Whether you’re looking for a way to tame your unruly hair, or to add a touch of elegance to your evening outfit, braids are the perfect solution for both. From an off-duty French braid to red carpet-worthy fishtail, braided hairstyles are very versatile and highly successful in achieving looks of admiration.
You may be thinking, “Yup, I’ve seen models rock sophisticated braids, but they seem way too complicated!”. Trust us, we thought so too, until we realised that achieving a breath-taking braid is a lot simpler than it seems. All you need is a good step-by-step tutorial!
Don’t believe us? We’ll show you. Simply follow our easy video tutorials, and you’ll master these 4 creative braided hairstyles in no time.
#1: Braided Updo with a Side Bun
You’ll have to trust us when we say that, even if this hairstyle looks a little intricate, it’s probably the simplest side braid bun updo you’ll ever encounter. The braid that defines this hairstyle is often called the ‘Dutch’ braid, and the main difference between this and the French braid is the you are braiding under rather than over.
Once you know how it’s done, you’ll be able to achieve the look in just a couple of minutes. Perfect for those mornings when you need to be out the door quickly (without compromising your hairdo)!
Step 1: Start by sectioning your hair into two layers – the bottom and the top half.
Step 2: Divide the top half into three equal strands, slightly towards the right-hand side – and let’s braid, braid, braid! Start by crossing the right strand under the middle one, and then doing the same with the left. Repeat this a few times.
Step 3: Now, let’s start bringing in larger strands of hair from the sides. Take a small outer section of your hair from the right, adding it to the strand which you crossed under the middle part. Repeat this on the left-hand side, keeping the strands roughly the same size on both sides to avoid the braid looking uneven. Continue with the braid, taking larger sections of hair from each side, down to the middle of your neck.
Step 4: To create an illusion of fullness, pull the braid apart slightly, only pulling on the looped sections to avoid it falling apart. This will make your hair look glamorously thick!
Step 5: Continue with the braid until the very end, pulling the braid loose slightly as you go along.
Step 6: Once you’ve finished the braid, twist the ends so that they don’t slip out, and roll it up into a relaxed bun, slightly more towards the left hand-side. Fix it in place with a few hair pins – and, done!
#2: Braided Updo with a Low Bun
This messy, braided updo bun looks incredibly cool and works for any occasion – from a slightly uneventful day at work, to hitting the bar with friends. For this hairstyle, your hair should be parted on the side. We prefer the left side, but feel free to change things up. We’ll use a French fishtail to create the look (don’t panic – we’ll remind you how that’s done!).
Step 1: Start off by taking a small section of hair on the heavy side of the part and dividing it into two sections. Take a small piece from the back section, cross it over the top and add it to the other section. Then, pick up the piece from the front section, cross it over the top and add it to the back section.
Step 2: Now, when you take another section and cross it over, pick up a new section of hair, cross it over the top and incorporate it into the strand. As you braid, tug at the braid to loosen up the structure – the messier, the better! We want a big, loose braid – nothing too tight and neat.
Step 3: Repeat this step with the front section: cross over a small section from the strand, pick up a new section of hair and cross it over as well. Repeat those steps braiding the hair down into a braid until it reaches past your ear. Secure the braid with a small elastic, and tug at the sides a little bit more to create a messier look.
Step 4: The next step is splitting the pony tail into two even sections – and using each section for an individual fishtail braid. Once you’ve finished each fishtail, pull it apart as you did with the main braid, to give it the illusion of fullness. Then secure it with a small elastic.
Step 5: When both fishtails are done, wrap the first fishtail around the elastic you used for the pony tail, creating a bun around the second fishtail. Secure it with a few hair pins.
Step 6: Finally, wrap the second fish tail around the existing bun (not too tightly). Secure it with a few hair pins, and finish off by tugging at the bun slightly to make it look less neat.
#3: Braided Half Updo
If you’re more of a ‘hair down’ kind of girl, you’ll love this easy braided half updo. Perfect for every day, as well as an occasion you may need to slip on a little black dress for, this playful braided half updo is versatile and can be mastered in moments. Let’s begin!
Step 1: Separate the top part of your hair into two sections, with the section on the right slightly wider than the left.
Step 2: Take the right section of your hair, create a center parting and separate it into two sub-sections. Now, grab a small strand of hair from the back of one section and bring it over to the front. Next, take a small strand of your hair from the other section and bring it over the front. Repeat these steps until you have a lovely fishtail braid, then tug at the loops to loosen it a little. Once your braid is nice and loose (but not falling apart!), secure it with a small elastic.
