What do a milkmaid, waterfall, and fishtail all have in common? They are names of one of the hottest hair trends around: braids!
If you follow style news, you’ll know that braids are one of the biggest hair trends today. Braids are seen everywhere from runway shows to celebrities sporting this style at A-list events. There are so many different types of plaits to choose from and they can be a great way to conceal a bad hair day—a good comb and a little bit of hair spray goes a long way! Though they can look daunting, I love braids because they’re just so easy to do and the possibilities are almost endless. Braids are also suitable for all ages – don’t decide you’re too old for braids before you’ve looked through my list and tried a few. Today, I’ve picked out my favorite types of braids along with my step-by-step guide to creating these looks on your own!
A classic braid is the simplest type of braid. To begin with, comb your hair and separate it into three sections: right, left and middle. With a firm grasp on all three sections, weave them in a consistent pattern switching the left, right and middle sections over (not under) one another. You are basically putting the side sections on top of the middle section until you reach the bottom of your hair. Secure with a hair tie once you reach the end.
A French braid is an easy up-do that looks elegant and it’s great if you want to keep your hair out of your face or you’re growing out bangs. This type of plait requires your hair to be combed and detangled prior to starting, so make sure you brush your hair well before you get started or you may find yourself tied up in knots! Try using a little bit of spray mist to detangle if needed. Decide where you want to start your French braid, and grab some hair at the starting point to begin. (I like to start my French braids about an inch before the crown of my head.) Taking the small amount of hair, section it off into right, left and center pieces. Begin like you would with a traditional plait; layer the sections on top of each other so that the French braid has begun. Once each section has crossed other sections at least once, grab more hair as you go along. For example, if you are crossing the right section over the center section, grab an inch of loose hair from the right side and then cross the thicker section over the middle. Continue these steps until all of your hair has been added to the French braid. Once you run out of additional hair to add to the sections of your French braid, continue the steps for a traditional plait until your reach the end and secure with a hair band. If you have shoulder length hair you could also try tucking up the ‘tail’ of your braid in the hollow between the braid and your head.
If you’re looking to do a reverse French braid, take the sections of your hair UNDER the center section of your hair while braiding instead of over.
The cascading effect of a waterfall braid can look daunting, but it’s really not as hard as it looks. The waterfall braid is similar to a French braid, so if you can do a French braid, you’re already at an advantage. This type of plait begins right at your forehead. Begin this style like you would with a French braid. Once you’ve done a few inches of a French braid, it’s time to incorporate the cascading effect. When you cross a section of hair over the center strand, drop it completely and continue the braid with a new section of hair. This will create a waterfall effect. Continue this process until you reach the desired end of your waterfall braid. This type of plait generally works well from one side of the head to the other. While it might take a few attempts to master a waterfall braid, give it a few goes and you’ll see that it gets easier every time you try!
A fishtail braid can look like it took hours to do—but it’s actually almost as simple as a traditional plait. For beginners, I would suggest starting out with tying your hair in a low ponytail with a basic hair band. If you’re a pro, skip this step altogether. Divide your hair into two sections with a center part. Take a small section (no more than an inch/two centimeters) from the outer edge of one side of your hair and cross it OVER that side of your hair. Then weave that same small portion of hair UNDER the other side of your hair. Repeat this step on the other side, and continue this process until you get to the end of your hair. Be consistent in the size of the small portion of hair you are overlapping to keep your fishtail braid looking even. When you have finished your fishtail braid, secure the end with a hair tie and use scissors to cut the elastic that was once holding your ponytail. Give a few tugs throughout the plait for an effortless chic look.
A milkmaid braid will take you from ordinary to sophisticated in mere minutes! Start by parting hair in the middle or just off-center and create two traditional plaits. (Enjoy your throwback to childhood for a few minutes if desired!) Secure the ends with clear elastic ties. Then take one plait and cross it over your head where a headband would go and secure with bobby pins. Do the same with the other plait. It sometimes helps to create a slight X shape when crossing the plaits. Finish off by pinning down ends and spraying, and you are ready to go.
Plaits are great whether you are looking for an up-do or are just trying to conceal a bad hair day! All you need are some elastics and your hands to make it happen!