6 Easy Braided Hair Looks
The version shown here, which works for medium-length to long hair, was created with French braids. “But you can easily re-create it with regular braids,” says Isabel Guillen, a stylist and braiding expert with the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman, in New York City, who designed the styles in this story. Separate hair into two low pigtails. Braid both sections and secure with clear elastics, such as Goody Mary elastics ($2.50, target.com). Next, pull one braid up over your head and bobby-pin it an inch back from your hairline. Repeat on the opposite side, positioning the second braid behind the first.
Watch this video for a refresher on how to French-braid hair.
For this style, the longer your hair, the better. Part it the way you like, then separate a one-inch section of hair at each temple and clip those sections out of the way. Gather your remaining hair at the nape of your neck. Then create two or three low braids, securing the ends with clear elastics. Twist each braid until it curls into itself; bobby-pin in place. Last, unclip and twist the two pieces by your temples. Pin under the braided bun or, for a slightly fancier flourish, tuck their ends into the bun before securing.
Watch this video for a refresher on how to braid hair.
Side Fishtail Braid
This braid, which works best with longer hair, needs a bit of texture for hold; if your hair is straight, give it some wave by winding one-inch sections around a curling iron. Gather your hair to one side in a low ponytail, securing it close to the base of your neck with a clear elastic. Next, create a fishtail braid: Separate the ponytail into two sections. Hold one section; with your other hand, take a narrow strip of hair from the outside of the other section and bring it over to the one in your hand. Repeat, incorporating hair from one section into the other until you run out of hair; then secure with another clear elastic. Finally, with a pair of scissors, carefully cut out the top elastic to give the braid a loose, casual look. For a more bohemian effect, gently pull the braid apart with your fingers.
Side French Braid
This style works even for short lengths. First create a deep side part. Starting from the part and working toward the opposite temple, French-braid a section of hair about an inch wide along your hairline, stopping at the temple. Secure with a clear elastic or bobby pins. Style the rest of your hair as usual.
Slick down center-parted medium-length to long hair with a comb and some gel (such as L’Oréal Paris Strong Hold Defining Gel, $7 at drugstores). Secure hair at the nape with a clear elastic. Form a fishtail braid, then twist the braid around itself to create a “flower.” Pin to hold.
Separate the upper portion of medium-length to long hair (from temples to crown) and temporarily clip it atop your head. Take a small section at each temple and tightly French-braid it, working back toward your crown; secure each braid with a clear elastic. Next, unclip the hair at your crown. Use one hand to hold this section up and the other to tease it at the roots with a fine-tooth comb, making a little pouf. Gently smooth over the teased portion with a paddle brush. Then anchor the braids to the bottom of the pouf with bobby pins.