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Braided hairstyles aren't just for taking up time at camp in the summer when you're 12 years old. There are actually a few different playful, stylish braided 'dos that work, even when you're a grown adult. With the right braiding techniques, you will end up with a chic-looking style, and hey, it will make you feel like a kid all over again.
The English braid is the basic braid, the one most gals are used to doing. It's really easy. Start by dividing your hair into three even sections at the back of your head. Cross the left section over the center section so it sits between the middle and right section. Take the right section and cross it over so it's between the left and middle section. Continue weaving this way down the length of your hair, taking time with each weft so the braid looks polished and you don't end up with a bunch of tangles through your plait. Secure the ends with a hair elastic.
For a more intricate, romantic French braid style, you only need to add a few extra steps to the basic braiding method. Start a smaller braid in the center of your hair at the back of your head, not including all the hair as you do with the English braid. Braid down the hair the same way, only you take in bits of hair from each side before crossing it over. Secure the ends of the braid with a ponytail so it stays in place.
The fishtail braid has one of the most interesting, complex looks, but don't worry, it's really easy to do. Pull your hair over one shoulder and separate it into two even sections, one beside the other. Cross a strip of hair about 1/4-inch wide from the outside of one section over to the inside of the other section, and vice versa with the other section. Keep weaving down your hair, using this criss-cross method of plaiting, to create the fishtail effect. Secure the ends of your hair with an elastic.
The braided pullback style is elegant, and isn't braid-overload, so it's perfect if you just want a bit of plaiting. Part your hair down the center, and French braid a section of hair just a couple inches wide, on one side. Start the braid a few inches down the hair, so the braid starts just above your ear. Leave as is, or add a second one on the other side. Smooth a bit of hair pomade over your hairline on each side of your part, to keep any frizzy flyaways from ruining your style.
You can change the position of any of these braids -- braid down one side or at the back of your head, change up your part, or even add a second one and have double the fun. To add a nice decorative touch, slip on a pretty hairband or clip a barrette or two into your hair. In place of a hair elastic, you can wrap a small strip of hair at the ends around and secure with a bobby pin, or just use a bit of hair pomade or wax for a really natural look.