Accent your Topknot with a Braid

Fresh, fun and practical are the three adjectives that have me sold when it comes to hairstyles. Here’s a twist to make your buns stand out!

The easiest way to get a bun is to use the tips form my latest blog post and then neatly twist the ponytail into a bun the way you would throw in a messy bun on a lazy day.

For the glam version, I would recommend a different approach. Aim for a topknot and add a French braid from the nape of you neck until the bun to give the look a surprising twist.

For this to look its best you need to put your head upside down so that your hair falls away from the nape of your neck. However, it is quite difficult to maintain that position for the entire braiding process so what you can do to relieve that pressure is to use a chair with a back rest. Sit on the chair facing the backrest so that you can put your forehead on it. This will make it more comfortable and will reduce the chance of accidents happening due to dizziness. Brush all your hair towards the crown of your head and all is as good as putting your head upside down.

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You can now choose which braid you prefer and go with it, you do you! I am partial to the Dutch braid because I feel it stands out more without adding difficulty. Once you reach the desired height of the bun add one or two extra stitches without adding hair. These will give the bun a stronger root. Two options now: you can start twirling the bun in place (picture a cinnamon roll) or you can simply braid until the end and then roll the bun into place. The second option might require extra bobby pins to keep in place but will look more intricate.

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Ways to Oomph your Ponytail

As practical as ponytails are in everyday life, you can end up bored with them at some point. Here are 3 ideas of how you can spice up your go-to hairstyle.

 

  1. Add a Dutch braid or more!

Here you have a lot of options depending on your time and personal preference. Adela, my delightful model for this look, wanted a fiercer look and she went for two tight Dutch braids on the top of her head. You can position them all over your head and if you feel particularly braid-y that day, you can have all your hair into braids which end all in a ponytail.

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Tips:

  • For maximum detail, tug the strands as you braid them towards the beginning of your braid and in this way you will be able to see each stand’s parting. Braiding loosely will cover these.

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  1. Braid an accent strand

A wilder possibility is to add braids after your ponytail is already up. Depending on the number you add and the thickness of your hair it can either be just an accent or an interesting detailing. Personally, I went for a subtle accent braid.

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Tips:

  • Add different types of braids and with different textures and you have a party without your hair getting in the way.
  • To better integrate the braids into your own hair movement twirl them around your finger after you tie them. This way they will be less stiff.

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  1. Wrap a braid around the base of your ponytail

The classic version of this look is very sleek looking but you can add some spice by braiding the strand before wrapping it around the base of your ponytail.

Tips:

  • Don’t overlap the braid around the base to avoid it being bulkier than the actual ponytail. Not overlapping additionally makes for a more interesting base.

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French Braid Bun – Collaboration with Wondervibes

The French braid bun is the easiest twist you can add to a French braid to turn the elegant classic into a beautiful updo. I have recreated this look on Raluca.

3 tips for this look:

  1. Begin from the crown of your head rather than from your forehead.

While starting from your hairline would look very interesting, if you are looking for an elegant formal I would recommend you start at the back from the crown of your head. Firstly, it is easier to start there as you have a thicker base for your braid if you have layers. Secondly, the look is faster to create in this way.

  1. Flatten and pull back strongly your hair for a sleek finish.

When creating a boho braid you tend to be a bit more careless in order to create dimension and texture. However, when we aim for a classic sleek look, we must ensure that we keep hairs under control and we must align the direction of the hairs we pull in the braid. You can use a comb or a toothbrush to brush though each strand of hair.

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  1. Plump it up or keep it small.

Depending on the length of your hair you can have a small and highly intricate looking bun or a large and fluffy bun. If you chose a small bun you just need to wrap the braid very tightly around one finger. Have the broader side of the braid facing the finger and as you wrap slowly remove your finger and press the bun to the nape of your neck in order to tighten it. Tuck in the end of your braid under the bun and secure it with as many bobby pins as you prefer. If you go for puff, put the broader side of the braid against the head and pin as you go to keep the whole bun in place as it is larger. You can fluff the edges of the braid to make it even bigger or go for a slicker look.

Raluca went for full sleek look and an intricate small bun to complement her elegant shirt for the day.

Tips For French And Dutch Braids

The primary upgrade from the classic 3 strand braid is the French braid. I have also included the Dutch braid in this post because the structure of the two braids is quite similar and I particularly love it.

