The Hair Channel

Three steps to braided chic: an easy beach-to-bar look

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Stylist Team
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When we’re abroad somewhere hot and glamorous, we’re often called upon to jump from sandy beach to slick cocktail bar (yes, life is tough). But how does our hair play into this equation? 

Well, braids can be an easy and chic way to jump the gap – without spending hours holed up in a hotel room glued to our straighteners. 

Versatile and eye-catching, plaits are super-easy to do. They’re also perfect for making a statement as you take a pew on a pavement bistro somewhere exotic, Aperol Spritz in hand. 

“If you’re good at braids, a loose side braid is a nice look - pull the braid out so it adds texture,”  says Megan Stevens, stylist at Jamie Stevens Hair. “Adding a ribbon to this can also look very cool too. Staple products for these looks are mega dust and hair spray. 

“If you want to wear your hair down in the evening, style your hair in two braids during the day then take them out before the party, give your hair a shake and you’ll get nice boho mermaid waves,” she adds.

Here are a few other ways to work the braided look, as guided by our panel of expert hairdressers and stylists:

The braided up-do

“As with all hair-ups, start this with the perfect foundation by blow-drying a good mousse into the hair and curling to add texture,” says Ashleigh Hodges, creative director at Jamie Stevens Hair.

Step one: Section the front and sides of your hair away from the back and clip out of the way. Section the back diagonally, backcomb the top diagonal and then braid both sections loosely.

Step two: Pull the two braids out slightly for an undone texture and twist them around each other to create a textured bun at the nape of the neck.

Step three: Slightly backcomb the roots at the front and braid the two sides. Pull the braids out slightly and wrap them around the bun at the back. Spray a blusher brush with hairspray and brush lightly through the hair to remove flyaways. Finish the look with a shine spray.

The braided pony

“A chunky braided pony is a great updo to have mastered this season, especially for impromptu bar drinks as as it can completely switch up a boring pony,” says Karine Jackson, director at Karine Jackson Hair & Beauty, who has worked with the likes of Neve Campbell, Shelly Conn and Sam Mann.

“A chunky braid is super on-trend,” she adds.

Step one: Separate the hair into three thick equal-sized pieces and braid.

Step two: If you’re looking for something slightly more intricate, experiment with rope and fishtail plaits to give a cool twist.

Step three: You can easily make the look work for your outfit by experimenting with texture; keep a spray gel and comb in your bag to create a sleek look, or a little dry shampoo for a romantic textured braid. 

The chunky braid

“Chunky plaits have had a huge presence on the catwalks this season,” says Ken Picton, director at Ken Picton hair salon. “To create a show-stopping look, it’s important to create volume and texture as this will give you the thickness you need.”

Step one: Prep the hair by doing a double blow dry (blow dry as normal, re-apply your styling product and dry again).

Step two: Use plenty of hair spray to create texture.

Step three: Work the plait loosely to the scalp; don’t worry about being too precise, this look is all about a soft ethereal feel, so let strands fall loose for effortless style.

Images: iStock