Struggle to get to grips with plaits? Celebrity hairdresser Ben Cooke guides you through 5 ways to weave your locks…
Our first memory of wearing a braid may be synonymous with playgrounds, summer checked dresses and daisy chains but since then, the schoolgirl-style has evolved from its traditional 3-strand form into a number of chic variations.
Whether you’re after a badass Katniss Everdeen French plait or a feminine milkmaid braid, there’s a shedload of styles to suit every look, making them the ultimate go-to. So much so, Hershesons have even launched their own Braid Bar , featuring a staggering eight looks on the menu, proving plaits are here to stay.
"Braids are a high-impact look that is relatively low-maintenance, so they're perfect for the summer and festivals. They have got a kind of urban Nineties vibe which feels really right at the moment," says Luke Hershesons.
The SS15 shows saw an abundance of lust-worthy plaits gracing the catwalks, so we turned to Ben Cooke, celebrity hairdresser and co-founder of Lockonego salon, to break down how we can achieve the beautiful braids straight off the runway…
Ben says: “Easy to recreate, this up-do is ideal for summer and adds a touch of effortless glamour to your look.”
Tadashi Shoji SS15: Maria C. Valentino
STEP ONE: Pull hair into a low tight pony and braid into a classic plait keeping strands tight to keep its shape.
STEP TWO: Tie with a clear elastic and twist the braid into an oval bun at the nape of the neck.
STEP THREE: Secure with hairpins, making sure that the end strands of the plait are hidden in the bun and tucked underneath. Spritz with hair spray for a long lasting hold.
GTG recommends: Sally Salon Services Fine Waved Pin , £6.99 for a pack of 100
FISH TAIL BRAID
Ben says: “This style is best achieved with wet long – medium length hair to give it a tighter more finished look.”
STEP ONE: Gather your hair into a low ponytail and roughly spilt into two even handfuls. Pull a small strand of the hair from the bottom of one of the handfuls and bring it around to the top of the other.
STEP TWO: Repeat this step using a strand from the other handful of hair, wrapping it around the opposite section.
STEP THREE: Keep repeating this step alternating which hand you pick up the strand from each time, until there’s no hair left in each hand and secure with a hair tie. Spritz with hairspray for a long lasting hold.
GTG recommends: TRESemme Freeze Hold Extra Strong Hold Hairspray , £5.25
Ben says: “These styles have been influenced by a classic French braid and can be recreated in various ways. I love Marissa Webb’s take on the French plait where she has loosened it up to add texture and an effortless finish.”
Marissa Webb SS15
STEP ONE: Grab a section of hair from the crown of your head and separate into three equal strands. Cross the right strand over to the centre, and left strand to the centre again creating a normal classic plait.
STEP TWO: Now start incorporating a little more hair from each side of the head every time you cross over.
STEP THREE: Once you reach the nape of the neck gather the any final strands and finish off with a classic three-strand plait. Secure with a clear elastic and loosen sections of the plait to add subtle texture.
GTG recommends: ghd Tail Comb , £7.50
Giorgio Armani SS15
Ben says: “This style looks intricate and difficult but once you know the secret to it, it’ll be sure to impress. I love the understated elegance to it - a great take on the classic plait.”
Donna Karan SS15
STEP ONE: Starting at the nape of the neck, gather hair into a low pony tail and split into two even sections. Half these two sections again, so that you are left with four equal strands.
STEP TWO: Starting from the right-hand side, number your sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
STEP THREE: Take section 1 over section 2, under section 3 and over section 4: over, under, over.
STEP FOUR: Repeat steps, each time numbering the strand on your right hand side number 1 so that you don’t get confused. (1 Over 2, under 3, over 4)
STEP FIVE: Pull the plait tight to your scalp after each full sequence to create an even, taut braid.
STEP FIVE: Repeat with the entire length of your hair forming a “rope” like braid. Secure with a clear elastic and complete the look by spraying lightly with hairspray to leave you with a chic, polished braid.
GTG recommends: Redken Pure Force 20 , £10.75
Ben says: “This style works best when your hair isn’t freshly washed for added texture and staying power - cute, sexy and effortlessly easy."
Rachel Zoe SS15 - Instagram @lorealprous
STEP ONE: Section a small strand of hair from the side of the temple and tightly plait the hair close to the scalp gradually working the ends into a fishtail, towards the crown of your head. Secure with a hairpin, making sure not to loosen the plait and repeat on the other side.
STEP TWO: Remove the pins from the plaits and braid together into a classic plait with the entire length of your hair. Tie the strands with a clear elastic.
STEP THREE: To finish the look, use a large barrel wand and irregularly tong into big sections, leaving some ends straight.
GTG recommends: Cloud Nine Waving Wand , £83.55
Rachel Zoe SS15
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Lockonego Salon , 394 Kings Road, London, SW10 0LN (tel: 020 7795 1798)