Braids have been huge fashion news this year, accentuating the boho trends on runways around the world. We love the romance they add and the styling possibilities are limitless. A classic three-strand braid takes under 5 minutes, while a fishtail technique is more intricate, but in party – ahem, holiday season, we like to invest a little more time with the mirror. Gorgeous results are worth it!
Here are five of our favorite braided party styles. They work best on shoulder-length hair to long hair, the thicker the better, but you can always add clip-in hairpieces color-matched to your own tresses. Braided updos hold best on hair washed earlier or even the day before, good news if you're short on time – you'll still wow the party!
1/ Braided Bun
This beautiful, casually elegant bun sits mid height to showcase your neck. Braided elements soften a classic updo that can be a little severe on its own. Achievable in minutes and, whether it's for work, a relaxed family gathering, or a formal black-tie event, this look will strike the right note.
Brush your locks gently then work in high-shine styling gel for a neat finish, or styling wax for an edgier version. Pull into a ponytail and secure with a band. Divide your tail into 3 sections and braid each one, popping a small band around the end. Tease down some tendrils then coil your braids into a bun.
Fix discreetly with bobby pins, tucking in the braid ends. A sparkly or floral hair accessory adds party glamor. A spritz of hairspray and you're fabulous!
2/ Braided chignon
A luscious braided updo that's easy to create and only takes 10 minutes! Thick braids frame the face and the chignon lends a touch of Grecian elegance. Braids mixed with straight or wavy hair suit a long or oval face beautifully.
Work a little styling product through the length of your brushed hair. We like mousse for volume, with light back-combing at the roots. For the braided headband, do a middle-part and braid a rope of your hair on each side, working in more strands as you go down. Pull these braids back and merge with the rest of your hair, tying into a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Twist into a low bun, secure with bobby pins and fine-hold hairspray. Now rock the party!
3/ Double Rope Twist
This comfortable, mussed-up romantic look works best on longer hair and suits round or heart-shaped faces. So easy to create, perfect when you'd rather be partying than lingering before the mirror.
Textured and sexy, it's a lived-in braided hairstyle that demands volume, so start by scrunching through some mousse and rough blow-dry on medium heat. Give the ends a little serum so they're nice and glossy. Form a middle-part, clip in 2 hairpieces subtly at the base if you like, and loosely braid each side. Spritz with hairspray then twist each braid a couple times before securing them together at the back, leaving a few inches of free ends. Almost effortless glamour.
4/ French braided updo
Ultra-chic and feminine, you can dress this sophisticated updo up or down for any party. French braids might appear tricky, but they're very simple to achieve when you know how. This updo works with all hair types.
Work some mousse into tangle-free, dry hair, and divide into three vertical sections using a tail comb. Clip unbraided hair aside while you loosely French-braid each third, starting near the hairline and pulling in more strands as you braid towards the back of your head.
Once all the hair is gathered, make a classic three-strand braid down to the ends. Secure each with a small band, weave them in a bun and fix with bobby pins. Tease out a few tendrils to soften the look. A mist of firm-hold hairspray will keep your updo gorgeous all night.
5/ Relaxed braid
A sleek style for longer hair: classic but fresh, with a fishtail technique to vary the texture. It works well with bangs and is totally on trend.
Part your straight, wavy or crimped hair in the center, hold with an Alice band, and sweep the hair over one shoulder. Clip in a hairpiece if you like, then pull three sections and braid as normal, but from each section you place in the center, take out a few strands and merge them with the section now on that side. Repeat going down then secure with a hair tie. Tease the braid so it appears thicker, spritz with hairspray and you're good to party. Enjoy.