Here at Byrdie, we love a good celebrity hair trend, especially if that trend is easy to achieve without spending hours styling in front of the mirror. The hairstyle popping up on our radar (and our Instagram feeds) this summer? Bubble braids. After falling in love with Griff's jeweled bubble braid at the BRIT Awards, we started to see them everywhere. And while they may look complicated, you don’t need tools (or even how to braid) to get this look at home.
Worn by some of our faves like Gigi Hadid and Tessa Thompson, bubble braids are simply high volume, sectioned ponytails styled and embellished any way you like. You don't have to stop at one or two braids, we're getting total Y2K vibes from this multi-braid look—just add in a few multi-colored hair ties and you have a full-on statement. They’re also the easiest way to upgrade your outfit and keep your hair out of your face this summer. For more on how you can DIY this versatile look at home, read on.
See the Trend
Gigi Hadid couldn’t celebrated her bday with a few face-framing bubble braids. Hairstylist Laura Polko sectioned off her hair in small sections with clear rubber bands, allowing her new hue to take the spotlight and give her tousled hair some subtle texture.
It's no exaggeration—this look is incredibly versatile. Hairstylist Lacy Redway prepped actress Tessa Thompson for a film screening with this sleek look. But, instead of rubber bands or hair ties, she added a bit of elegance with black ribbons.
Another red carpet-worthy look on Tika Sumpter, courtesy of celeb hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor, proves this look works for all hair textures and types. "It's a look that is most classically done on straight hair, so I loved the opportunity to create this style on textured hair without using any heat. Just a small twist on the classic bubble ponytail," Taylor says.
Get the Look
Now that you've seen bubble braids in action, it's time to try the look on yourself. "I love how playful this look can be with a simple outfit and how you can spice up a ponytail for a statement," says celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho whose list of loyal clients includes Jennifer Lawrence, Ana de Armas, and more.
First things first, "Decide on where the base of the pony will sit—high up, mid or low—to determine where it looks best," Cho explains. "Also, make sure you have the right products, which will make it easier to create the bubble pony."
If you have shorter hair you can add in extensions for extra length or adjust the number of bubbles to suit your hair length.
When you have your placement and plan in place, it's time to get started. "Each bubble should be teased with a tail comb," says Cho. After spraying on the product for texture—she recommends the Rene Furterer STYLE Texture Spray—gently brush out your hair and smooth the outside while keeping the volume intact. The spray will help keep the style in place all day. "Once the pony is in, pull it out with your fingers to create the bubble, and make another pony below the bubble, and repeat above," Cho adds.
Annagjid "Kee" Taylor recommends securing your bubble braids with ponytail holders without metal to protect your hair. If you have textured hair, you should also grab a "hard brush to slick the hair down well with the gel" for that sleek look when pulling your hair into a ponytail.
When adding extensions and extra hair to get that length, Taylor notes that you should also "make sure you're adding the same type as your natural hair—straight extensions for straight hair and wavy for more textured hair." That way you can skip excess styling and still have a more natural-looking braid. To tame flyaways, she recommends a lightweight but strong holding spray like got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray ($9). Cho suggests finishing the look with the Rene Furterer STYLE Finishing Spray ($32).
And that's it: an easy summer style that even works on next-day hair. Now that you know how to get the look, put your own spin on it with extensions, different bubble counts, and accessories.