All Braids, All The Time: Meet The Coolest 'Dos, Ever

So, you knew this was coming, right? For the R29 beauty department, a new season means new opportunities for braid inspiration, and you best believe that we are all. Over. That.
Braided 'dos are way more than a trend; at this point, twists, plaits, and fishtails are now considered an essential part of every girl's coiff repertoire — and there's no better time to try out new plait-spiration than during spring fever (to go with your new brightened-up, lightened-up spring wardrobe, of course).
To bring you truly blow-your-mind braid ideas, we teamed up with weaving genius Isabel Guillen of John Barrett's Braid Bar, who designed three do-it-yourself looks that are anything but ordinary. From a Celtic-princess-esque braid crown to a totally fierce French-braid mohawk, these looks do require a little bit of time and skill — but (we promise!) they're easily adaptable to every level of braid expertise.
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So, if you're anything like us, and are desperately in need of some new ways to weave this spring, these totally edgy new 'dos will add major pow to your plaiting résumé. Stretch those fingers and dive in — these flat-out-gorgeous styles are the braids of the future.
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Makeup by Katie Mellinger; Model Maia Smillie.
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The Braid Turban
This braided crown is about as far from Heidi as you can get — a beautifully badass look worthy of a Game of Thrones heroine.

Zara Combination Printed Blouse, $59.90, available at Zara; H&M Pink Lace Print Sweater, available at H&M stores.
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To start, clip the hair at the crown of your head up and away.
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Next, grab a section of hair just below the clipped-off area, and separate it into four sections.
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Begin a four-strand braid by pulling the outside strand of hair over the two strands to the left. Then, pull the same strand back, under that middle strand.
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Continue braiding, alternating sides; take the outside strand, pull it over two, and then back under one. It takes a bit of time for the braid to take shape, but after a bit of weaving, you'll see that you have a cool, thick, rope-like braid. If you're a braiding amateur, feel free to swap in a standard three-strand braid, here.
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Continue your braid all the way down to the ends of the hair and secure with a clear elastic.
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Starting at the top of the braid, pull the weave apart, so that it looks messy and textured.
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Pick up the section of hair behind the first braid, as shown, and add in another braid (four-strand or three-strand, whichever you prefer!). Weave all the way down, secure with another elastic, and then pull apart the braid for texture.
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Grab a section on the other side of your head and fishtail this one — it will give the finished look even more intricate texture and detail (again, if you're not looking to challenge yourself too much, a three-strand braid is just fine).
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Pull the braid apart for more texture.
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Just as you did on the opposite side of your head, take the section behind the fishtail, add one more four- or three-strand braid, and secure with an elastic.
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Release the clipped hair so it flows over the braids. Next, start pinning the braids in a criss-cross manner, from one side of your head to the other. Bring the first braid across the middle of your forehead, as shown.
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Continue to crisscross and pin braids across your head. You'll end up with an awesomely textured, bohemian mess of braids.
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We love how this look is like a trendy turban, but made completely out of braids — how cool is that?
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The Feminine Fauxhawk
For those days when you want your hair totally out of your face — and want to make a rockin' statement, of course — this woven, triple-Frenched look will hit the spot.

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Start by drawing two straight side parts from your hairline (they should line up with the insides of your eyebrows) all the way down the back of your head. Clip all of the hair outside of that middle section to the side and out of the way.
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French braid the center section, starting at the hairline and moving back towards the crown of your head.
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Continue braiding all the way down the center of your head, converting the braid into a three-strand once you are no longer braiding against your scalp. Tie the braid off with an elastic midway down the section of hair, so that there is a substantial amount of hair left loose at the ends. Wrap a small strand of hair around the base and pin it in place to hide the elastic.
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Next, French braid one side of the hair, creating a plait that's parallel to the center braid. Incorporate all of the hair on that side of the head into the braid as you go.
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Here's the fun part: Once you get to the nape of your neck, start weaving this braid into the center braid. To do this, take the section of the braid you're working on that's closest to the center, insert it into one of the loops of the center braid, and pull through. Continue to braid, then weave again. Make sure that you're completing a full braid step (outside, center, outside center) before weaving a strand in, or the outside braid will lose its shape.
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Once you've braided and woven your way down to the point where the ends of the braids line up, tie off that second braid with an elastic, covering the elastic with a wrapped strand of hair.
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Repeat the same process on the other side of your head, so that you have three parallel French braids. Weave this braid into the corresponding side of the middle braid, then tie off and wrap the elastic with hair to hide it.
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Boom. That is one seriously epic woven look. If the whole weaving thing seems like too much for you, this look would also look great if the braids were left separate, and then brought together at the end in one elastic.
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To add some extra badass to this look, Guillen massaged the braided hair to encourage texture and flyaways, and slicked the sides back with a bit of water to add contrast.
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Ta-da! Make sure you have some exciting plans, so that your to-die-for plaits enjoy their moment in the spotlight.
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The Not-So-Prim-And-Proper Braid
This rebel-ballerina look incorporates three different kinds of braids into one — but don't worry, it's totally doable.

Preen Islia Top, available this spring through Preen.
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To start, create a super-deep side-part — line it up so that it's roughly positioned at the end of your eyebrow.
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Starting at the part, grab two small sections of hair and twist them both — separately — towards the opposite side of your head. Then, wrap the twists together twice, also towards the front.
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Add a bit of hair to both sections, and repeat the previous step: Twist them separately towards the opposite side of your head, and then wrap them together.
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Continue the process of adding hair, twisting the sections, then wrapping them together in the same direction. You'll end up with a cool rolled look that builds down the front of your hairline.
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Once you get to your ear, clip this section off.
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Next, split the hair just under your part into two sections, and French braid each into skinny cornrows.
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Secure the two cornrows with elastics.
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A study in contrasts: We love how the tough cornrowed side plays off of the feminine rolled hair on the other side.
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Lift the hair at the crown, and tease it slightly to add texture and volume.
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Unclip the roll and bring the twist to the center of the back of the head. Secure it to the teased hair with pins — the teased texture will provide the traction the pins need to stay put.
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To finish off, gather together all of the hair (cornrows and all!) and weave it into a simple three-strand braid.
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Wrap the hair in a chignon and pin into place.
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Et voila. Totally pretty, but with enough of an edge to be worthy of a big night out.
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A word to the wise: If you're not feeling the new techniques offered up in this story, feel free to sub in a three-strand or French braid for the more complicated plaits. These styles will still look stunning with simpler weaving techniques — but if you're ready to advance your braiding skills, you'll totally earn a gold star with these intricate 'dos!
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