The Side Braid
WHY IT WORKS “Zoe Saldana’s simple side braid is more casual and day appropriate than a full-on French braid,” says celebrity hairstylist Adir 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.
The Peekaboo Braid
WHY IT WORKS “The duality in textures is stunning,” Abergel says of Ashley 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.
The 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.
The Fishtail Braid
WHY IT WORKS “I love the softness of the sweeping hair across the head,” Abergel says of Diane Kruger’s look. “It’s very elegant because the braid isn’t too tight against her head.”
EXPERT TIP This 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.