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Whether you want a sexy, casual look for an afternoon at the park with someone special, a dressed-up 'do for a night out, or a polished and professional style appropriate for the office, braids and twists work for medium to long Caucasian hair. Once you master a few basic skills, you can vary the texture of your hair, how tightly you twist or braid, and the position of braids and twists to create a new style for every day of the week.
French and Dutch Braids
French braids start with three strands of hair. Grasp the three strands, bringing the outer strand over the center on each side. