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Guest Blogger: How-To Create Enchanting Braids

This week’s guest blogger is Natalie Alcala, a Cali girl with a penchant for all things style and fashion. When she’s not soaking up the sun or rocking dangerously high heels, you can catch her feeding her insatiable sartorial appetite on her blog, Natalie’s Menagerie. She also pens a daily fashion column for BlackBook Magazine and is an assistant editor at FashionStake.

Rachel Roy fall 2011, Christian Dior fall 2010, Lacoste spring 2011

Photos: Style, Elle

I’ll admit it: I’m a hair stalker. Not only do I skim editorials and runway collections for innovative styles, but I also like to hit the streets for anonymous inspiration—and I have no problem randomly complimenting well-coifed bystanders. Braids and braid-like details particularly fascinate me, so I’ve rounded up three standout looks from the catwalk that I’ll definitely be testing out this summer.

Runway: Rachel Roy fall 2011

Look (at left): The Milkmaid

How-to: This style looks best with second-day hair, but you can also spritz clean hair with Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray to texturize. Create a middle part and divide hair into two low ponytails. Braid each ponytail loosely and tie both with a snag-free elastic. If you’re feeling extra fancy, weave a 1” by 8” piece of fabric through each braid to truly replicate this runway look. Now, cross each braid over the crown and secure with bobby pins. Finish with some Bumble and Bumble Holding Spray and voilà!

Runway: Christian Dior fall 2010

Look (middle): The Fishtail

How-to: Start with smooth hair by raking an anti-frizz serum from root to end. I swear by Josie Maran’s Argan Oil. Next, divide hair into two sections and take a small piece (the smaller the piece, the tighter the braid) from the far left side and cross it over the far right side. Switch to the other side and do the same. Repeat these steps until you reach the end of your braid and then secure with elastic. (For a full step by step photo tutorial, click here.) Frame the face with a few loose strands for a more relaxed look.

Runway: Lacoste spring 2011

Look (at right): The Fringe

How-to: You made need a friend to help with this look, but it’s totally worth it! First, spritz hair with Living Proof Straight Spray for a sleek touch. Create a deep side part and clip the shorter section back behind the ear. French braid the top fringe section along the hairline and secure with elastic. Unclip the shorter side of the part and French braid toward the back of your ear. Gather both braids into a side ponytail to complete the runway look, or pin each braid at the nape for a cool hairband effect. (Click here to watch a video tutorial that will help you get the look).

Pick up some must-have hair products you’ll need to achieve these styles by visiting our Birchbox Shop.

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