Is there any occasion on which you can't wear a braid nowadays? For proof, we looked to Jessica Biel's stunning red carpet look from last weekend's Environmental Media Awards in L.A. Created by hairstylist Mara Roszak, the plait was loose, wavy, and just barely tight enough to stay together. Dare we be predictable and call it romantic? Regardless of the description, the best part is that it's super-easy to copy. The key ingredient is just shine, shine, and even more shine.
You know how we just said "shine" three times? It's because that's the secret to taking this messy French braid from haphazard to polished. To get the look at home, start with dry hair (clean or dirty), but don't spritz in too much dry shampoo if you're working on day-two hair — this look shouldn't be matte. To begin, wrap small sections of hair around a one-inch curling wand or iron from root to tip. Go in opposite directions, and allow the hair to fully cool before touching it. Once set, resist brushing the waves; instead, finger-comb them or use a wide-tooth comb to separate any sections that look too perfect. Now, it's time for the gloss. Opt for a formula that has some texture to it — a shine spray that's super-heavy will weigh down the hair and prevent the braid from holding. We like Oribe's Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray for this, or try Sexy Hair Concepts Spray Clay. Mist hair from roots to ends, then start your French braid at ear level, keeping it nice and loose. Secure with a plastic elastic (black if you have dark hair, clear for blondes), and loosen the braid a bit with your fingers, allowing the front sections to fall out, if they're short enough. To finish, give the hair a mist of firm-hold hairspray, which will keep the braid intact and add more light-reflecting goodness. We like L'Oréal's Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold for this. Et voilà — a messy braid pretty enough for the red carpet.