Convey your mood with your braid: Edgy vs Soft

7U6A1647Hey babes. It dawned on me a while back that besides all the different types of braids that exist, there are many ways to style a singular braid. What I mean is this. Take your average dutch braid. It can be soft and pretty and romantic, and it can also be very edgy and tribal and sharp. It can be innocent. It can be rough. It can make your head look tiny, or big. It can look very intricate or super simple. It can make you feel like a 6 year old. Or an old lady. Or a fashionista. Or a dutch-milkmaid. Or a hand-maiden. Or a viking. Or a hippie. Or a rattlesnake hunter. Or a bride when you are not really a bride. Or a human being when you are an exhausted new mom.

I began to break down in my head what it is that distinguishes these different braid-feels. Obvies, there is the deconstructing trick to soften a braid and give it that lived-in look. But beyond that, how can we use our braids to tell our story about how we feel in the moment?

I decided to put a post together about soft braids vs edgy braids, just to get you started in thinking about manipulating your braids to fit your mood. Nikki graciously volunteered to let me style and photograph her in one of her lovely kimonos and a pair of her best-selling earrings.

Soft braids.

Think romantic, bohemian, pretty, loose, natural.softbraids

Soft braids work on all hair types. I think they look best on wavy, curly, thick hair. If you do not have these things, Master-Braider is your braid boosting bff.

Soft braids are obviously done with a loose grip and no tension. Larger sections of hair are added in from each side. They are pulled apart and deconstructed using this trick.

They always have small bits falling around the face, which can be pulled down after the braid is secured. (See Ladyparts!)

Edgy braids. edgy braids

Think tight. Geometric. Intricate. Precise.

These braids can totally work on all types, but it is easiest to achieve the edgy feel in straighter hair. If your hair is wavy or curly and you want to rock an edgy braid, start with a head-wrap to straighten things out. If you are into heat styling, apply some Shiny-Dancer to your ends and flat-iron your hair to prep it.

Edgy braids are tightly wound, with tension and precision. Small partings with tiny sections added in from each side give them their textured complexity. Generally, you don’t want little hairs falling around the face to soften the look. High, tight, and precise!

As you can see in the upper right hand edgy braid style, a soft bun paired with an edgy accent braid makes a beautiful contrast! So you can bend all these rules to combine elements and create very cool hairstyles. But I want you to understand the how’s and why’s.

Here is an example of how using different sized partings and sections in your braids can change the feel of it. The top row is a standard dutch braid with very small sections added into each side as I braided. My section partings were quite precise ( As precise as a pinkie can get!)

The bottom row is also a dutch braid but with larger sections added in, and my partings weren’t as precise. See the diffy?

The photo below is the side view of the top row edgy braid.

braid science 37U6A1475These next braids are just regular french braids. The top row braid is done with very small sections, again. Edgier, right?

In the same photo, the bottom row braid has larger sections added in. It is softer and more flowing.

braid sciencePicMonkey CollageThis last photo illustrates how to make that softer french braid even more soft and pretty by pulling the edges of the braid out, loosening small sections, and pulling down pieces of hair around the face to frame it. Free your lady parts!

Food for hair-thought. I want you all to be inspired and informed master-braiders!

xo, HTHG

The key to the perfect braid. Deconstruction and the Art of effing things up.

decYou will have to excuse me for not putting this post together ages ago, before I embarked on my braided hairstyle adventures at HTHG. What I am going to show you today is literally the key to a good braid.

This trick is for all of you who surf Pinterest and get braid envy when you see those thick, fat, gorgeous braids, those perfectly messy textured braids, and those braids that somehow look like flowers.

Lets talk about deconstruction. Deconstruction is the art of making something nicely and purposefully effing it all up to achieve a desired effect. To me, the key to good hair is one part fashion, one part function, one part custom, and one part deconstruction.

The key to deconstructing a braid is to start with a nice, neat, not to tight but just tight enough braid. Start with 3 pieces of hair that are equal sizes. IF you are french braiding, make sure your added sections are consistently the same size. Secure your braids well. Now comes the fun part.

Deconstructing a Braid

deconstructing a braid

Once you have completed your nice and neat braid and secured the ends, Take a firm hold of the outside edges of the bottom of the braid, and pull apart. Pull as hard as you can without making the elastic pop off the end. Pretty hard. Now work your way up that braid pulling the edges apart. If you are deconstructing a french braid, do these steps once with the tail of the braid. If you are deconstructing a regular braid, go from the ends to the base of the braid.

Now, start back at the end of the braid again. Pull apart again, but this time, try and grab 2 edge segments of the braid at a time instead of one (wider pulling section).7U6A5126

Work your way up the braid again, pulling wider sections of your braid out.

Now, if you are deconstructing a frenchie, start pulling apart the attached part of the braid. Repeat twice, using wider pulling sections the second time.

To finish off the deconstruction, start at the end of the braid and pull small bits of hair along the very edge of the braid out a bit. Do this to random pieces all the way up the braid. This gives the perfect messy rough edge.

Use this million dollar trick on all your braids from now on and see how much more fun it is. That’s some next level shit!

XOXO HTHG

 

Braid trick for small heads!

small head braid!I don’t know about you but I have a smallish head. Sadly, it is something that I have been self conscious about my whole life. It has kept me from wearing my hair in tight hairstyles, and it has kept me from ever wearing high heels because I feel like a pinhead on a tree stump walking on stilts.

(FYI this photo shows more face than I have ever shared with the world. There I am. Little head, large forehead, big chin, tiny ears and all)

I imagine the snickers and the jeers of people passing me in the street, pointing and saying “Look at that big tall lady with a tiny head!!” This is my own stupid hang-up about my body, and I own it and try and not to give it too much power. When I was 21, I shaved my head. Then, I got pregnant with my first daughter the next week. The timing was less than perfect, because I blew up like a balloon with my tiny bald head. Yikers.

So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this great braiding trick that creates braids that don’t hug your head too tight. It is a technique that you can use with any sort of french braid. It works with french dutch braids, fishtails, and twists. Instead of adding hair from either side as you braid, only add hair to one side. The other side will just always overlap without adding any new hair.

For these braids, I added hair only from under the braid. It made the braids stick out a bit from my head which satiated my braid craving without making me feel too tiny-headed. Also, pulling the braids apart a bit to loosen them once the end is secured helps to bulk them up and give them more volume.

*Here is a tip-Start pulling apart from the end of the braids and work your way up;)

This hairstyle is easily made into this- Just by tucking and pinning the ends on either side.

PicMonkey Collage

Back combing lesson.

DSC00111The great hair blogger Reagan from www.hdofblog.com once said “Back combing is practically the high-heels of hair” and I have to whole heartedly agree. When styling your own or someone else’s hair, back combing will be what adds the height to the style. And if back-combing is the high-heels, then sectioning is the orthotic inserts. And personally, I walk a lot better in high-heels when I have my inserts in.

With that said, here is a video that will help you understand how to back-comb your hair and why it is important. It think that this should be pretty easy to follow. Have a go!

XO!

Help keep those bobby pins in place.

This is a good little trick to remember when pinning hair into an up do, especially when the hair is very thick or curly.

“The styling trick to keeping your bobby pins in place is not to overload the pins with hair. If you open the pin and take in too much hair, you’ll find the pins seem to reverse out of your hair and fall out. Instead, lightly weave the pin through your hair. This technique only catches only a small amount of hair but connects the twists to the rest of your hair.”

This quote is from Christina at www.hairromance.com

Next Page »