Make The Most Of Your Long Bob With A Braid Crown

The tricks and tips you need to know to get your shorter hair into this fabulous summertime style.
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The tricks and tips you need to know to get your shorter hair into this fabulous summertime style.

While most of my makeup is firmly rooted in simple classics, my hair is quite trendy lately.

Long bobs, or "lobs," as some people like to call them, are definitely the cool haircut to have right now. I wish I could say that I predicted this trend, but I've been growing out my classic bob and haven't bothered to get it cut recently.

It brushes my shoulders now, and three weeks ago I hit an important hair length milestone: it was finally long enough to put up in a braid crown. I took to Instagram to express my delight, because how else can you demonstrate joy if not through a selfie?

Hashtag white balance.

Hashtag white balance.

I received questions almost immediately. How did I get my long bob up in a braid crown? Was I using extensions for extra length? Witchcraft and sorcery? HOW WAS I DOING IT?!

Today, I’m going to show you all the tricks to get your long bob up, up, and away into a braid crown, my favorite hairstyle of summer.

STEP 1: Pick your moment

Braid crowns work best when hair is slightly dirty, so the second or third day after washing is optimal. This keeps flyaways under control and helps the hair braid together better.  

STEP 2: Assemble your materials

Having everything laid out ahead of time makes all hairstyles much easier. You will need a paddle brush, a comb, bobby pins that match your hair color, hairspray and clear plastic hair-ties (optional).

Giant yellow flower also optional.

Giant yellow flower also optional.

STEP 3: Make like a banana and split

Brush your hair to make sure there are no snarls or tangles. Using the comb, part your hair vertically right down the middle. You want an equal (or equal-ish) amount on both sides. How straight your part is is totally up to you.

Also: I need to redo my color.

Also: I need to redo my color.

STEP 4: Braid

Because I value my sanity, I spray a little hairspray and then brush it through the lengths of my disobedient hair before I begin plaiting. Depending on how well your hair behaves, you can do this or skip it, whichever works best for you.

The most important thing about braiding when your hair is this length is that you have to start the braid further up your head. When your hair is long, you can begin the braid down near the bottom of your ear. When your hair is shorter, the braid needs to be placed higher. This ensures enough braid-length to reach across the top of your head.

Left: low-placed braid, good for long hair. Right: high-placed braid, good for shorter hair.

Left: low-placed braid, good for long hair. Right: high-placed braid, good for shorter hair.

The second thing to keep in mind is that it helps to angle the braids forward a little. Pinning braids closer to the face (rather than the back of the head) makes them easier to see from the front, and makes the style more impressive. Angling the braids forward as you plait makes that easier to do.

Angling forward toward ze face.

Angling forward toward ze face.

The third thing to keep in mind is important no matter how long your hair is: your braids should face up, not out. This will allow them to lay flat across your head, rather than being twisted and uncomfortable.

Left: NO to Wednesday Addams braids. Right: YES to braids facing out, away from one's ears.

Left: NO to Wednesday Addams braids. Right: YES to braids facing out, away from one's ears.

Secure the ends of your braids with clear hair ties. (I don’t bother with this step anymore because I have MAD BRAID CROWN SKILLZ, but I used these until I’d leveled up.)

allecrown7.jpg

STEP 5: Flip and pin!

This is exactly what it sounds like: take a braid and flip it up across your head, then get ready to pin it down. Thanks to clever positioning, your braids should be long enough to touch in the middle and hopefully cross over a little.

Flip and pin!

Flip and pin!

As for where you should position it on your head, that’s up to you. I like mine close to my face so that people can see them, which works well for long bobbed hair. I have my bangs to provide my boundary, but if you don’t, measure at least a little finger’s distance from hairline to the first braid.

Now, take your bobby pins and pin them evenly every couple of inches along your braid, alternating between the front and the back.

When the first plait is secured, flip your second braid up and behind it, pinning it down along the back. If you’ve used clear ties to secure the ends, you can either slide those out and pin the hair down or tuck the ends underneath the opposite braids to hide them. Your call!

Pins ahoy!

Pins ahoy!

You can pin down the small bits that stick out of the plaits if you like. I leave them, because I think the style works when it looks a bit messy.

STEP 6: Finishing touches

Finish everything with a liberal spritz of hairspray. I’m using TIGI Bed Head Hard Head hairspray, because NOTHING keeps my horse mane in place better than this.

allecrown10.jpg

Finally, shake your head all about. It looks silly, but this is a great way to find out if there any loose spots that need re-pinning--you’ll feel it immediately.

Like a polaroid picturrrre.

Like a polaroid picturrrre.

And now your crown is done! Put on some big earrings and knock ‘em dead!

Love it!

Love it!

Everyone will marvel at your style, and you can be as mysterious as you like when they ask how on EARTH you pulled it off with relatively short hair.

And you can tell them or not, depending on how nice you're feeling that day.

And you can tell them or not, depending on how nice you're feeling that day.

Are you a fan of braid crowns? What about long bobs? I like the style, but HATE the portmanteau of "lob." How do you style your long bob?