By NICKY CHAMP
Braided hairstyles have so many perks: they disguise unwashed hair, make regrowth look completely intentional, sweep annoying fringes out of your eyes and in the case of the braided undercut it’s a less permanent alternative than shaving the side of your head a la Allice Dellal or Miley Cyrus.
If the last time you braided hair was on your Cabbage Patch Kid roughly 20 years ago or you haven’t yet managed to master the art of self-braiding never fear because we’ve rounded up three experts in the hair biz to give you the tips and tricks you need to pull off any braided ‘do.
The Braided Undercut.
The braided undercut has been spotted on models Chanel Iman and Delevingne at the punk-themed Met Gala in May this year and on celebs like Kristen Stewart, Khloe Kadashian and Jennifer Aniston. Yes, Jennifer Aniston.
Jessica Barr, founder of The Blowdry Boutique teaches us how to easily get a edgy, bohemian look with the braided undercut:
Step 1: Wash the hair with an anti-frizz shampoo & conditioner. Part hair with a comb evenly to one side (shorter side being where you will construct the braid)
Step 2: Guard the hair with a heat protector gel (like evo hot tool shaper) then blowdry the hair dead straight keeping the hair parted. Slide clip the larger side parted hair (use hair spray to make part neat and tidy) to make it easier to control the braid.
Step 3:. On the shorter side of the part – take three sections and start braiding, keep adding to your foundation until you have reached your desired length of braid.
Step 4: Using a small clear elastic, tie off the braid. Pin and hide the end of the braid at the nape of the neck and secure with bobby pins.
Step 5:. Using the comb, tidy up the fly aways on the braid with hairspray.
Note: you can also twist the hair instead of braiding it. And if you need more visuals, check out the video from Refinery 29 below:
The Side Braided Fringe.
International hair stylist, Barney Martin says winter is an excellent time to wear braids as the style is keeps “frizz-prone hair at bay and avoids the fly-away affect”.
Martin’s steps for how-to do the side braided fringe:
Step 1: Part your hair into a deep side part and plait down the hairline towards your face. For a tighter look keep the plaits smaller with less hair and for a chunkier look, incorporate more hair into the plait.
Step 2: Once you have plaited it down to the hairline, bring the braid to the side and continue to braid down across, bringing in hair down from the crown. This will create that dropped side fringe look.
Step 3: Once you have reached the other side of the head, plait down as usual without bringing in more hair into the braid. Pin the braid to the side of the head to secure.
Step 4: Finish off with spray to keep the braid in place. To achieve a more effortless, undone look, gently pull on the braided hair to loosen it up.
To achieve an updo like Kristen Stewart and Nicole Richie below, pin the side braid to the center back of your hair and braid the rest of your hair and twist it into a bun or pull your remaining hair to the same side as your fringe plait and continue braiding.
The Milkmaid Braid.
A Milkmaid braid is two long plaits pinned around the sides of your head, below the crown. It looks best in a looser pulled out style like Mary Kate Olsen’s version here.
This looks a bit like twisted ropes on your noggin (in a GOOD way) as opposed to plaited hair and it comes with one big bonus: it’s way easier to do.
Step 1: Take two sections of the top of your hair and twist it the same way around. E.g. both clockwise or either both anti-clockwise.
Step 2: Twist the two sections together, similar to a fish braid. Pull in more hair like in a braid –making sure you twist the extra hair into the bigger twist.