A few weeks ago, I went to the Renegade Craft Fair and posted this picture of my hair to Instagram.
And lo, the heavens did open up with THAT IS SO COOL and HOW DID YOU DO IT. Nobody would believe me that this style is actually super easy, so I’ve decided to force you to believe it.
OKAY. Braid crowns–or Heidi braids, they have a lot of names–are AWESOME. They’re good for the dickhead days of summer when you’re too sweaty to do another ponytail, or in the fall when your scalp hurts from one too many fashion topknots. Braid crowns can be fancy or casual, and once you know how to do them you can fuck around with the details as much as you want. Fishtail braid crown? Awesome! Teased and braided crown? Go for it! But for now we’ll keep it basic, and this is what you’ll need:
1. Hairspray. It was rainy out when I did this so I should have gone for something with more hold, but oh well.
2. Two small hairties. I like the clear ones, but whatever floats your boat.
3. Bobby pins. The thickness and length of your hair will determine how many/what size of these you need.
Not pictured: nosy dog who kept trying to eat the hairties. You really don’t need one of those.
Let’s talk raw materials. This is how long my hair is.
Your hair doesn’t have to be boob length (and you also don’t have to make this face). It’ll work on any length of hair past the shoulders. There is a limit for how long it can be to work, and honestly my hair is probably right at that limit now, but if you’re sneaky with the braiding there are workarounds.
Now. Let’s prep.
a. Brush your hair. I’m not happy about this because brushing my hair makes it fluffy. If your hair is curly and you want to see that in the braid, skip this and move on to…
b. Part your hair loosely down the middle starting at the crown and going all the way to your back hairline, so that…
c. Your hair is now in two equal sections. How perfectly equal the part is will depend on how obsessed with straight lines you are.
Then you want to deal with flyaways. Just give any rogue baby curls around your ears or the nape of your neck a quick blast of hairspray and then comb them into the rest of the hair.
This ultimately proves fruitless for me 98% of the time, but I wanted to show you how to do it in case your hair is more obedient.
Next we start the braids. I assume you already know how to plait, but if not, please go find the nearest five year old girl obsessed with ponies and get her to teach you, I guarantee she will be delighted.
Split the first half into three equal sections and braid loosely. Make sure that the top of the braid is really tight and that the back is also tight and smooth. You don’t want big lumps later.
Secure the bottom (heh) with one of your little ties, and then do it all over again on the other side.
Bonus points for haughty 50’s model bitchface.
Anyway, you should end up with two perfect plaits and a selection of cartoon stars about your head.*
* = not required.
A programming note: The flat front of the braid should face out sideways, like it’s pointing away from your ears. It should not be twisted so that the flat part faces forward like Wednesday Addams. This is because we want the pretty braid part to be visible when we pin it over our heads, so think out, not forward.
Woohoo! You’re like halfway done! Now all you have to do is grab, flip and pin which is exactly what it sounds like.
Grab your braid. Flip it across your head, making sure to keep one hand at the base to make sure there aren’t any lumps (lumps are your enemy). Finally, grab your bobby pins and start pinning it to your head. Start from the center and work back to your ear, putting a pin every couple of inches (alternating from the back to the front so that the braid is pinned on both sides) until it’s secure.
IMPORTANT FOR GIRLS WHO WEAR GLASSES: Don’t put too many pins near your ears! The arms of your glasses will press on them and you will get the mother of all headaches. Measure two fingers above the tip of your ear, and that is seriously as close as bobby pins should get.
Trust me on this.
Now you do the other side. Second verse, same as the first: grab, flip, pin. The second braid always goes behind the first, so make sure they are really close together. When you pin this time, you’ll only be pinning the back side of the braid because the other side is lying right next to braid #1.
Now grab the ends and tuck them under the chubby body of the opposite braid. Pin ’em under.
And you’re basically done. Now shake your head like crazy to make sure everything is really secure.
If you need more pins, add em. Then spray it with the hairspray, just to keep everything in place…
And VOILA! Braid crown! Mug for the camera!
I like my crown to be a little messy, which is good because my hair is disobedient and I don’t have much choice. If you want yours sleeker, you can pin in the little escaping ends or use hairspray on each section of hair before you braid.
And that’s all she wrote. Go forth and wear your crown!
Bonus: a picture of Oliver, “helping” with some pictures. Do you know how scary it is to think your dog has eaten a plastic hairtie? EXTREMELY.