10 Fixes for a Bad Hair Day—All in the Form of Side Braids

Holiday party–approved.

person standing in the sun with side braid hair style

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Fact: We'd bet our beauty-loving lives that braids will never ever go out of style. They can be dramatic, edgy, romantic, casual, complicated, effortless… Essentially, they're the perfect hairstyle. (Not to mention a girl's best friend when we've accidentally forgone a much-needed shampoo or color touch-up.) Oh, and don't even get us started on how many times they've saved us on even the most disastrously bleak bad hair days—especially this time of year when bone-dry temps lead to static, dryness, and overall frustration. Ugh

Simultaneously, of course, our calendars are bursting with events and festivities this time of year that beckon good, if not fantastic, hair days—a conundrum that has us desperate and in frantic search of the easy yet stunning looks that can carry us through the holiday season and beyond unscathed. Our favorite solution? Side-braided hairstyles that we can easily manipulate depending on our mood and the event in question. So without further ado, we've rounded up 10 epic side-braid hairstyles, as demonstrated by some of our favorite strand-blessed celebrities, that we're looking to copy ASAP this season. Keep scrolling for our favorite unexpected takes. 

Joan Smalls

Joan Smalls with side braid and purple lips
Getty Images

Although Smalls' staggering royal pout is reason enough to take a screenshot, we also have to give the model a well-deserved shout-out for this sleek fishtail braid. It's edgy, classic, and all-around fabulous. We plan on wearing a similar look all throughout the season. 

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe at the 2014 Met Gala wearing a side braid
George Pimentel / Getty Images

This might be a bold statement on our part, but when it comes to red carpet beauty looks, actress and singer Janelle Monáe might be one of the most highly anticipated arrivals on our list. Case in point: This amazing side-braid hairstyle she wore at the Met Gala back in 2016. (And yes, we're still infatuated.)

Amber Heard

Amber Heard wearing a loosely braided side part
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Effervescently edgy, this glamorous yet unexpected side braid Amber Heard debuted on the red carpet a couple years back has us wanting more. Not to mention it's the perfect way to accentuate bone structure, a pearlescent highlighter application, or some killer earrings—just saying. 

Madelaine Petsch

Madelaine Petsch
Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

Let's take a moment to open our minds to all the ways we can define an epic side braid. Though Madelaine Petsch's high-volume look doesn't involve all of her strands, we love the way she uses a side braid up top to keep wisps and layers out of the way and to make way for the kilowatt impact of her ponytail. 

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid wearing a high braided ponytail and overalls
Robert Camau / Getty Images

Is there such a thing as hair roundup without one of the Hadid sisters? We think not. And while we normally think side-braid hairstyles swing down by near the nape of our neck, we love this high-pony take and can't help but appreciate how fast and painless the look is to achieve. (Just pull your hair up into the highest tail you can muster, braid, and secure the end with another ponytail holder.)

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington Wearing a messy side fishtail braid
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Kerry Washington is the ultimate chameleon when it comes to her hair MO. And while she's worn a host of memorable braids on many red carpets, we love the contrast here between her sleek braid and perfectly textured layers.

Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski is known for her luscious, shiny strands and signature, sleek blowout. Therefore, whenever the actress and model debuts something unexpected, we're all eyes. For instance, this romantic side-swept braid complete with a bow is all we want this year for the holidays. 

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi
Getty Images

Shahidi is forever serving up major inspiration where her glorious strands are concerned, but our mouths fell agape when we saw this long, low, side-braid hairstyle complete with swirled baby hairs along her hairline and a gold sparkling piece at the end that gives the entire look and Amazonian princess look we're loving for party season. 

Storm Reid

Storm Reid wearing her box braids in a long side braid
Jon Kopaloff  / Getty Images

Spend even just two seconds scrolling through Storm Reid's Instagram account and you'll think you're ogling a professional hair muse, not a 15-year-old actress. We're especially smitten with this intricate take on a ho-hum side braid, complete with a braided crown and strategically positioned braided knots placed prettily down the tail.

Blake Lively

Blake Lively wearing her hair in a side braid
Gotham / Getty Images

Blake Lively just might be the queen of side-braid hairstyles, and while it's hard to choose a favorite, we love how relaxed yet elegantly polished this undone take looks on the actress. 

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