From big and chunky the tiny and messy, braids are a must 'do this season.
Don't let their intricate details intimidate you; in a few steps you can make pretty plaits like actress Drew Barrymore. Celebrity hairstylist Jessica Tingley of the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles takes us through step-by-step in recreating five different braid styles - from soft and simple to funky and intricate.
- Dana Oliver
Soul Brother, FilmMagic | Ray Tamarra, Getty Images
THE MESSY BRAID-BUN
To get a look like Nicole Richie's, create four face-framing braids, securing them as close to the ends as possible with an elastic. Twist the remaining hair into a messy bun. Then comes the fun part: undo the elastics on the braids and incorporate them into the bun, securing with bobby pins. The result? Super soft and romantic!
This red carpet hair style staple works best on shoulder length or longer hair, like Salma Hayek's. Use a fine tooth comb (it makes a huge difference!) to make a neat middle part and work the two halves of your hair into two tight, very clean, low braids. Pull the braids up and around the top of your head, securing them with bobby pins and hiding the ends underneath the braid from the opposite side.
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THE EDITORIAL BRAID
Seemingly-impossible plaits usually reserved for magazine spreads
Look 1: Fishtail Braids
Fishtail braids are a variation of French braids: Instead of incorporating each new hair section into the braid, let it go after twisting it over the braid, and grab a new section in its place. They take a little practice but once you've got it, it's a piece of cake. The version on the left was shaken out for a messy effect.
Look 2: Braid-Elastics
Smooth hair into a high, side ponytail, and separate out a bottom section of the hair to make a small braid. Wrap the ponytail around itself to create a bun. Finally, wind the braid around the base of the bun to hide the elastic, securing the end with a bobby pin.
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THE HEADBAND BRAID
Look 1: Multibraid Band
For Blake Lively's pretty look, make three to four small braids along an uneven part, securing the ends with small elastics and hiding them under your hair with a bobby pin.
Look 2: French Braid Band
To get Lauren Conrad's look, (hint: it's a great tactic for growing-out bangs!) side part your hair and create a small french braid in front, framing the face for a headband effect. Secure the end of the braid with a small elastic.
THE SIDE SWEPT BRAID
The secret here is to keep things loose as you brush your hair to one side and create a low braid, pulling pieces out of the plaits for a nonchalant, messy effect. For a more for romantic look, twist the bottom of your hair (along the hairline) into a roll and secure with bobby pins as needed.
Now that you've mastered braids, styling your hair into this runway look should be no problem (kidding!). With braids, practice makes perfect. If your style isn't wearable on the first go (and odds are it won't be), try it again until you've got it down.