Keep Your Hair Off Your Sweaty Face and Neck With This Versatile Braid

It's even floppy-hat friendly!
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Allison
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It's even floppy-hat friendly!


I honestly don’t understand how people with long hair survive the summer. I’m working with mid-length locks right now, and I am extremely tempted to pull a Kelly and shave it all off. But alas, I don’t have the badass gene, so I always tie it up to keep my hair off my neck.

This braid is my go-to style for when it's hot, and for when my hair is too flat or oily to wear down, and I’m too busy (lazy) to wash it before going out. Skill and hair-length wise, if you can do a French braid, you can do this style no problem.

The products you will need are a hair brush, a hair band or two, a texturizing spray (or hairspray depending on your preference), bobby pins, and dry shampoo if you’re hair is a little oily or flat in the roots.

Don’t get wild and spill it all over your face like I did.

Don’t get wild and spill it all over your face like I did.

Pre-braid you will want to add some volume and take away grease with a dry shampoo product. I love the Bumble and bumble Pret a Powder for its fresh floral scent, and because it adds texture without making my hair feel grimy. I just put the powder on my part and around the hairline, where people will actually notice that it’s oily. It’s like covert ops for second- or third-day hair.

So much texture you don’t even need a hairspray.

So much texture you don’t even need a hairspray.

I have the type of hair that is really slick and will pull right out of hairstyles unless I use a cement-grade hairspray to keep it together. After years of spraying an unhealthy amount of the stuff into my hair in attempts to look like a functioning adult, I finally figured out that adding texture to my hair before I style it gives the hair something to hold on to, and I don’t have to go all Good Morning Baltimore every time I want to do my hair.

Stick-straight parts are optional.

Stick-straight parts are optional.

Comb through your newly texturized hair with your fingers to make sure you can braid it, and if not, lightly brush your hair until you can work with it. Then just part your hair on one side, and section off a piece of hair from your ear forward. Let the braiding commence.

Easy as pie.

Easy as pie.

Simply French braid it down and secure it with a hair tie. This tiny braid will make a big difference in the final look, and it's best to do it first so you don’t accidentally use all that hair in the larger braid. (Not going to lie: sometimes I stop here and pin the tiny braid behind my ear so I can feel like Sarah Manning in Orphan Black, but today we’re going whole hog for a slightly more romantic look.)

The angle of choice.

The angle of choice.

The second, larger braid wraps around your head, so you’ll need to start at an angle for it to work. I just choose a triangle of hair at the front of my part and hairline, about an inch or so in on either side.

Oooh, braiding action shot!

Oooh, braiding action shot!

To get the braid to wrap around your head and have it sit close to your hairline, you'll need to pick larger pieces from the part of your hair and smaller pieces from the hairline when adding to the braid. Keep braiding until you get to the end of your hair, then braid it down and secure with a hair tie.

Do you remember that episode of Friends when Monica gets her hair braided?

Do you remember that episode of Friends when Monica gets her hair braided?

You will be left with one tiny braid and one big braid to the side. First, we’ll do a little stretching to make it look less uptight, but then the fun begins because there are loads of ways to style the ponytail end.

Don’t pull too hard.

Don’t pull too hard.

To get the romantic look, pull on the strands of the braid to loosen it up. This not only makes the braid much more comfortable, but it gives it a laid-back look. Sometimes, when I just braid my hair and don’t loosen it up, I think I look like one of my middle school teachers whose hair looked like it actually physically pained her because she had it braided so tightly.

All loosened up.

All loosened up.

After you get the braid pulled to your liking, add hairspray if need be and tuck in any loose pieces with a bobby pin. Then it is on to styling the end of the braid.

Braidception!

Braidception!

The first way I like to style this braid is by incorporating the tiny braid into the larger one. This ends up with a really interesting-looking braid because one strand has a different texture than the others.

Not quite Deb from Napoleon Dynamite.

Not quite Deb from Napoleon Dynamite.

The classic side pony is a super-easy way to finish off this style. Just grab both braids and tie together by your ear. To class things up a notch, take a strand of hair and wrap it around to cover the hair tie. Secure with a bobby pin in the back.

My favorite.

My favorite.

For ultimate summer neck sweat clearance, I go for the messy bun. This is the best because there is no hair hanging down, so if I’m having a particularly active day, I’ve got a cute little hair helmet to see me through and to stay out of my way.

Always practice safe sun.

Always practice safe sun.

And when the sun is really shining, I top it off with a big, floppy hat. Because this braid is around the hairline you can see the braid poking out of the bottom, and it's still intact when you take the hat off!

  • How do you wear your hair during the summer? 
  • Any braid experts out there?