Witness the comeback of braids, which haven’t been this stylish since, well, fifth grade. What makes this updated version grown-up is its soft texture and relaxed style. “It’s chic yet beachy,” says Laurent Philippon, a hairstylist in New York City. Let pieces fall forward to add to the casual appeal.
How to: (1) Using your hands, work a golf ball–size dollop of mousse through dry hair. Try Barex Gloss Mousse Normal Hold on wavy hair, Strong Hold on fine (each $26, folica.com). (2) Finger-tousle hair for fullness. (3) Gather strands under one ear, braid, and secure with an elastic.
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The Triple Knots
This creation only appears elaborate; making the three small rosettes couldn’t be easier. It’s their position, nestled together along the nape of the neck, that gives the style an elegant vibe.
How to: (1) Comb hair back, divide into three sections, and create three low ponytails at the hairline. (2) One at a time, twist each ponytail length and wrap the hair around the base of the tail, creating small buns. (3) Secure with bobby pins and set with hair spray, like L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray ($15 at drugstores).
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The High Bun
Somewhere between laid-back and ladylike, this style works on long hair or short and is ideal for tucking away unruly bangs. The knot’s location—at the crown of the head—draws attention to the eyes and the cheekbones, giving your face an instant lift.
How to: (1) Spritz a texturizing spray, like Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray ($23, bumbleandbumble.com), on dry hair, scrunching sections to create body. (2) Gather hair into a high ponytail so it rests at the very top of your head. Secure with an elastic and use bobby pins to tack up shorter strands in back. (3) Gently tousle the ends, randomly twisting them under and pinning them around the ponytail’s base. For longer lengths, create a loose bun and secure with pins.
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The Modern Ponytail
Gathering hair into a low pony is simple, but you can make it look sophisticated and polished by creating a deep side part before securing your strands. “This feminizes and softens the look,” says Luigi Murenu, a hairstylist in New York City.
How to: (1) Sweep a defrizzing serum, like John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum ($10 at drugstores), through wet hair, then blow-dry hair straight with a paddle brush. (2) Line up a comb with the arch of your eyebrow and make a part. (3) Secure hair in an elastic at the nape of your neck.
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The Quick Twist
A classic French twist looks just as appropriate with a sundress as it does with a formal gown. Plus, it’s deceptively simple—even with shorter lengths.
How to: (1) Work a volumizer, such as Redken Thickening Lotion 06 Body Builder ($13, redken.com for salons), through towel-dried hair, then scrape hair back with your fingers to create natural-looking volume. (2) Smooth hair over to one side and secure with several bobby pins down the back of the head (where the center of the twist will lie) in a vertical line. (3) Flip hair to the other side so strands cover the line of pins. Roll and tuck the hair ends under, securing with larger U-shaped pins to hold everything in place.