This Tip Will Take Your Braid From Basic to Badass

Faith Xue

Everyone has an everyday superpower. You know, like reciting the alphabet backward or making perfect eggs over easy every time (please come into my life if you exist). My everyday superpower is braiding (and talking in a somewhat believable British accent, but that’s usually dependent on how many drinks I’ve had and if I’m wearing my faux-fur coat). I remember the first time I ever learned how to braid—or rather, the many times my patient mother attempted to teach me how to braid on three pieces of yarn, taped to a table, before I finally, finally mastered it. From then, it was braiding my fellow children’s choir members’ strands on the tour bus, then braiding my best friends’ hair into intricate and heavily hair-sprayed styles for prom. I never practiced, yet each time I attempted one, it turned out quite good (#humblebrag). I had a gift—or so I thought.

These days, I’ve foregone the tight French braids of my choir days in favor of a much more laid-back—okay, lazy—option: a loose side braid, preferably tousled and done on second-day hair. This is my go-to hairstyle for two reasons: It takes all of five seconds, but it doesn’t look like it took five seconds. (I like to imagine it gives me an effortless model-off-duty vibe, but mainly just hope that it doesn’t expose the fact I haven't shampooed in days.) For years, we’ve been content, this braid and I, going through hardships and triumphs together, breakups and first jobs, each time emerging from some valley or mountain closer and stronger than ever.

And then one day everything changed. My co-worker walked into the office sporting a side braid unlike anything I’d ever seen—or rather, I had seen, but only on red carpets and Pinterest boards. The braid was breathtakingly fat, textured, and carelessly deconstructed. I was entranced; I was bewitched. It was the braid I didn’t even realized I’d been missing all my life, and it made my own suddenly basic version look like it was done by a sixth grader (which, to be fair, is about the skill level required to pull it off). The moment I saw it, I knew my life was teetering on the edge of a cataclysmic shift. I demanded my co-worker tell me her secret, and (somewhat startled) she did. Keep scrolling to find out the secret!

Tell me—do you braid using this technique? If not, try it and tell me what you think below! Then, check out more holiday braid inspiration.

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