The magic of a braid is that even the most complex-looking design can be simple to create.
Many braiding styles offer an elegant look that will dazzle no matter the event.
A few talented stylists at salons on St. Simons Island recently sat down with us to share three looks for easy, at-home braids.
Their step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process.
Braid No. 1: A mock braid
This braid style isn’t the typical three-strand braid. Brittany Gault, a cosmetologist at Island Day Spa on St. Simons, recommends this style for those who may struggle with braiding.
“This is done with rubber bands and basically small pony tails,” she says. “It has really good hold … it could go to a wedding or it can be for an evening out.”
Step 1: Pull your hair half up, leaving the bottom half loose.
Step 2: Using small elastic bands, pull your hair into a ponytail.
Step 3: Create a second ponytail under the first, picking up hair from either side of the first ponytail. Secure it with an elastic band.
Step 4: Create a third ponytail including the two halves of the first ponytail. This will create the first braid section. Include sections from the first ponytail and pick up more hair from either side of your head.
Step 5: Repeat these steps until all of your hair is combined in the braid.
“It’s basically a row of ponytails that are kind of wrapped within each other,” Gault says.
She says you’ll always be working with two ponytails, and you’ll split the top of the ponytail and wrap the hair around the second ponytail.
“It is a ponytail, so if you don’t know how to braid, you can totally do this just with rubber bands,” she says.
If you can make a ponytail, you can make this braid, Gault says.
Step 6: Fluff out the sections to give the braid a fuller look.
Step 7: Spray with a light mist texture spray to help the hair hold.
“You can do this with fine hair, thick hair, curly hair, straight hair,” Gault says.
“With the rubber bands in it, it gives that insurance that it’s going to stay, no matter what the weather is, no matter what the event is.”
Different hair accessories, like a scarf, scrunchie, brooch or pin, can be added to embellish the look.
Braid No. 2: The fishtail braid
The fishtail braid is a classic look with plenty of versatility.
“The fishtail is one of my favorites just because it’s pretty easy to do yourself,” says Tiffany Taylor, a stylist at Bienvenue on St. Simons. A fishtail can be a good base for an updo style, or it can be left down a natural look.
“You can do a lot of different things,” Taylor says.
“If you did two fishtails, you could bring those two together and have a completely different look. But it’s really easy to do yourself, because it’s just two pieces.”
Step 1: Add some texture to your hair by adding some product, such as dry shampoo or Dryspun texture spray.
Step 2: Section your hair into two pieces with a clean line down the middle.
Step 3: You’ll only work with two pieces of hair with the fishtail. Take a small piece over to the other side.
Step 4: Take small sections from each side and bring them over, going all the way down.
Step 5: Tie with a rubber band at the bottom.
Step 6: To give the braid a more textured look, pull the hair apart.
Step 7: Spray with hairspray.
Braid No. 3: A modified waterfall braid
Waterfall braids look elaborate, but this style can be created on your own in this modified version.
Dori Davis, a stylist at Suite Retreat on St. Simons, says this look can be worn anywhere. It’s easy to do on your own, she says.
The style also keeps your hair out of your eyes.
“This look is good if you’re growing your bangs out even, or if you’re traveling and you don’t want your hair to fly in your face,” she says.
Step 1: Smooth or curl your hair.
Step 2: Create a deep part on either side of your head, with a side part about in line with your eyebrows, three inches back.
Step 3: Divide the part in half.
Step 4: Take about a 2-3 inch section parallel to the side part and braid that section of hair in a regular three-strand braid to below your ear. Tie that with an elastic band.
Step 5: Start with the bottom and go back up the braid loosening the loops of the braid.
Step 6: Go back to the front section and divide your hair into two 1-2 inch sections. One at a time, pull the individual sections through the loop chain.
“It’s just like a crochet loop,” David says.
Step 7: Repeat that process down the loop of the braid to about eye level on the opposite side of the first part.
“If you mess up in your little loop, you can always modify it,” she says.
The loops will become smaller as you go down the braid.
Step 8: Bury and pin the end of the braid.