When actress Zoe Saldana hit the red carpet for a Miami premiere on Monday, she rocked a glittering gold and cream Balmain gown and low-slung ponytail made of mini braids. Kirsten Dunst wore her blond locks in an elegant braided updo at Cannes. And Rihanna bested them all with her cherry red hair woven into a complicated French braid at the Costume Institute Ball at the Metropolitan Museum earlier this summer.
There’s no question that braids of all types will continue to be the hot hair trend this fall, but how to wear them in the real world (translation: to work) without looking weirdly overdone? Nick Penna Jr., owner of Salon Capri in Dedham, recommends the waterfall braid. Basically a loose French braid that wraps around the back of your head, the waterfall allows you to wear your hair down but braided in a way that’s interesting and office-friendly. Works for us.
See below for Penna’s directions and advice on the best products to make the look work. -- Hayley Kaufman
- Start with dry straight or wavy hair. Brush through hair with a wide tooth comb to remove tangles.
- Part hair at your natural part using a fine tooth comb and apply a dime-sized portion of smoothing serum, starting at the hair shafts through the ends. Nick uses L’Oreal Professionnel Textureline Smoothing Serum.
- Collect a small section of hair at the top of one side of your head, close to your part, and begin by braiding the strands three times like a French braid.
- After you’ve French braided the left section of hair (now in the center) drop the right strands and let them fall along the side of your head.
- Pick up a new piece of hair in the dropped section’s place, as well as a new piece on the left side like a traditional French braid, and braid the three sections again, dropping the right portion after you’ve completed the braid.
- Continue this process, wrapping the waterfall braid toward the back of your head as you go.
- Once you’ve passed the back of your head with the waterfall braid, end with a traditional braid and secure the end with an elastic.
- If desired, add some style with a flower or jeweled clip where the waterfall braid and traditional braid meet.
- Finish with a light spritz of hair spray around the braid. Nick suggests Shu Uemura Sheer Lacquer.
[Images by Essdras M Suarez]