The Sneaky Trick That'll Upgrade Your Braid

Photographed by Jacqueline Harriet.
When it comes to braids, there's nothing more simple or classic than the triple-strand plait we've been doing since grade school. Though the style is a go-to time after time, we have to admit, it can look dated when it's up against a mood board of trendy macramé styles. That’s exactly why we were surprised when the braid was given a modern update on the spring runways — a wrapped base creating a hybrid ponytail-braid sitch. And, when we spotted the very same look on the streets of NYC, we knew we had to get the pro technique.

Hairstylist Erica Whelan suggests starting with two-day-old hair for better hold when braiding. If you're a clean freak and can't stand skipping your daily wash, just add texture to your squeaky-clean hair with a spritz of dry shampoo, like Pantene Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo. Then, create a clean middle part, and separate your hair into three sections — two small sections from the front of your ears on either side of your head and one large section at the back of the head.

Now, take the large section of hair, and start a classic braid from the nape of the neck down to the ends. After securing with a clear elastic, Whelan says to start “pancaking” — as in, pulling and stretching out pieces of the braid to thicken it up and make it look full. You can dust on some volumizing powder to help build the texture. Finally, take one of the small front sections, tease, and wrap around the base of the braid. Pin it on the underside to conceal the pin, and repeat with the other section of hair.

Once you've gotten the technique down, have fun and play around with it. Try gelling the two front sections for a sleek look, or twist them before wrapping the braid for a whimsical touch. Looks like your daily braid game got a whole lot more interesting.

Runway hairstyles have a track record of being too intricate and fashion-y for everyday wear. Au contraire. With the help of Pantene, we're stalking the streets of New York to find the coolest runway-inspired hairstyles IRL and then breaking down how to get them in our new column, Hair Watch. Read up, and stay one curl and twist ahead of the crowd.
Photographed by Jacqueline Harriet.
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