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Monday, June 24th 2013

Shopbop Beauty: Beachy Braids

Whether you have long hair or short, hot summer weather brings forth a constant battle to keep cool, maintain frizz, and still look cute. Enter the braid. For short hair, a small french braid keeps bangs back or the hair off your neck. For longer hair, we recommend you try Elise’s double braid updo. Check out her step-by-step guide below, and don’t let the technique scare you: a messy look is ideal for this casual, beachy style.

Braids work best on second-day hair—a little grit and texture helps keep the strands together. You can also let your hair air dry after washing and add a volumizing product. Finger-comb your hair to get out all the knots.

Separate your hair into two sections. I like making an uneven side part to create one big braid and one little braid. But, don’t worry about being too precise—just grab and go! Use a hair tie to wrangle the smaller section while you work on the other side.

Turn your head upside down and grab a small section of hair at the nape of your neck—it helps to be sitting down for this—and start french braiding your hair, adding a new section to each side of the braid as you move toward your face. Braid up over the side of your head, aiming to end the braid in line with the outer edge of your eyebrow. Then, transition to a regular braid as you move towards the ends. Secure with a hair tie and repeat on the other side.

Once you’ve finished both braids, bring the end of the first braid up and over your head, remove the hair tie, and secure with pins. You’ll want to let the shape of the braid guide your placement—just lay it down on your head wherever it feels most natural. Secure the end of the braid first, using two bobby pins crossed in an X shape to make sure it stays in place.

Repeat with the second braid, either laying it next to the first braid across your head, or crossing the two braids at the crown. You have a lot of options—just do whatever feels and looks right to you. For my style, I ran the second braid right along my hairline like a crown, and tucked the end under the first braid in the back. Once you have your placement set, secure with pins.

Use your hands and fingers to rough up the braids and create a little more texture. Pin down any bumpy sections with the remaining pins. And remember, imperfections just add to the charm!

Check out more hair and beauty tips.

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