Master These Braiding Tips For Instant Pinterest Gold

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Is there a hairstyle that's more beloved than the braid? It's high-impact, easy to do, and perfect for basically any situation. There's a reason why this classic style is repeated over and over again on red carpets and in DIY slideshows. But, after a while, your technique can get a little tired. That's where we come in. Welcome to 29 Ways To Braid — a series in which we'll walk you through a ton o' new styles and pro tips for expert weaving. And we wouldn't do this alone. We tapped veteran braid guru Sarah Potempa to show us the ropes — and the rope braids. Click through to see tips and tricks for every skill level — and simple touches that will take your braids from basic to badass. You'll never look at a fishtail the same way again.

Next-Level Tips For Pro Braiders

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Fishtail braids? Nailed 'em. Dutch braids? Kid stuff to you. You, friend, are a plaiting pro — with fingers so nimble, you can weave even the most intricate of patterns. But there is still so much to learn when it comes to matters of the mane. Potempa has some incredible, boss-level tips for the most advanced braiders out there. Think you're up to the challenge? Keep scrolling, lady.
Photographed by Winnie Au.
Tip 18: Give Your Hair A High-Five
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.
Tip 19: Be A Snake In The Grass Hair
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.
Tip 20: Do Go Chasing Waterfalls
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.
Tip 21: Take Your Fishtail To A New Level
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.
Tip 22: Mix Braids, Not Booze
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.
Tip 23: Keep Your Braids To Yourself
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."
Tip 24: Get Your Weave On
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.