8 New Ways to Rock a Braid

Fishtail Braid
WHY IT WORKS : "I love the softness of the sweeping hair across the head," says celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel of Diane Kruger's look. "It's very elegant because the braid isn't too tight against her head."
EXPERT TIPThis braid isn't a French braid—meaning it shouldn't start at the top of your head. Instead, Abergel suggests you begin braiding just above the ear. (As for the fishtail technique, simply break the ponytail into two ropes, take a skinny section from the left and add to the right, then repeat to the ends of your hair.) Finish by twisting a section of hair around the end and pinning in place. "It will look more authentic and hand-done," Abergel says. 

Side Braid
WHY IT WORKS : "Zoe Saldana's simple side braid is more casual and day appropriate than a full-on French braid," says Abergel, who works with Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock and Kristen Stewart, among others. "I love the modern piecey ends that keep the look from being too severe."
EXPERT TIP : This version works best if you have long layers. "The pieces slipping down in front are key," he says. Wave your hair first and start braiding very close to the nape of the neck. "And keep the ends undone—a dab of styling cream will help break them up," he adds.

 Peekabo Braid
 WHY IT WORKS : "The duality in textures is stunning," Abergel says of Mary-Kate Olsen's nearly hidden plait. "The key is mimicking the beautiful undone texture in the braid."
EXPERT TIP : Use a combination of beach spray and wax pomade to rough-up your hair, Abergel advises. "Tease and backcomb the section you're going to braid before you start. That keeps it looking undone, haphazard and not too perfect," he says.

Double French Braid 
WHY IT WORKS : "This is an easy way to class up a braid and give it more of a chic finish," Abergel says of Jessica Alba's look. "The swept-back direction of the braiding really opens up her face."
EXPERT TIP : Part the hair in the center and divide into three sections. Twist the middle portion back, leaving the sides out, says Abergel. Then, loosely French braid the two side sections to the nape of the neck before wrapping them into a chignon with the rest of your hair.

Classic French Braid 
WHY IT WORKS : "Amanda Seyfried is wearing a high neckline, so it's nice to accentuate her neck and open up the lines of her face," says Abergel. "And since the braid is loose, it doesn't make her neck seem small or constricted."
EXPERT TIP : It doesn't get any simpler than this classic style, but there are a few keys to getting it right. Keep the sections loose in your hands—and don't pull them snug as you braid. "You're going for a chunky, dimensional texture," he adds.

Loose Hairline Braid
WHY IT WORKS : Alexa Chung's look jives because it's so deconstructed. "I love the thickness of the braid and the way it's a little tousled," he says.
EXPERT TIP : Part your hair deep and on the side, then braid a wide section across your hairline. "It's okay if it slips down onto your forehead," says Abergel. Secure with crisscrossed pins low on the back of the head, and gather the rest of your hair into a messy knot.

Half Braided Pony
WHY IT WORKS "The contrasts in finish between the shiny braid and the matte, brushed-out waves is really interesting," Abergel says of Jennifer Lopez's look. "Plus, the proportions are just right."
EXPERT TIP Abergel suggests thinking of this as a ponytail, not a braid. Secure your hair tightly at the back of your head just above ear level, then braid down to the bottom of your ear lobe. Tie it off with a second elastic, and wave the ends with a small curling iron. One word of wisdom: "This look won't work if you hair isn't longer than your shoulder blades," he says.

Angled French Braid
WHY IT WORKS : "Kate Hudson's style is actually very classic," says Abergel. "Not everyone can handle a middle part, but this side version is universally flattering."
EXPERT TIP : Start with wavy, beachy hair—silky straight strands won't hold the style—and part on the side. French braid from one side of your part to the other, working all the way along the hairline to behind the opposite ear. Leave the end of the braid loose or twist it into a low cluster.

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