Step 3: And now – let’s work with the hair on the right. The initial steps will be the same as with the fishtail braid: divide the top section of hair into two, take a small strand of hair from the back of one section and bring it over the front. Then, repeat with the second sub-section.
Step 4: Take another small strand of hair from the back of one section, but before bringing it over the front – grab an additional piece from outside of the braid. This piece will need to be combined with the small strand of hair you’ve separated just now, and together they’ll need to be crossed over. Repeat the same steps on the other side.
Step 5: As this is a half updo, you’ll only need to continue with the French braid until you reach the back of your head on the right side and there’s no more un-braided hair left above your ear. Then, simply carry on with it as if it was a fishtail braid, braiding it all the way down. Remember to tug at it as you go along gently, to give it a fuller look.
Step 6: And now – we’ll turn the braids into a lovely half updo! Take the first braid and roll it up, tugging the ends underneath so that they’re not visible. Secure it with a few hair pins so that it doesn’t come loose. Now, repeat that with the second braid, placing it under the first and securing it with a couple of hair pins. And – you’re ready to roll!
#4: Flower Braid Bun
Are you ready to take your braid to the next level? The flower braid bun is more intricate than the rest, but the result is totally worth it. The braid is really elegant – and it’s guaranteed to be a head-turner wherever you go. To help create this particular hairstyle, we’d recommend using a mirror, so you can see your masterpiece as you work on it. That’ll make things easier, especially if you’re a beginner.
Step 1: The flower braid bun is based on the principles of a five strand Dutch braid (yes, five strand braids exist – and they look lush!). Begin by sectioning off a chunk of hair near your crown, with your left-hand fingers in it. You should now have 5 sections of hair to work with.
Step 2: We’ll start ‘weaving’ from the left-hand side. First, grab the strand on the far left with your left hand. Without letting go of this strand, place the ring finger of your left hand under strand 2 and over strand 3. Then, place your middle finger over both strand 2 and strand 3. Now, your middle finger will need to join the ring finger, and you’ll grab those sections in your fist.
Step 3: Place your index finger under strand 4 and over strand 5.
Step 4: And now – let’s bring in more of your beautiful locks! Add in a new hair strand from the right-side to strand 5 (you should be holding it between your index finger and your middle finger). You should also be holding strand 4 between your index finger and your thumb. You can use your free hand to smooth over the strands.
Step 5: Now, take strand 4 with your right hand and repeat steps 2-4 on the right side. Once you’ve reached your neck, gently pull the side loops apart to create a fuller, looser look.
Step 6: Once you’ve run out of hair to add, simply carry on with a Dutch braid – crossing the right hair strand under the middle strand and repeating with the left. As you get closer to the end of the braid, pull the strands apart again slightly, to make them look fuller.
Step 7: Hold on to the end of your braid so that it doesn’t come loose. We don’t normally use an elastic – but you can (if it’s small and nearly invisible). Twist your braid into a loose bun, tugging the ends underneath, and turn it into a beautiful flower. Secure it with 2 hairpins on each side, making sure not to affect the unique, flowery pattern – and wait for the compliments to flood in.
Choose the Right Toolkit
Even though braids are a great way of taming unruly hair, the truth is that, ultimately, working with unruly, frizzy hair is harder. Thankfully, hair geniuses out there have thought of ways to make unruly hair more manageable (as well as lock in your look)!
Check out our 3 favorite products for beautiful, long-lasting braided hairstyles:
- TIGI Bed Head After the Party Smoothing Cream. Just a little drop of this cream can work miracles. Use it on your hair before you blow dry to protect it from heat damage, and smooth out the frizz. Plus, it’s a treat for your senses, not just your hair – it smells fantastic!
- Living Proof’s Prime Style Extender Spray. There’s nothing more annoying than a braid that doesn’t last, but don’t fret – we have a solution. For a shatterproof hairstyle, use a style extender spray. Apply it before you blow dry your hair to create a base for a long-lasting braided hairdo.
- Garnier Fructis Style Sleek and Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray. This hairspray will keep your braids in place, taming frizz and providing anti-humidity protection. It works by wrapping hair strands, to instantly form a shield against frizz.
While previously you may have thought that elegant, braided hairstyles required exceptional skill, now you know that really, it is down to a bit of practice. The secret to achieving a creative and unique braided hairstyle is having an easy video tutorial to take you through the steps (and show you that it isn’t rocket science).
We hope that you’ve enjoyed these tutorials, and don’t ever worry about running out of hairstyle ideas – we have plenty more planned for you. Watch this space!