Braids For All! 4 DIY Plaits For Midi Cuts

We’re totally crazy about the versatility and chic appeal of shoulder-grazing hair. What other people see as a “growing-out stage,” we see as a length ripe for styling possibilities filled with textured styles — like braids. Man, do we love us some braids. Once you get the swing of it, braids are easy to whip up and can make your three-day-strike against showers look downright intentional, and, might we say, chic.
So, we reached out to hairstylist Damian Monzillo to walk us through four new braids that are fast, easy, and filled with ‘tude. Ready to weave your way to a better hair day? Follow along and let’s get this plait-party started.
Advertisement
1 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A Jeweled Crown Braid
The name pretty much says it all. This style is filled with elegance and glamour for those moments when, well, you want to feel like a princess. Monzillo says this style works best on second-day hair for texture and hold (if you're working with clean hair, just add pomade, hairspray, or dry shampoo — anything that will give the hair some tack).

Ann Yee Stamos Printed Top, $284, available at Ann Yee.
2 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
This style is actually two braids, one at the crown with a jeweled strand, and one with the rest of the hair. These are then pinned together to form a crown. For the first braid, use a tail comb to section out the top crown of your hair — use the arches of your eyebrows as guides. Separate the front left section into three plaits, then loop a jeweled strand over the middle section. Start French braiding all the way around the center of the crown.
3 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Work your way around the crown in a circular manner until you’ve made a complete circle at the top of your head. Finish braiding to the ends, then secure the braid with a small elastic. Tuck in the ends underneath the finished braid and secure with a U-shaped bobby pin. Monzillo says the stray ends that pop out add character.
4 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Begin the second French braid about an inch from the crown. Take three horizontal sections of hair (parallel to the floor), then French braid around your head, gathering hair from the bottom section and pulling it up into the braid.
5 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Once you've gone around your crown, secure the ends with a small elastic. Then, using U-shaped pins, secure the end of that braid underneath the top crown braid.
Advertisement
6 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Gently secure the bottom braid to the top using U-shaped pins all the way around. Monzillo advises folding down one side of the U-shaped pin before you stick it into the style. “It creates an anchor, so when you stick the pin in, the lifted side pulls against the hair and it will stay.” Too tricky? Just be sure to stick the pin in towards the scalp and then push down and back around to anchor.
7 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Continue pinning all the way around and you’re done!
8 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
You can use a tail comb to gently smooth any loose sections or your fingers to spread and loosen the braid for a gentle, more romantic feel. Finish with a touch of hairspray.
9 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
With just two French braids — and a simple, embellished rope — your hair is out of your face in the most regal way.
10 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A Mohawk Braid
Who knew braids could look so edgy? This style crashes all ideas of sweet pigtail-wearing days of yore. We're not only obsessed with this pretty punk style, but it’s also really easy and really fast. Can you tell we’re in love?

Lover top.
Advertisement
11 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Monzillo says that the trick to this style is to center the braid right between the eyes. Make a part over the arch of each eyebrow with a tail comb all the way to the curve of your head, then secure the resulting top section of hair to the crown of your head with a duckbill clip. Separate the two side sections to get them out of your way.
12 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Release the center section and start braiding about 1/2-inch from the hairline. “Starting a little further back will lift the front of the braid slightly, like a mohawk should,” says Monzillo.

Alexis Bittar cuff.
13 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Using uniform tension, tightly braid the center section all the way down the curve of your head. “You can always loosen later, but you can’t tighten it once it’s done,” advises Monzillo. Tie with an elastic.
14 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Hide the ends of the braid by tucking it underneath the rest of your hair and securing secure with U-shaped pins.
15 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
You’ll want the sides of this style to be sleek, so blow-dry your hair smooth using a round brush. If you want a higher hawk, Monzillo advises slipping your tail comb underneath each section of the braid and lifting slightly.
Advertisement
16 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
For a sleek style with plenty of attitude, this braid couldn't be an easier style to rock out in.
17 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A Braided Chignon
Growing out your bangs or just want to get your hair out of your face? This style is for you and pretty much anyone who doesn’t want to deal with their hair in the chicest way possible. No headbands here.

Ann Yee Robert Top, $322, available at Ann Yee.
18 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Make a side part. Then, using a tail comb, create an L-shaped section, with the bottom of the "L" meeting your hairline. Clip the rest of your hair out of the way with duckbill clips. Starting from the back of the crown of the head (the top of the "L"), and using tiny pieces of hair, do a reverse French braid, tightly weaving your hair towards your hairline. A reverse French is the same as a French, except each section will go under the plait, not over.
19 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Continue braiding tightly along the front hairline, then secure the ends of the braid with an elastic. Pin the braid down the side of your hair about two inches below the crown. Section off the inch of hair below the braid; you’ll use it to cover the evidence later.
20 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Release the rest of the duckbill clips, and wrap the rest of your hair into a chignon, securing it with U-shaped pins. Take the remaining section over your left ear (see, told you we’d get back to that) and sweep it over the bottom of the exposed braid and wrap it around the chignon, securing it with U-shaped pins.
Advertisement
21 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Monzillo has a no-fail tip for pinning a chignon or bun: Always create a star shape when you insert the pins. This ensures that the basic shape won’t fall. You may need more or less than the original five, but that shape always ensures a look that'll last.
22 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A light misting of hairspray finishes the look, and you’re done! The braid peaks out of the hair to give an extra something-something to an otherwise humdrum bun.
23 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A cornrow that's front and center screams confidence like no other, don't you think?
24 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
A Braided Bun
We love this style because not only is it best with second-day hair, but it’s fast and easy. We’re storing this up for a day when we’re running late to work.

Theory Hannalor P Sweater, $335, available at Theory.
25 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Part your hair straight down the middle.
Advertisement
26 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Tie each section into loose ponytails at the nape of the neck. The looseness will allow your hair to cover the center part.
27 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Split each ponytail into two sections and braid them separately. Secure each braid with an elastic.
28 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Take a small pair of scissors and snip one of the ponytail elastics. This is a popular backstage trick that Monzillo loves. “Just be careful to snip only one strand of the elastic so you just get the ponytail holder and not the ponytail," he says. Okay, so maybe we don’t do this style when we’re in a huge hurry.
29 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
In lieu of the snipped elastic, secure the beginning of the braids to the nape of your neck with a large bobby pin. Then, snip the other ponytail elastic and repeat. The key here is to pin them so that the braids crisscross at the nape of your neck.
30 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Starting on the right-hand side, wrap one of the braids into a bun, then secure it with a bobby pin. Wrap each braid around the bun, creating one large, braided plait.
Advertisement
31 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Loosen the braids slightly with your fingers to soften the look, and you're done.
32 of 32
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
See, told you this was simple.
Advertisement