I’m one of the lucky ones: summer hair for me isn’t favoring a frizzy look instead of begrudgingly blowdrying or seeing a heinous halo of wisps start appearing the minute the humidity climbs. But having straight, sleek, hair does mean limp locks that I’m reluctant to perk up with a styling tool only to watch them quickly wilt again. (It’s worth noting that this often happens in other seasons as well, just usually more slowly. Straight hair is both a blessing and a curse.) And while the nineties are “in” fashion right now, I can’t abide by the grunge-era hair that even freshly washed my tresses will transform into. No amount of dry shampoo can save my hair from its desire to manifest as Dave Grohl’s Nirvana-years matted mane. No matter our hair types, though, the braid will save us all this summer.
Tumbled loosely for a more Boho look, or secured into a smooth plait for a polish, braids are a versatile but reliable styling option for nearly any hair type. (I guess short haired girls will have to wait, but otherwise I can’t think of a sort of hair that they won’t serve.) Pinterest offers limitless looks that incorporate a pretty braid, or a few, but to keep my sanity in the summer months I have two go-to braid styles, the braided headband and the side braid.
Emily at The Freckled Fox blog put together this easy to follow braided headband guide. This is my favorite way to disguise that my Zooey D. bangs are looking less cute and quirky and more like uncooperative grease monkeys. I do use a little dry shampoo spray to wake my bangs up a bit, then twist them back, pin them for a little volume and security, and then layer several braids back and forth across the top of my head. Emily does two total here, but last week I did two fat braids and two skinny ones and I loved the texture and variety.
The side braid might not need broken down, but just in case, I simply pull my hair next to my left ear and commence braiding. It keeps my coarse hair off my neck but doesn’t look as severe as a high pony or a top knot (which I cannot pull off) that would serve the same function. I’ve learned that a tight braid nearer to my ear is key, and that leaving my hair free for a few inches instead of braiding all the way to the end looks less like schoolgirl pigtails and more ladylike. The more tendrils start escaping and sweaty pieces poke out, the prettier the side braid gets. It can’t be messed up.
One last bit of praise for braids? My mom used to lovingly brush and braid my long hair before bed when I was a little girl so that it wouldn’t get so knotted while I slept. When the thermometers were bursting past one hundred last week in L.A., I took to that nighttime ritual to stay a little more comfortable. Over just a week or so of adopting that habit again, I’m noticing my hair is much more cooperative out of the shower and needs way less detangling.
What’s the best way to wear braids for your hair type? — Casandra Armour