Last week I found some old video footage of myself and was WAY more embarrassed by the ironed hair than I was about the outfit I wore or the way I sounded on camera.
I mean, IRONED. Flat to my face. And I remember thinking it looked great at the time. Cringe.
Since embracing the wave (frizz) about two years ago, my life has been much easier in terms of time and also, weirdly, feeling more like myself. After all, it’s how my hair is meant to look, naturally.
Now I couldn’t care less if I get rained on, whereas it would have been a disaster previously. And while I’m not the world’s most creative when it comes to doing ‘stuff’ with my barnet, I do have a couple of tried and tested looks that have become my default.
If I’m not leaving it to air dry, I will stick it up in a messy bun. And on the odd day I fancy doing something different, I will section both sides off and plait each one before securing in a bobble at the back. Completely random, not remotely tidy, but I quite like that. You can see here when I’ve shown it on Instagram.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited down to Cheeky Hair by Josh Wood at Barber & Parlour for a one on one plait session with super stylist Joël Benjamin. A hair stylist of ten years standing, who has worked for the likes of Adidas, Arena Homme + and As You Are magazine, Joël has become a self-taught braid enthusiast, collaborating with Josh Wood, while Instagramming some of his incredible styles at #100braidsofhappy.
Plait bars are now the thing. Less blow, more braid. They’re not quite as try-hard as a sleek blow dry, but do show you’ve made more of an effort than a bun.
Topshop Oxford Circus have collaborated with Hershesons on their in-store braid bar, where your choice of plait costs from £15 for 15 minutes.
Luke Hersheson from the salon says “It all began at the Vogue Festival last year.
“We did quick braid styling from a menu there and it was packed all day long on both days. We then did a Braid Bar at the Topshop Showspace during London Fashion Week, and that was it.”
And such is the demand for plaits like Kate Bosworth, FKA Twigs or even Kim Kardashian, Harvey Nichols launched their own Keash Braids pop-up for their Festival of Style earlier this year.
Meanwhile Joël set up his own plaiting pop-up at this year’s Glastonbury festival, which proved very popular among the visiting throng.
If you can master a basic braid, the world – as they say – is your lobster. Joël did what is called a ‘halo plait’ on my hair, where it goes all around the head and you’re not entirely sure where it starts or finishes.
This is a brilliant YouTube tutorial on how to master several styles of plait – and once you have that down, you can start testing those that suit your hair.
My favourites are all in the inspiration board at the top of this post – with the easiest being the middle row, right hand side with two plaited sections pulled back and the rest of your hair left loose.
Get creative – happy plaiting.