10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Braids

Rachel Adler
Tory Burch braids

Image via Imaxtree

Braids are nothing new in terms of hairstyles, but that certainly hasn’t stopped countless celebrities from wearing them on the red carpet as of late, and even more designers from having their models rock them in recent runway shows. This of course has inspired even more of us to wear them on a daily basis, but if you’re like most of us, we tend to keep it simple when braiding. If you’re looking to step it up a notch and explore the milkmaid, double dutch and waterfall categories (you already have fishtail braids down because, well, you’re that good) there are certainly more tips and tricks that can help you along the way.

Here are the lesser known tidbits about braiding that once mastered, will have you looking like your very own braid bar stylist in no time at all.

1. They’re better on dirty hair: When you’re braiding your hair, you need your strands to have a bit of “grip” to them, so dirty hair actually works better than clean, soft hair. We’re not talking greasy dirty, but when you’re on your last day of your blowout, go for a braid.

2. Use a pomade to get them just right: If you’re battling flyaways and frizz that you just don’t want there, rub a bit of pomade on the tips of your fingers to finish off your braid (or use it as you’re getting to the end where many times those little frizzes pop up). Plus, you can always use the leftover to smooth any baby hairs around your hair line.

3. Most of the time, celebrities have extensions in their braids: Keep in mind that many of the celebrities that you see on the red carpet often have “fake” hair added in, i.e. extensions. If your braid looks a little bit limp compared to theirs, and you want to beef it up, add in a few extensions.

4. If you want a “messy” braid, wait until the end to mess it back up: If you’re going for the disheveled braid look, don’t start out by messing it up as you braid. Always keep your braid pretty tight as you’re braiding, and then wait until you’ve finished and secured the braid to go back in and rough it up a bit.

MORE: Graduation Hairstyles: How to Style Your Hair Under a Cap

5. If you have layered hair, spray it with a light hairspray before braiding: If you’re dealing with multiple layers, spray your hair all over with a light hold hairspray before starting your braid. This will help the layers stay put as you braid, so you won’t have strands falling out.

6. If you want your braid to last longer, create a tighter braid like a fishtail braid: Looking for a long-lasting braid? Go with a tighter braid like a fishtail or a milkmaid braid that you can wear tight on the first day, and then sleep in it (which will dishevel it just a bit) for day two, three, and so on. Bonus tip: Try sleeping on a silk pillowcase or wrapping your braid in a silk scarf for less frizz.

7. If you want your braid to look more full and textured, you often have to give it a bit of texture and curl first with some prep work: Sometimes, these braids take a bit of work before you actually start braiding. Like we said earlier, many times celebrities actually have extensions in their hair before they braid – but almost all the time, their hair is curled and texture products are added. Stick-straight hair often doesn’t “fill” a braid as well, so consider adding some quick curls to rough up your style, then braid.

MORE: Learn How to Get a Milkmaid Braid

8. If you have short hair, you can still have short braids: Don’t be discouraged if you recently got a short haircut. Braids still work! Just start at the top of your hair line and pull your braid back along your head (or really, wherever you want it to go). The key here is using your part and hair line as a guide instead of focusing the braid on the bottom of your hair.

9. Fully separate your hair strands as you braid – your hair tends to braid itself at the bottom, so you’ll simple have to untangle anyway: If you’ve ever done a braid, you know that as you braid the top, your hair naturally tends to braid the bottom as well. Keep in mind to try to separate your strands so you don’t end up with a tangled mess!

10. There is a product for every type of braid you’re trying to achieve, promise: And of course, as most of you know, there is always a product for any of your hair woes. If you hate the frizz that happens when you braid, we recommend pomades. If you just want more texture, add a texturizing spray before you start. Just get creative with it and try a few things out, and then braid away!