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Fad Hag: Beach plaits tested

June 20th 2012 / Susannah Taylor

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GTG’s Editor can’t resist a beauty trend. This week: inspired by hair looks on the Valentino catwalk, Sus takes beach plaits for a spin on her holiday

I’m really quite boring with my hair. Normally it’s either a high ponytail or, if I’m feeling a bit more serious and want something preppy, a low one. Either that or an artful tousle. Occasionally for a party I’ll try a DIY chignon with a bit of texture and perhaps a bit of height on the crown, Sixties-style, but that’s about it. Crazy for a beauty editor, I know.

However, I’ve had serious hair envy ever since I spotted the beautiful, thick, face-framing plaits at the Valentino catwalk show earlier this year. Slightly Princess Leia, but beautifully elegant and pretty, I’ve been wondering if this is a look that I could pull off without looking like I need a pink tutu and a ballet cardigan to match.
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So, two weeks ago while on holiday in Cyprus I spontaneously decided to road-test the look.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy – especially since the only kit I had with me were two Kirby grips found in the bottom of my wash bag and some of my daughter’s hair elastics (my ponytail elastics are too chunky). The Valentino plait is a French plait, which anyone who’s ever styled their daughter’s hair will know isn’t an easy look to accomplish at the best of times, let alone standing in front of a mirror in a swelteringly hot bathroom.

After a few goes (half an hour of swearing) I realised that the look works best when started
from a low side-parting. The knack is to pull in hair every time you cross a bit of hair over, and it’s essential to keep the plait as tight as possible. “Surely I don’t have enough fingers for this?” I asked myself. Obviously I couldn’t do the back of my head (and nor was I going to ask my husband or my three-year-old), so I plaited to my ears only and created two big Dorothy-style plaits before pinning them up.

“Ta da!” I said as I emerged from the bathroom, “What do you think?”

“It’s….nice,” my husband said in that way that really means “I don’t like it, please don’t wear it to dinner.”
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“Mummy you look beautiful” said my five-year-old daughter, “can I have my hair the same?”

And so I decided to compromise with a half plait /half hair down look, as seen here. That way my kids were happy, my husband was happy... and I felt like me...

Photographs by Matt Lever

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