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Braided Hair 101: Hair Plaits

One of the hottest hairstyles right now, braids are elegant, (nearly) effortless and add the right amount edge. Here’s how to braid your hair like a pro—plus the best products to get the look.

Forget about perfect, elaborate plaits. These days, the best braids have a breezy, casual feel that boast a put-together look without seeming like you tried too hard. Obviously one of the best hairstyles for long hair, today’s braided hairstyles bring a textured vibe that can easily be dressed up or down. Even better? These braids require minimal heat, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice the health of your hair or spend too much time prepping your strands before you shift into braiding mode.

Ready to rock the chic style and find out which products you need to keep your plaits in place? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to braid your own hair into a side-swept weave that would look right at home on the runway or in the pages of any glossy magazine.

Hair plait how-to

01 PREP

Step 1: If your hair is wet, start by roughly blow-dry using your fingers or a paddle brush so your hair is dry but not too smooth. Sleek hair will be harder to handle and more easily slip out of your braided updo.

Step 2: From an arm’s length away, spray the ends of your hair with a texturizing product like L’Oréal Paris Stylista #Beachwaves Texturizing Mist. It will give you the grip you need to help your soon-to-be-loosened plait stay in place, and lend a cool texture to this relaxed yet romantic look.

02 BRAID

Step 3: Think braid hairstyles are intimidating? The good news is that three-strand braids are the easiest place to start. First, gather your hair to one side to begin braiding at the nape of your neck. Divide your hair into three separate sections and cross one outer strand over the middle one. Next, cross the other outside strand over the new middle one, and continue alternating from side to side, all the way down. Secure the end of your braid with a small elastic. EXPERT TIP: For a perfectly positioned side plait, take the first piece to braid from the inside (the section closest to your neck).

BONUS TIP: Curious how to do a French braid so you can take your braided updo to the next level? Start your hair braiding a little higher up and add a small section of hair from each side as you weave your way down.

03 FINISH

Step 4: Gently pull your braid apart for a stylishly undone finish. To make extra sure your plait stays put, add a mist of flexible hold hairspray.

While this asymmetrical style is one of the ultimate braids for long hair, you can easily adapt the look, from keeping it short and sweet to adding a slightly more intricate twist. (French braids for the win!) Hair accessories also happen to be all the rage, giving you the chance to jazz things up by adding a scarf or embellished barrette. Whatever your braids style, the key to pulling off this feminine ’do is keeping the finish totally fuss free. So, don’t fret if you’re hair isn’t super-smooth on top or if a few strands come loose. Those personal touches are what this look is all about. For real—your search for a new go-to hairdo is over. When it comes to hair styles that fashionable and fun, this plait does the trick without tying you down. 

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