According to Potempa, the hardest part of pulling off the ever-popular five-strand braid is evening out each section. "The easy way to make sure it's even is to use your hand," she explains. Simply run your fingers through your hair in a high-five position. There you go — even sections.
Our favorite kinds of braids are those that look more complicated than they actually are. Case in point: this snake braid. To make it happen, all you have to know is how to execute the three-strand. "Once you've gotten to the end of your braid, hold two strands together, and push them up the third strand," Potempa says. "Then, slowly lower the strands back down, so they create a snake-looking shape on the hair." Pin it back, and you'll look like gold, girl.
Waterfall braids are popular for a good reason: The style still allows you to wear your hair down, but with a little bit of coolness mixed in. If you're still scratching your head as to how to pull it off, Potempa has an easy tip: "The key is dropping the bottom section [of the braid], and replacing it with a new one every loop," Potempa says. Remember the mantra tip from earlier? You'll want to implement it here.
Potempa likes to call this style the Fishtail Pro, because it's typically done by (you guessed it) a professional hairdresser. It requires a few extra fingers, so grab a friend to help you. The basic fishtail technique (in which you grab a piece from the side or back) applies, "but instead of just pulling it forward, you split that small section in half, and drop one part in front and one part in back," Potempa explains. Yes, it sounds simple. But even our fingers fumbled. Practice makes perfect — and friends are great helpers.
Ever wanted to show off all your braiding skills at once? You gloater, you. Potempa says you can — by mixing your plaits into one glorious style. "Try mixing a fishtail braid with a three-strand braid with a five-strand braid," she says. The result? Boho realness, in the best way.
Sometimes, the best braids are the ones you can't immediately see. If you have longer layers, a strategically tucked braid can transform your strands into a chic bob. "Pull up the top section of hair, braid the bottom, and pin," Potempa says. "Then, let the top section down."
Adding some texture to your hair with a ribbon or some string is always a solid move. But we love the idea of going a step further. Potempa says to go for something with a pop of color to add that little something extra. In this case, it's a lime-green shoelace. Hey, inspiration can come from anywhere, right?
Photographed by Winnie Au, Hair by Sarah Potempa, Makeup by Jamie Dorman / ABTP, Nails by Isadora Rios / ABTP, Styled by Emily Holland, Modeled by Ashley / Wilhelmina, Modeled by Anastasia / Wilhelmina, Modeled by Olga / Wilhelmina, Modeled by Manuela / Wilhelmina.