started my wash day by deep conditioning on dry hair using Proclaim Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Conditioner for about 2 hours.  As I rinsed out the conditioner, I detangled my hair in three sections under the running water with my fingers first and then with my shower comb.  Then I secured each section into loose buns and massaged the As I Am Coconut CoWash into my scalp, ran it down the length of my hair and rinsed again.  As my last step before hopping out the shower I did an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse: 1 part ACV, 3 parts water.  This is my second time doing this and I like how smooth my hair feels after rinsing this out.  

I t-shirt dried for about 15 minutes then removed the t-shirt, lightly misted my hair with Apogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer, and let my hair air dry hanging down freely.  Once that was done, I started cornrowing my hair.  I decided to cornrow because my previous attempts at a braid-out with single braids ended up looking sad and sparse.  If I were natural or texlaxed that probably wouldn't have happened but because my hair is not super thick on its own cornrows seemed like the better path to a good braid-out.  Plus all the good relaxed hair braid-out that I found on YouTube were created with cornrows.  

The Cornrows.
This was my first time successfully cornrowing my own hair and I truly owe it to these three video tutorials that I found on YouTube: Charnel Grey, FashionIsARemix and Special K.  These three videos were crucial in explaining to me how to not only do a cornrow, but how to hold the three sections with my fingers as I created the cornrow.  Look at my first three cornrows:

I was so geeked that they looked so good, especially considering that I couldn't see what I was doing at all.  I was just feeling my way through and using the tips that I learned from the vidoes above.  As I created each section, I applied the Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Leave-in Conditioner and ORS Smooth N Hold Pudding before I started braiding.  At the end of each braid I secured it with grey perm rods (and used end papers to protect my ends).

In the end I was left with 9 cornrows: 3 on the left, 3 on the right and 3 in the back.  Oddly enough, I had the hardest time with the two in the front.  I'm not sure what was going on but they came out the worst and took my the longest to get through.  I think the finger placement is different when you're not braiding the hair back and I just couldn't get a handle on it.  But I got to the end eventually.

The next day, I simply unravelled the braids,  I didn't separate the sections at all.  Because I cornrowed instead of doing single braids, there were already a bunch a single sections.  Unfortunately, I was rushing to get out the house and didn't get the hair style immediately after I took the braids down.  I did take a picture when I got back home before going to bed and then the next morning.  I lost some definition in the front sections due to humidity/sweating, but it's still looking decent.

Overall I am happy with the end results.  The next time I try this style, I'm going to vary the lengths of the braids as I secure the ends with perm rods that way it won't be so heavy on the ends.  Also, I'm going to apply more holding pudding.  I was light handed because I was afraid I was going to run out before I got through with the braids. That's probably why some of the definition didn't make it to day two.

So, what do you think? How do you do your braid-outs?

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