Whether you're getting glammed up for your first Christmas with your future in-laws, looking for hairstyle ideas to go with your New Year's Eve LBD, or can't wait to rock a braided hairstyle at your wedding next year, fresh takes on braided 'dos are always a good idea.
BRIDES recently caught up with Linsey Snyder Wachalter, founder of Face Time Beauty, who loves braids as much as we do. The style maven gave us the scoop on three braided styles that are just so pretty and so of-the-moment — and easy enough that you'll have them mastered in no time.
Soft Braided Wave
Level: Easy to Intermediate
This soft, romantic look had us at hello. "Half up is very much on-trend right now, and this is the perfect way to make it look more dressed up then just pulling hair into a half ponytail," says Snyder Wachalter. "The trick here is to pull hair out a bit so the braids and twists look loose. This look is perfect for the bride or her bridesmaids at a beach wedding (and looks adorable with a flower crown) or for a night out with your best girlfriends."
- If you have textured hair already, you are good to go. If you need a little boost, add some texturizing spray — Snyder Wachalter recommends Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray — and a bit of a wave with a curling iron to prep the hair.
- Part hair down the middle (or off-center, if desired). Start a French braid from the side of the temple working towards the back. Once you get half way down the back of the head, turn the braid into a tight twist that extends all the way to the end. Secure with small, clear elastic.
- Repeat Step 2 on the other side of the head.
- Use your fingers to pull braid and twists apart a bit to create a modern, loose effect.
- Tie twists together and pin up as desired, perhaps tucking twists under braids and hiding with pins, or twisting the two sections together into one big knot bun. Snyder Wachalter adds, "You have to play with this look as there are so many options and so many ways it can look pretty!"
- Fix any fly-aways and secure any areas that feel too loose with pins.
Adorn hair with a spring of holly or juniper — which could be a bride's "something blue" — for a festive feel.
Braided Ballerina Updo
A DIY braided 'do that ends up looking this elegant? Yes, please! "This is a cute way to put a twist on a clean, classic style," says Snyder Wachalter. "We love this look because it is so easy to do, but looks so advanced. It is hard to notice that it is a braid when the hair is up, and instead it just looks like an intricate yet polished updo. This is a perfect look for a holiday get together with your fiancé’s family. Pair with skinny jeans and heels or wear this look for a ballroom wedding with a gorgeous white gown — it can go either way."
- Pull hair into a super smooth ponytail and add texturizing spray and some wave with a curling iron.
- Braid normally all the way to the end and secure with small, clear elastic.
- Carefully wrap braid around the base of the braid and secure with pins, ensuring the the pins stay hidden under the hair.
- Smooth all hair on head — use spray sparingly!
- If desired, gently pull hair in the braid a bit with fingers to widen bun and make it appear larger.
Braided Holiday Fishtail
Level: Intermediate (best to have assistance)
We love Snyder Wachalter's method for creating a fishtail braid — it's 10 times easier than other techniques and produces the same gorgeous results! "This look is perfect for anyone who loves a very boho, romantic feel. It's 'girl next door gets dressed up,'" says Snyder Wachalter. "It's not your traditional fishtail, but looks much like it and is much easier to accomplish. We love this look because with any braids or twists, the messier they are the more modern they feel. They are completely foolproof!"
- Separate hair by pulling very top portion back into a ponytail; secure with small, clear elastic.
- Flip ponytail up and pull hair back through immediately above the elastic band.
- Pull another section from each side and create another ponytail over the shaft of the last one. Secure with small, clear elastic. Flip larger ponytail up and pull back and through hair immediately above the elastic band.
- Repeat this process until you are at the end of the head near the neck. For any hair not yet incorporated, keep adding to the braid, creating small ponytails and flipping up and through the center of the ponytail.
- Stop wherever desired and secure end of ponytail, aka “fishtail.”
- Backcomb the ends of the hair to give it texture and a super modern feel.
- Use fingers to gently pull out the braid to thicken it and make it appear wider.
Adorn with a sprig of holly, juniper or any type of decorative pins or clips for a festive touch!