6 easy ways to braid your hair
Just us, sneaking a peek at this szn's prettiest plaits.
Set your strands up for success
Before you start braiding, prep your hair to guarantee your work lasts all day (or longer).
Straight: "It's challenging to braid straight hair when it's super clean because it's so smooth," explains DevaCurl stylist Faith Jones Rivers. Wait until you have second- or third-day strands or dupe a li'l dirtiness by hitting freshly washed hair with a texturizing spray like SGX NYC The Do-It-All 3-in-1 Dry Texture Spray ($13, target.com) to give your locks some added grip.
Curly: "Seal in moisture with a styling cream to prevent frizz and flyaways," says Jones Rivers. Try Mane Club's Honey, That's How I Roll Curl Defining Cream ($10, maneclubnyc.com).
Coily: "Stretching your hair using heat or Bantu knots on damp hair can give you a smoother style," shares Jones Rivers. Just use a lightweight protector (we like DevaCurl FlexFactor, $28, devacurl.com) to prevent damage.
Most of us learned a classic braid back in kindergarten—and it's still one of our go-to styles (find the basics on TikTok @girlslifemag).
Get the look: Make your braids last all day by sealing them with spray, says celebrity stylist Heather Weppler, who loves Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Medium ($26, moroccanoil.com). You can braid pigtails, twist braids into an updo, add ribbon and bows...the options are endless.
We love fluffy braids with lots of texture for that "I just got done swimming in the ocean and quickly wove my hair together" vibe.
Get the look: This look works better with a little oomph, so prep your hair with a bit of texture spray or dry shampoo (try Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, $28, theouai.com). Next, create a center part and make normal braids. "Doing little tugs on the wraps gives them a more beachy look," shares Weppler.
Micro braids have a strong African history and protect your natural hair from damage.
Get the look: Ask your stylist to braid synthetic or human hair into a very small part of natural hair, then leave the ends unbraided, hanging straight, says natural hair guru Erinn Courtney (expect a six- to eight-hour appointment). Maintain your micro braids by sleeping in a silk or satin bonnet (try Glow by Daye Satin Bonnet, $20, glowbydaye.com).
These face-framing braids are trendy *and* cute.
Get the look: Use your finger to draw a line an inch back on your part and down the crown of your head, stopping when you've aligned with the arch of your eyebrow, then braid. When you're done? "Ditch the hairspray," says Weppler. "The braids will be touching your face a lot, and adding hair products can lead to breakouts."
Super long braid
No, you don't need to grow your hair for decades to get this lovely length. It's easy to add extensions to make your braids long and dramatic.
Get the look: Slick your natural hair into a ponytail (try using a styling gel like Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Strong Hold Gel, $9, sephora.com) and wrap the length of synthetic hair you want around the elastic of your pony, says Courtney. Then braid!
OK, these aren't really braids, but we love them anyway!
Get the look: Section your hair into face-framing strands and grab some elastic hair ties, wrapping them around your hair and creating a space between the two. Starting with one even space, lightly tug between each hair tie to make a bubble. Continue adding hair ties and bubbles until you reach your tips.
Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our June/July 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.