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Chill Dutch Braid
  1. Detangle your hair in advance

Both types of braiding require a lot of sections to be separated and there is nothing worse than getting your fingers stuck in a knot when you try to braid at the back of your head. (From experience, it’s painful!) Make sure to either thoroughly brush the hair in advance or separate it in sections. I would recommend the brushing because it takes less planning however this does not work on all hair types such as very curly hair.

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  1. Spritz some water on it

When the hair is slightly damp it grips better and you get less flyaways. The trick here is to only use very little water. If you already have a spray bottle that will work nicely because it will disperse the water finely. If not, you can put one hand under running water and then shake the excess water off and run your hand through the hair you are about to braid. You don’t want to go out with wet hair but if it’s damp it will quickly dry into the shape you made.

  1. Pull a bit harder on the sections

The thing about braids is that if they are tight they can be loosened, but the reverse is not possible without reconstructing it. It is always preferable to pull a bit harder on your strands when you create your stitches because you can always go back in to pull the edges of your braid to loosen it up or make it more voluminous. Keep in mind that during the day braids do loosen up!

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Master tip:  Practice, practice, practice

Ultimately, muscle memory is what gives the edge to all those people you watch and envy when they easily twist their hair into whatever they want on a whim. When you decide to learn how to braid, especially more complicated styles, what is best is to try it out a few times. Don’t jump into doing the braid at the back of your head either, do it on the side of your head where you can see it in the mirror more easily so you can spot the mistakes. Play around with your hair and find out what works for you!

What to do with a classic braid?

Milkmaid Braids

Now the name may sound unappealing to some but that’s no reason why not to milk the classic braid of its worth and come off super cute and dreamy at the end. You can split your mane wither with a straight comb or sometimes just your pinky. As hair does not grow in a grid sometimes it’s quite hard to obtain a straight line so make sure to check the mirror often if that’s what you are going for. You can also try to put your forehead down and start parting from the back of your head to the forehead. This should help as the hair on the top of your head generally has already some patterns of parting which are harder to follow down the back where you can’t see anymore. Now take the tips from the classic braid from my previous posts and split them in two. I would recommend to gather all the hair on one side behind the ear before you start braiding away from your head, that will make the braid more flexible to pull over the crown of your head and the root of the braid being right behind your ear gives it more often than not the length to reach the other side of your head as well as to not look awkward.

Your best friends now are bobby pins. With both braids done you can start putting them up one by one. Use the mirror to find the best place for you to pin it, some people prefer it really high up while others stay close to the forehead. Once you found the perfect place, pin the hair in place. To avoid showing bobby pins everywhere, aim to pin in the lower layers of hair in order to have the top strands cover the metal. Use as many pins as you feel necessary and cross them over one another in order to prevent them from slipping away. When you get to the second braid, position it over the ends of the first braid crossed over and then look to pin the other edge under the initial braid. Two awesome things come from this. Firstly, your ends are hidden. Secondly the two braids look more interwoven and dimensional, like a real crown.

Tips for your basic braid

An essential of all long haired individuals is a basic functional braid. Once you have that down you can do anything anytime with your hair. The tricky part is adapting it to your hair type as well as haircut.

  1. Thick hair.

You are lucky! Your braid will be textured and long. A braid in such a hair type will easily become a statement. To make it more 3D the tip is to twirl the strands on your finger as you braid as this gives dimension to the individual stitch of the braid.

  1. Thin hair.

Thin hair can be versatile but might need some product in it as well. If you want a low key out of the way braid you can just throw in a normal braid and forget all about it as you go about your day. Beyond practicality, if you prefer to have thicker braids you can do two things which work separately but also together. You can give dimension to your braid by twirling the individual strand in every stich you make. This makes your strand look like a tube rather than like a ribbon. This makes the braid thicker by default. Another thing you can do is to gently pull the edges of the braids. You must be careful to not undo your braid so only tug on the very edge of the strands as they are interwoven.

  1. Shorter or layered hair.

The biggest issue to look out for is edges poking out of the braids. Usually people attack them with bobby pins and hairspray but it doesn’t always work and it can be quite annoying as you might have to redo your braid through-out the day. One trick is to put some hair oil on your hands while you braid as it makes for a smoother outside of the strand and makes the hairs stick together some more while also protecting your hair. If your layers are towards the base of your braid, consider not adding them. Leaving them out of your braid cuts some of your problems as well as opens up for opportunities such as having strands frame your face or twisting them away from the face and pinning them back in a semi-fringe or just as an interesting detail in your hair. Ultimately choppy and messy braids with some colourful accessories can easily become the boho hairstyle of your dreams so embrace them.

Let me know if you enjoyed these tips and tricks and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want me to discuss anything in particular!