For as long as I’ve lived, I’ve never, ever been able to produce an adequate French braid on myself or anyone else. Standard braids are easy enough, and I’ve been able to turn out a single standard one on myself with fair results. However, anything beyond this has been literally impossible. I’ve practiced on my own hair and on others dozens of times, and I always end up feeling like I need three hands. And of course, braids are so the thing these days that I’m all the more envious of those that can turn out those delicate little plaits just across the top of the head, or those gorgeous, messy fishtail looks a’la Blake Lively .
So anyhow, last night I found myself in a, um, creative mood, and I happened to have a friend over at that moment with lots and lots of beautiful red hair. I broke out my curling rod and got to waving her hair into medium-sized ringlets with beachy texture, but apparently I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, because I suddenly found myself grabbing pieces of her hair on both sides of her hair and almost haphazardly weaving them in and out of each other. I know with French braids you’re supposed to grab a new strand to weave into the braid as you continue it, but I honestly had very little grid for what I was doing. There was nearly no method. I kept pulling out and weaving in new pieces, but sometimes I’d use the same strands over again. I’d created two fishtail-like braids on each side of Stephanie’s head, and then I got to work trying to weave together everything into one. The end result was something I never thought I’d be able to do without instruction:
Not terribly shabby, eh?? I love how it seemed to take on a magical Elsa quality with almost no effort! I couldn’t believe it. It actually looked like a braid.
I’ll work on neatening it later, but for now I’d love to keep practicing this on nearly anyone I can get my hands on. I like the messier, more pulled apart look so I’m not too worried about attaining perfection. I used Oribe’s Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray for extra texture, but Stephanie’s hair really didn’t need it that much. I need almost no excuse to use it, though. That stuff is the best, and it smells amazing. I sometimes skip perfume when wearing it.
Finding some ways to mix up my own look lately has been a real necessity for me, because I’ve been dealing with a slight itch to chop it all off after finally growing it out to the length that I’ve wanted for years. If I can start reaping the benefits of long hair with things like fishtail braids, I figure that’ll keep me from making the idiot move of getting rid of all my hard work in one moment of insanity and dissatisfaction. In addition to adding things like braids and long, unkempt ponytails to my repertoire, I’ve been going for all kinds of texture when I wear it down: straight and smooth, round-brushed with volume, or waved and matted.
I’ve made so little use of hairbrushes in the past few years, but the look on the left was a result of using a boar-bristled flat brush to smooth out and lengthen the bottom layers, and a ceramic round brush for volume and bend on the top layers. My own blowout lasted a good four days, and a bit of dry shampoo on the crown added some extra mileage. I covered my hair in Frederic Fekkai’s Coiff Controle Ironless Straightening Balm, and that stuff gives hair such good stretch and elasticity; I’ve long touted it as the best straightening product I’ve ever used.
The look on the right is my most frequent style. I wrap random sections around a one-and-a-quarter inch iron (without using the clamp, ever) and I leave the ends free, sometimes finishing things off by straightening them just a bit. I tend to spray a look like this all over with the Apres Beach, or these days I’ll use Bumble and Bumble’s CitySwept Finish for extra “chunk”, as Kristen Stewart calls it. And of course, mussing it up as much as you can with your own hands before stepping out the door is a must.
Once I manage to get my own hair into some sort of dignified French braid, I’ll have to do a post on it. But for now, a braid on a friend and a really good blowout on myself is about all we can ask for. xo, MR