Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Braid Your Hair

It just may be your only hope against summer heat


The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this summer is going to be oppressively hot and humid for the New York area.” Doesn’t that sound fun? Doesn’t that sound especially fun for your hair? 

My hair likes to do this cool thing where the area around my forehead and ears explodes into curls while the middle section flatlines, then the back ripples as though I’ve sent it through a large-pronged crimper. The best thing it does, however, is create tight bundles of tangles right at the nape of my neck that can only come undone with the help of a razor and so, by the end of the summer, I more or less have an under-shave that I didn’t ask for. 

Your hair probably goes rogue too. Maybe you frizz. Maybe you fuzzle. Maybe your straight hair stands on ends and your curly hair taps out, or, if you’re like Leandra, this happens:


Which is totally great. I think big hair is awesome. My own motto is the higher the hair, the closer to heaven.

BUT. Should you need a respite from the heat, from the frizz, from the unruly curls and all of the completely out of control rat’s nests living underneath your mane that you do not, for the fifth summer in a row, feel like cutting off — try braids.

At Kenzo’s Resort preview this week, models sported reverse-French braids in sets of 4. It looked fresh, athletic and unfussy. Simone Rocha, Marchesa and Tibi sent braided manes down their Fall 2014 runways as well, and I’ve been in the mood for woven plaits ever since. Luckily for me/you/us, my mom has been braiding my hair since I was old enough to grow it, and I quickly learned her technique by way of my trusty American Girl Doll horse who never once complained that I was pulling too hard.

And now you too can “get the look.” All you need is a brushed, slightly dirty head of hair, a comb, and hair ties of your choice. (By all means do this when you’re freshly scrubbed as well, but I find it harder to grip.)

Step one: Divide the hair with a comb into however many sections you want to braid. Secure each section with a tie to keep the extra hair out of your way. I’m doing 4 braids on Esther, a la Kenzo Resort.

Step two: Take one section, and divide that into three sections. Begin as you would with a regular braid, only instead of crossing OVER, we’re crossing under. Begin with the left side, cross it under so it becomes the middle strand. Then cross the right side under that piece to become the middle. Repeat twice — left, then right.

Step three three: Begin gathering a little bit of hair with the left side. The point is to start anchoring the braid down to the head. Cross it under, just like we did in step 2. Now grab a little bit of hair with the right side. Cross it under. I’m doing all of this in the gif below.

braids short on Make A Gif

Repeat the pattern, tightening as you go. When you reach the nape of the neck, continue the braid going back to the old method: left under center so that it becomes center, right under center so that it becomes center.

Et voila.


Now it’s your turn. Think you’ll try this hairstyle? Or do you have a better alternative? Tell us, tweet us, put comments in the pictures, throw pecans in the air, ride an ostrich, etc.

Let’s all say a big thanks to our model Esther who, like my American Girl Doll horse, didn’t really complain either, and our intern Krista Anna Lewis on the kick drum! Aka she took the pictures!

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  • I love braids so much!

    Mafalda ❤

  • maria

    Nice braids and hairstyles, for more tips and tricks check out http://www.fabhair.com/fabhair_academy/#tabs=0

  • “Reverse French braids”? These are cornrows. Personally, On another note, I love the big-haired look in that second photo.

  • GapToothedGirl

    I love to be braided, it relaxes me…
    XOX, Gap.

  • My friend and I cornrowed our hair almost every week last summer. It was between that and beach hair, which I love.

    Esther looks great! And Amelia, I think I’ve been waiting for a decent amount of time, so I think I’m next in line for Rows by Diamond, okay? I’ll pay in photographs of Nantucket.

    Also also also: great photo quality! Nice glow and clarity to these photos, Krista!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Where is Quinn, Emma?

      • That’s a good question!!

        Quinney Bey, where you at?!

      • Quinn Halman

        I feel so special wow. Truth is, I tried really hard to come up with a witty response but the school year just ended so I haven’t been sitting in front of a computer all day everyday

  • Kirby

    Love the braids but I have got to say, I am disappointed you did not include a picture of the braids Monica got when they went to Barbados. Those were killer, well, before she got them stuck in the shower curtain.

  • Once again, hairstyles that I could never pull off 🙁


  • tunie

    Luckily, my hair is long enough to pull back into a high ponytail with a bit of leave-in conditioner, then I braid the tail. Totally stress free hair that looks great with a suede tie around the band. Can also do a high bun, which actually looks better the poufier the humidity makes the bun, so…no worries.

  • Way too challenging to do on my own. 😛 I think I may need to train, oops i meant teach, the bf how to do it.


  • Awesome. Can’t go wrong with some braids. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼

  • Francisc

    I love this hairstyle but I’m not sure I would go for it!


  • hila

    I don’t have enough hair for tight braids! I hate seeing that much of my scalp (does anyone else feel like this?) But what I DO do is roll it (sort of like cornrows, but looser, then throw it all in a pony/ low bun. At the end of the day (or early morning) I take it out and it creates waves and pseudo curls. PS- Leandra your hair is amazing!

  • TomokoHowse

    I have really love it Hair style .

  • Guest

    I’ve honestly been thinking about wearing cornrow un-ironically for sooooooo long now. Especially now when the humidity and the frizz are so real.

  • Haley Rosnthal

    I’ve honestly been thinking about wearing cornrows un-ironically for sooooooo long now. Especially now when the humidity and the frizz are so real.

  • Simone Stewart

    I really love Man Repeller (it’s one of my favorite blogs on
    fashion because I tend to feel it’s down to earth and realistic) but I have to say I dislike the whole “reverse French braids”
    (i.e. cornrows) trend, and claiming they are a recently popularized trend that can keep you cool in the summer. Black women and men have been wearing cornrows for
    generations. I’ve worn them every summer since I was a child because it made swimming and summer activities easier on my hair. It’s just frustrating to see something people have doing for hundreds of years “discovered” because it’s a part of popular fashion now, due to often predominantly white
    groups. Ethnic people don’t need “slightly dirty hair” as the article claims, to get the braids to hold, because our hair for the most part is naturally thick and curly, even “nappy” if you will. What is even more upsetting is that to this day our natural hair and styles is deemed “unattractive” or “unprofessional” according to Western beauty standards, but it’s suddenly a fashion statement when others do it. Imagine how that must feel to see a part of what you do and have been doing for
    years, a part ingrained into your childhood, become a trend and deemed acceptable only when it’s done by another group. So could we at least include some people of color in the slide show and even pretend like Simone Rocha isn’t
    the reason cornrows are popular? I’d be satisfied if the article even acknowledged where the style originated and give credit where credit is due. This trend in fashion of attempting to popularize things ethnic people have been doing for a long time in white social circles is insulting, aggravating, and frankly it needs to end. And I had such high hopes after reading the recent round table article on hair featuring Jessica Dickerson because the all the commentary was so great. Just something I hope MR keeps in mind.

    xoxo – Simone