You Have To See Taraji P. Henson’s Amazing Braided Undercut

Empire's season 2 finale may have aired last week, but fans got to enjoy one last night of Cookie before hiatus, thanks to Fox's White Hot Holidays Special. (And if ratings are any indiction, 5 million of you needed a final fix.) Luckily, Taraji P. Henson left us with a little something to get us through a cold, Empire-less winter: a really rad braided undercut to copy.
Celebrity hairstylist Cesar Ramirez, working for Mizani, created the "urban Veronica Lake-inspired" look by pairing big voluminous waves with intricate braids that cleverly mimic an undercut.
We can't bring back Empire, or help you if you missed the cast's special last night, but we can help you with a few tricks to help you mimic Henson's enviable holiday hairstyle. The key to this look is threefold: the design of the braids, the strategic placement of the part, and keeping the curls '40s-inspired.
First up, the part: Ramirez made a sharp part in Henson's hair directly above the arch of her eyebrow. This keeps the look angular with the face and brings the eye up toward the faux undercut. Next, the braids: Whether you attempt this artistry yourself, or enlist a stylist, be sure you follow Ramirez's lead with the pattern. He mimicked the waves in the rest of the hair to keep it exciting but still in sync. And, finally, the waves: Prep the hair before drying (try Mizani Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum) to ensure a smooth finish, then curl 2-inch sections going in the same direction, using a large barrel iron. Allow to fully cool without touching, then be sure to brush through the wave to ensure the final result has the same softness as Henson's look. (And you can use this tutorial to help, too!) We've also got the secret behind Cookie's amazing nails, here.

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