It’s humid, hot and sticky out—keep your tresses tame in a casual and chic up-do.
Although we love a good topknot and fishtail braid, we’re looking for something a little more advanced. These three hairstyles aren’t for the braiding beginner—but if you’re up for the challenge, check out our step-by-step photo tutorial below.
A few things to keep in mind before you get started: Most braids are best achieved with day-after-wash hair (a good excuse to skip that morning shampoo). Later, after styling, you can apply shine products to freshen up your locks. Have all the supplies you’ll need (comb, bobby pins, hair elastics, gel) laid out in front of you. And a double-sided mirror makes all the difference!
For all you first-time braiders, start out with this style—it’s easy to learn, but will make you feel like a braiding pro. A very ladylike look, this updated Heidi braid resembles the Victorian-esque rolled hairstyles of the 1940′s.
1. Part hair down the middle and separate into two sections. On one side, take the front section of hair from the ear to the hairline (remember this is a half up half down look).
2. Hold hair at roots and begin to twist forward toward the hairline. Continue the twist moving your hands up and away from you head.
3. Secure the twist temporarily with a clip on top of the head at the center part. Repeat these steps on the other side.
4. Take the end of one twist and continue twisting the hair. Loop the section around and pin on front twist loop of the opposite side (it should resemble a figure eight).
5. Tuck the ends behind the clip and pin. Repeat this step on the other side.
6. Remove temporary clip and pin the rest of the twist. Pin hair from the hairline toward the twist, and from the crown toward the twists. When pinning the twists themselves, push pins in the opposite direction than the hair is twisted for a better hold. Hair spray is a must for this look!
Braids will crisscross at the nape of your neck rather than at the top of your head.
1. Begin by dividing your hair into two equal sections. If you prefer a side part at the front of your hairline, make sure the part is centered from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck. Tie one side with a rubber band to keep it out of the way while you begin braiding the other side.
2. Take three small pieces from the front of the section and begin to French braid following the hairline down toward the ear.
3. When the braid reaches the ear you will need to switch your hands so that you are braiding from the back of the head. Continue the braid from the ear to the nape of the neck by slowly adding pieces from the crown and back of the head. Make sure each section that is added lays flat on the head until it is added to the braid.
4. Once the braid has reached the nape of the neck and all the hair from the first section has been added, continue braiding to the desired end and secure with a small (preferably clear) elastic.
5. Check to make sure that no pieces of hair from the other section were added to the braid and that the part is still in place.
6. Repeat these steps on the other side.
7. Once the braid has reached the ear continue the braid slightly north of the nape of the neck. When all the hair has been added to the braid, it should sit just above the braid from the first side. Take the end of the second braid and place it on the front of the first braid, tuck it slightly behind or inside the front braid. Secure with bobby pins.
8. Repeat step 7. Place the end of the first braid on the front of the second braid and secure with pins.
9. Pin braids by adding pins in the same direction of the braid (from the crown of the head out toward the hairline). Use lots of hair spray and voilà!
Also known as the shave and side swoop. The end result is a faux side-shave look, with lots of volume and hair on the right side. To further emphasize the look, add hair gel to the left side to keep hair slick and close to the head.
1. Begin with an extreme side part. Add desired volume to the roots at the front of the swoop and keep this section near the front of the face. The hair should sit on your shoulders in three sections (one on the front right shoulder, one on the left and one on the back).
2. Take three pieces of hair from the side of the head with less hair (opposite of the swoop) and close to the hairline.
3. Begin braiding by adding sections of hair from underneath the braid (rather than on top of the braid). Each “cross” will be made by going under the other sections of hair. If you are familiar with regular French braiding, this is just the inverse. It might feel strange at first but you’ll get the hang of it!
4. Continue the braid down the hairline toward the nape of the neck. Once you’ve braided the first section, you will need to switch your hand position to braid the hair at the back of the head.
5. Once the braid reaches your right ear, only the front swoop section of hair should remain. Switch your grip again so that the braid is sitting on the right shoulder—it will feel like you are bringing the hair over (not under).
6. Add pieces from the back of the section of hair that remains, and work your way forward so that the last piece is the very front of the swoop. You may even leave the very front piece of the swoop out. Braid to the end and finish with a small hair elastic.
Click through the step-by-steph photo galleries below
Braiding and styling by Hester Hodde; Photos by Chris New