The top 7 braids for fall
A CLASSIC BRAID...WITH A TWIST
Let's start with something easy. OK, kind of easy. Blow hair dry with a volumizer like Blow Pro Body By Blow No Crunch Body Builder and a few drops of hair oil (we're fans of L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil)—you'll need both lift at the roots and shine to pull this one off. Once hair is dry, tease the crown, smooth over it with a comb, and gather the top section into a half-up ponytail. Twist the ponytail into a loose knot and let the tail hang. Starting at the nape, weave the bottom section of hair into a classic braid and secure it with a clear elastic. Pin the tail of the chignon into the braid with a bobby pin. Piece of cake, right?
A skinny fishtail adds a cool texture to Taylor Swift's rough ponytail, and you don't need a ton of length to pull it off. On day-old hair, take a one-inch section and start fishtailing. Slide a pin through the end to keep it in place. Then, rake the rest of your hair into a ponytail with your fingers and secure it with an elastic, Urban says. Wrap the braid around the base of the ponytail, and secure with a pin. Top it off with an all-over spritz of light-hold hair spray such as Dove Style+Care Strength & Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray.
"It's edgy like an undercut, only it's temporary," Urban says. "There's no shaving necessary." Start with a smooth blowout and part hair on the side. On the side where the part is, make an upside-down French braid, which means that instead of wrapping pieces over each other, you'll cross them under. Wrap the braid across the back of the head and tuck it under a panel of hair with bobby pins. "You want it to look seamless, to disappear into the back of the head," Urban says.
You'll definitely need some length to pull this one off, Urban says. And we know, we know, a braid of this size can seem a little intimidating, but it's not impossible: It just may take a little practice. Blow-hair dry with volumizing mousse (we like Fekkai Full Volume Mousse), and if your hair is fine, mist a dry shampoo such as Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo all over. Part hair on the side, and on the side with more hair, take a one-inch section (if you have thick hair, make it two inches) and start weaving an upside-down French braid. "It raises the braid up, instead of making it lay flat," Urban says. Repeat on the opposite side, and when each braid reaches the side the head, near the nape, begin fishtail braiding the two sections together. Secure the end with an elastic, and you're all set.
LOOSE AND LOW
"This braid looks like it's falling apart," Urban says. "But there is actually a structure to it." Start with a smooth blowout, parting hair on the side. Sweep hair over one shoulder—it depends where you like your part, but pull it toward the side with more hair—and back-comb the crown. Then, by your ear, loosely begin weaving a three-section braid, though this one's far from traditional: Pull in sections haphazardly and switch up the size of each piece (make some thick, some thicker, and so on). When you reach the end, stick a bobby pin vertically into the last of the braid's crisscrosses. Add in a few more throughout the rest of the braid. "This gives it a spine," Urban says, "so when you tug on the sides to loosen it up, you won't lose the shape." Tease the ends and finish with an all-over spritz of strong-hold hair spray, such as L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray.
A bunch of thin, smooth braids turn a classic French twist into something much softer. Blow hair dry roughly using your fingers, and if your hair is fine, mist in a salt spray for texture: "It needs a little fuzziness," Urban says. "That's what makes it look ethereal." Then, braid random, skinny sections throughout the head: one at the nape, a few by each ear, one at the crown—add as many as you'd like. Don't secure each braid with an elastic, though, since that will add bulk to the style. Instead, slide a pin into each braid so it keeps its shape as you roll the rest of the hair into a rough French twist. Once that's secured with pins, drape the braids across the head—the ones by the ear can go over the top, like a headband. Secure each one using the same placeholder pin and muss up the nonbraided sections with your fingers.
FOR SHORT HAIR
There's no need to pass on braided looks if your hair is above your shoulders—Jones's chin-length bob works just as well. Blow hair dry first with volumizing spray and part it in the middle. Take a one-inch section on one side of the part and, grabbing thick pieces as you go, weave an upside-down French braid (you know, the one where you cross sections under instead of over). Braid as far as you can around the back of the head and pin down the ends. Repeat on the opposite side. Pin up any hair that's left hanging and finish with an all-over blast of hair spray.