Celeb-Approved: 9 Gorgeous Hair Braid Styles

Braids might just be the most versatile hairstyle there is. Even more than the pony or the bun, braided hairstyles can be demure or edgy … and everything in between. Here’s a look at eight great hair braid styles the stars do.

The “Ladies Who Brunch” Braid

If you’re having tea at The Plaza, going to an afternoon wedding or attending a cocktail party with the boss, try a braided updo. Amber Heard, star of the recent thrillers Machete Kills and Paranoia, shows that a few face-framing loose strands of hair keep this ladylike look anything but stiff.

The Boho Milkmaid

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine rocks a milkmaid braid with full fringe and attitude. This celeb hairstyle is so striking you can skip the jewelry.

The Braid as Accessory

Think of a braid as an elegant accessory, like diamond studs. Katy Perry shows that a thin halo braid is a subtle and flattering finishing touch to lustrous healthy hair.

The Imperfectly Perfect Braid

Don’t get frustrated if you can’t create a perfect plait. Neatness doesn’t matter when it comes to hair braid styles, as Kim Kardashian shows in this side-swept halo braid.

The Hat-Hair Fix

Love hats, but hate hat hair? A side plait, as Elle Fanning demonstrates here, can be the perfect solution.

The Bombshell Braid

If you’ve ever thought a braid couldn’t be sexy, consider Scarlett Johansson’s look at The Avengers premiere. A halo braid shows off a woman’s décolletage beautifully.

The Red-Carpet Braid

Texture and volume made the fishtail braid that Blake Lively wore at a recent movie premiere a red-carpet stunner.

The Edgy Braid

“Punk: Chaos to Couture” was the theme of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest Costume Institute exhibit. Emmy Rossum’s edgy braided updo fit the mood at the gala opening perfectly.

The Professional Plait

Stacy Keibler’s fishtail braid is polished enough for the office, or even a job interview.

Tips for Braids That Make the Grade

  • Healthy hair is the key to braids that don’t look frayed. Banish split ends on the spot with an instant split end repair cream.
  • If your elaborate braid style is held together with bobby pins and elastic, hide the evidence. Tuck the pins into the hair’s twists and turns and wrap a strand of hair around the elastic or use clear elastics. 
  • Messy braids will look refined if your hair is glossy. Give hair a radiant finish with a shine serum with argan oil. 
  • Creating braids won’t damage your hair if you begin with knot-free locks. After you towel-blot your hair, use a silkening detangler. 

Glamorous Holiday Hair, Part II: Easy Styles for Long Hair

Lengthy locks give a lot of room to experiment with playful styles that match your mood and the holiday occasion. From plaits to ponies, we rounded up a few easy-to-do hairstyles for tresses below the shoulders. 

1. Faux Bob Curls

Shorten your tresses without committing to a cut with this sexy style. Seen on beauties like Taylor Swift and Naomi Watts, the glamorous look goes perfectly with a cocktail dress and a bold lip. Before using any heating tools, generously spray a heat protectant on your hair to protect against heat damage.

2. Twisted Side Ponytail

Asymmetrical hairstyles are increasingly popular, and it’s easy for long-haired ladies to get in on the trend. This low ponytail with a twist is perfect for those after-work holiday parties, where your primping space is limited to the office bathroom mirror. A fun and flirty ponytail is also a great time to play up your eyes with this season’s colors, like purple or metallic. To get a sleeker pony, try a smooth serum with Moroccan argan oil.

3. Messy Fishtail Plait

The fishtail style has been reborn into a more carefree look that perfectly balances formal holiday attire. Beauties from Lea Michele to Blake Lively have mastered this modern look, which works best when left messy and somewhat undone. Let your shorter layers frame your face, loosen the braid and finish off this beautiful, feminine style with a spritz of flexible hold hairspray.

Photo by Paul Siewert on Unsplash

Glamorous Holiday Hair, Part I: Short Hairstyles

The holiday season often means going from cubicle to cocktails to catered events. A simple way to get into the party spirit and transform your look is with a standout hairstyle. Just because your locks don’t reach your shoulders doesn’t mean you need to be limited in your hair creations. We rounded up three easy-to-follow hairstyle tutorials for short-haired gals.

1. Half-up Hair Pouf

If your everyday hairstyle includes flat locks, the holidays are the perfect time for making a hair-raising statement. This 60s meets modern rock star look has been spotted on celebs like Eva Longoria and Kate Beckinsale. Pair with minimal makeup and soft colors to create balance. Be sure to make the style stay standing tall with a texturizing sculpting wax.

2. Perfect Curls

Curls on short hair don’t need to make you resemble Shirley Temple. Loose curls add body and sexy sophistication to any look. Curls will hold better with day-old hair and can be achieved with the same heating tool used to straighten hair -- and a little patience. Protect locks from damage and boost shine with a heat protectant.

