Hello, summer! Break out the sunblock and the bikinis, say goodbye to the office, and strap on those sandals. As the days get hotter, so do we – but not in a good way. The days may be gorgeously warm and sunny, but our hair just sticks to our skin, making us sweaty and unkempt. Hot tools, like our blow dryer and flat iron, just make things worse.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix: braid it up! Getting your hair off your neck is easy with both simple and intricate braids that go with any outfit and occasion. You can execute these styles with any texture hair, straight, wavy, or curly, and they don’t require hot tools. Put a straw fedora on, or wrap a scarf around your head, or stick a flower behind your ear; your hair will look beautiful, and so will you. Without further ado, the five braids, from easiest to most difficult:
French Braided Sections
Some days, your bangs just won’t cooperate. Instead of continuously battling with them, get them off your face with a small French braid!
Part your hair however you want to, in the middle, on one side, a very deep side part, it doesn’t matter. Then, starting at the part, take three tiny pieces of hair, and begin to French braid, adding more hair as you go. You can stop braiding any time. A small braid keep your bangs up, a braid that circles to the back of your head can hold your hair half up; again, it doesn’t matter. You’re done!
You can let your hair cascade out with a braid just at your temple, or you can pull the rest of your hair up, letting the braid add some visual interest to an updo. This braid is great for the office or the gym.
This braid is extremely easy: separate your hair into two equal sections. You can do this on either side of you head, or at the back. Keeping the right section in your right hand, pick up a half-inch portion from the back of the left section. Cross it over the right section of hair and combine. Repeat using the other section of hair. Pick up a half-inch portion from the back of the right section, cross it over the left, combine. The smaller the sections, the more interesting the braid.
This style is great for the beach, and leaves your hair in great waves when you take it out at night! A fedora fits right overtop and looks effortless.
This braid looks much more complicated than it is. There are two ways to accomplish this style.
The first is to separate your hair into two equal sections, and braid each in the classic three-strand braid. You should have two braids of the same size when you are finished. Next, take one braid, loop it over the top of your head, and pin it securely. Then, take the remaining braid, loop it over the other side of your head, and pin it behind the first braid.
The second method is more difficult, but has a slightly different look. With practice, you can achieve this braid. Again, split your hair into two sections. Make sure to tie one up so it doesn’t get in the way! Starting with the loose section, begin to French braid it, making sure to being the braid over the top of your head. When you reach the center of your forehead, take out the other section and begin to add it to the French braid. Continue braiding around your head until there is no hair left. Pin the end of the braid under the actual braid. Viola!
This sensual hairstyle looks beautiful and modern with a flower tucked into it, and is wonderful for a wedding. Everyone will ask how you did it!
The Katniss Braid
Though she didn’t invent the braid, Suzanne Collins’ character Katniss Everdeen from her series The Hunger Games certainly popularized this twist on a classic French braid. It requires some skill and flexibility, but is worth the practice.
Start over one ear, at your temple, and begin to French braid. You will have to work behind your head to loop it to the other side. Keep adding hair until the braid reaches below your other ear. Braid normally from there.
This style doesn’t need much embellishment, since it says so much on its own, but you can add a sparkly doodad to jazz it up if you’re going out to dinner or on a date.
Five Strand Braid
This braid is, arguably, the most complicated on the list, as it is more of a weave than a braid. But visually, it is one of the most beautiful and interesting braids out there.
Pull all your hair either behind your head (much more difficult, since you can’t see!) or to one side. Separate your hair into five equal sections. Keeping them straight will be hard at first, but practice makes perfect! Start on the right side: Cross the outermost strand over the second strand and under the middle strand. That outermost strand should now be the middle. Take the outermost strand on the left side, over the second, under the middle. That strand will now be the middle.
Keep going over then under on the right side, then over and under on the left. It helps to say “over” and “under” out loud, to keep track of where you are. When you’re done, people will marvel over the intricacy that is your five-strand braid. Add some pretty earrings and you’re good to go anywhere!
Make sure to keep your hair healthy and clean, and avoid hot tools as much as you can in the summer. The sun damages your hair enough. These five braids may keep you cool this season, but it may raise someone else’s temperature!
Sara Stricker has written dozens of articles, and bounces from topic to topic as the day goes by.