It’s the effortlessly chic style that celebrities can’t get enough of—braids that can go from edgy to romantic and everywhere in between. Learn how to create these pretty plaits in a just a few easy steps with help from the pros.
The Braided Updo
The Look: “This style is fit for a formal affair because of its intricate design that leaves a controlled romantic feel,” says Thai Le, master stylist at Frank Cassi Beauty in Palm Beach, FL. “Its whimsical nature reminds me of the TV show Game of Thrones.”
How to Get It: Make a slight diagonal side part. Take a U-section of hair from the parted side above the ears and make a heavy side and a light side. French braid each section down and toward the back center of the head, bringing the strands under instead of over. Lay the braid along the nape back and forth and secure with bobby pins. Tuck in the ends.
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The Heidi Braid
The Look: “This is a very soft and romantic look, especially with the loose curls around Jennifer’s face,” says Nikki Lee, co-owner of Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood, CA. “Messing up the braid a bit before wrapping it will create an edgier look.”
How to Get It: Apply texturizing spray all over for volume and hold. Split hair into two halves. From the ear down, fishtail-braid both halves and tie each end with a clear elastic. Spread apart the braid to add texture. Take both braids and cross them over your head. Pin securely and tuck in any loose ends. Use a 1-inch or 1¼-inch curling iron to create loose waves on the pieces left around your face. Finish with hairspray.
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The Loose Fishtail
The Look: “To me, this braid is beautiful and can be worn with casual styles, but it can look forced if the woman wearing it looks uncomfortable and doesn’t own it,” says celebrity hairstylist Brent Lavett.
How to Get It: Spray hair with a sea salt mist and use your fingers to add texture throughout. Blow-dry hair upside down for extra volume on top. Gather the top section of hair above both ears and secure in the back with bobby pins, pushing them up and into the hair to add volume. Create a loose fishtail braid using uneven sections of hair. Tie the end with a ribbon or elastic, then tie another one around the braid a few inches higher.
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The Halo Braid
The Look: “This braid is extremely versatile and wearable,” says celebrity hairstylist Lee Rittiner. “It can add playfulness to a casual, daytime look or elegance to more formal, evening attire.”
How to Get It: Prep hair with a volumizer from the middle down to the ends and blow-dry. Begin the French braid in the middle of the back of the head, drawing hair into the braid from along the hairline as you encircle the crown of the head. Once the braid reaches the starting point, hide the loose ends by tucking them under the braid and secure them with bobby pins. Finish with hairspray.
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The Tribal Side Braid
The Look: “These braids are so fun,” says Tommy Buckett, celebrity hairstylistfor Garnier Fructis. “Faking a shaved side gives a little edge to the everyday blowout or braid.”
How to Get It: Separate hair into two sections, creating a deep side part. On the opposite side of the part, create two French braids behind your ear and secure them in the back with bobby pins. Blow-out the hair opposite of the braids using a round brush and hairspray all over.
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The Tousled Fishtail
The Look: “This braid is a combination of fashion and romance with elements of effortless styling,” says celebrity hairstylist Giannandrea. “The most important thing about it is proper length. A hair extension can be added if necessary.”
How to Get It: Apply volumizing mousse to wet hair and blow-dry. Using a 1-inch curling iron, curl large sections and spray with a dry setting lotion. Part hair to one side and separate the waves with your fingers. Back-brush the crown to create volume. Make two sections in the back and weave them into a fishtail braid down and to the side of the part. Tie the end with a clear elastic and finish with hairspray.
Product Pick: The hairspray of choice for many red-carpet events, L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Strong Hold Hairspray delivers a soft, shiny finish yet keeps your style in place all day. $15, target.com
The Side-Swept Braid
The Look: “This braid is a chic look for the woman on the go,” says Jennifer MacDougall, celebrity hairstylist and L’Oréal Professionnel artist. “It’s a great alternative to an updo and can be worn day or night.”
How to Get It: Use root spray to add volume. Blow-dry with a medium round brush. Section hair into six to eight sections and spray each with hairspray. Curl hair away from the face with a 1-inch barrel iron. Back-comb the crown and top sections of the hair. Apply a texturizing powder throughout and comb your hair to the side with your fingers. Loosely braid over your shoulder and tie the end with a clear elastic. Spray all over with hairspray.
Product Pick: A fine, translucent mix of clay and oat flour, Bumble and bumble Prêt-à-powder adds grip to hair so it’s easier to style. $26, bumbleandbumble.com
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