3. Easy Braided Updo

This style is perfect for day-to-night, as the only tools required include a small stash of rubber bands, barrettes and your fingers. Braids show no sign of disappearing, as they continue to dominate designer runways and red carpets. To really channel celeb style, pair this feminine look with a smoky eye or bold lip. Smooth down any flyaways with a smooth serum of your choice.

Photo by Paul Siewert on Unsplash

The Amazing Benefits of Argan Oil

From road trips to writing classes, there is one thing that’s constant in all my college memories: terrible hair days. I’m sure the arsenal of dyes and hot styling tools that I used back then -- not to mention the typical poor diet of a college student -- didn’t help. And like paying off my student loans, reviving my post-college hair seemed a very long road ahead.       

Enter argan oil, which arrived as a Thanksgiving gift in 2012 from one of my gorgeous-haired aunts whose hair type is similar to my curl-if-you-care, frizz-if-you-don’t waves. My hair suffered from damage, dryness and frizz -- issues that kept me hiding my locks in ponytails and updos. I was thrilled when argan oil proved a quick fix for these problems. A few drops activated my curls and made my hair shiny and smooth, even without the use of hot tools. All I had to do was apply the oil from my ends upward to the mid-shaft on dry or damp hair. Instantly, I had hair that not only looked healthy enough to wear down but also to show off.

As it turned out, argan oil worked on a deeper level than I imagined. My hair wasn’t merely given the appearance of being healthy -- it was actually becoming healthy. In the past, once I washed a styling product out of my hair, the benefits seemed to get washed away too. My hair would revert back to being a dull, dry mess that looked like something you’d feed to horses … you know, like hay. But with argan oil, my hair was developing a gloss, bounce and softness that I thought was long gone. Turns out, this smart serum is not just a styling product -- it’s a treatment as well. It’s no wonder Moroccan women (and men) have been using the nut-derived oil as a beauty aid for centuries, and that they sometimes refer to it as “liquid gold.” Check out my before-and-after photos to see the liquid-gold effect for yourself!

Photo by "Jessie Dee" Dabrowski www.jessiedee.net on Unsplash

5 Fabulous Fall Hairstyles

After summer’s beachy waves and ponytails, it’s time to try some gorgeous new long and short hairstyles for fall. Below are five of our favorites. Since the foundation of every great hairstyle is healthy hair that shines, be sure to take care of yours by using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner with every wash, as well as a deep conditioning mask once a week.

Center Part With Waves

“Long hair this fall is having a little more fun,” says Jet Rhys, a San Diego hairstylist and salon owner. Case in point: Zoe Saldana’s sexy look at the MTV Music Awards. “This is fall’s version of glamour,” says Rhys. “Center parts are huge with smoothness at the roots and just the right amount of cascading waves on the mid-length and ends.” To get the look, apply a volumizing spray to your roots and blow-dry your hair with a round brush. Then take 2-inch sections of hair, and wrap only the midsection and ends around the wand of a curling iron.  Seal your locks with just a touch of hairspray.

The Polished, Sexy Blow-Dry

The blow-dry with a round brush is back, says Roy Teeluck, a New York City celebrity hairstylist and salon owner who has tended to the locks of Michelle Williams, Brooke Shields, Rosario Dawson and Hillary Clinton. Teeluck is advising his chic clients to get a fall haircut with lots of layers and just-above-the-shoulders length. “As you blow-dry your hair, keep you fingers constantly moving through the layers so you create a casual effect that’s also immaculate,” says Teeluck.

Half-Up-With-a-Braid Hawk

That’s the name Rhys gives to the edgy but elegant look that Selena Gomez showed off at the MTV Music Awards. This long hairstyle is a bit labor-intensive, but worth the effort. To start, prep dry hair with a dry shampoo to give it some grit, says Rhys. Next, place a couple of Velcro rollers on the top of your head. Gather the rest into a high ponytail, divide into three sections, and braid.  Remove the rollers and tease the hair gently. Take half of this section, brush toward the crown and cover the high pony. Secure with bobby pins. Take the other half of the top section, let the ends swirl around the top of the crown and secure with bobby pins. Finish with hairspray.

Simple and Accessorized

With shiny gleaming hair the star, this year’s most glamorous short hairstyles are being achieved with a single well-chosen accessory, says Nicholas Penna, Jr., owner of SalonCapri in Boston. Pin back strands of romantic waves with a vintage brooch, or weave a glittery necklace or ribbon into a braid. Want to give a chignon or bun some bling? Penna suggests securing a necklace with loose-hanging strands to the base of the bun, then pinning locks on top of the necklace as you create the updo. Let the ends of the necklace dangle for some eye-catching sparkle.

The Extreme Side Part
Got five seconds? Then you can achieve one of fall’s most striking hairstyles: the strong side part. Lower than the traditional side part, it lines up with the arch of your eyebrow and works with hair that’s long or short, straight or curly. Emmy Rossum likes to pair a deep side part with natural makeup for the red carpet. Try it! You don’t need any commitment -- just a tail comb!