Besides for never going out of style, braids are one of the most versatile ways to wear your hair. Whether it’s a classic French braid for church or a trendy double fishtail for game day, there’s a style for every occasion. While you can’t go wrong with a traditional three-strand braid, it never hurts to spice up this Southern staple. We talked with celebrity hairstylist and inventor of The Beachwaver Co., Sarah Potempa about the woven dos that are the most flattering for your face shape.
Round: Fishtail Top Knot
Why It Works: “It elongates by drawing eye up, creating an illusion of longer, slimmer face.”
- Tie hair into a high pony.
- Separate it into to even sections.
- Take a small piece from the left side and pull it under the right.
- Reverse by weaving a piece from the right under the left.
- Alternate sides until you reach the bottom, securing with an elastic.
- Wrap the braid around the base of the ponytail, securing with bobby pins.
Square: Half-Up Double Dutch Braids
Why It Works: “It’s perfect to add height at the top of the head while still having hair down by the jawline to soften it.”
- Separate hair into a top and bottom section, pinning the lower strands to the side.
- Divide the top section into a left and right section, then clip one half out of the way.
- Take the loose half and split it into three even sections
- Weave the left section under the center section (so the left section is now in the middle).
- Pull the right section under the middle. Potempa recommends creating a hair mantra to stay focused. “Just repeat left under, right under the middle,” she explains.
- Keep braiding, continuing to grab hair from the root.
- After securing one braid with an elastic, repeat the process on the other side of your head.
- Unpin the bottom section of hair and curling with a wand.
Heart: Five Strand Braid
Why It Works: “It creates volume by the jawline.”
- Start by pulling hair into a low side pony with a rubber band. This makes braiding easier (simply cut out the rubber band once you’re done).
- Separate hair into five even sections.
- Take the farthest section on the right side, crossing it over the section next to it and then under the following section.
- Reach for farthest section to the left, weaving it over then under like you did in step three.
- Continue to repeat this process, alternating sides, all the way down. Secure at the end.
- Gently pull the braid outwards to give the braid a wider appearance.
Diamond: Waterfall Braid
Why It Works: “It allows you to keep most of the hair down, softly framing your face shape.”
- Begin a regular three-strand braid
- Work your way down, but every weave drop the bottom section, replacing it with a new section from the root
- Finish with a traditional braid and secure at the bottom.
- Curl the rest of your hair to create a relaxed texture (we love the Beachwaver!).
Oval: Anything Goes
Why It Works: The versatile shape plays well with all plaits. “Take advantage and try a braid cocktail, mixing different styles,” says Potempa.
- Tie a high ponytail at the top of your head
- Create traditional three-braid on the first third of the pony. Secure with a clear elastic.
- Fishtail the next third of hair. Tie off with another clear elastic.
- Finish with another three-strand braid.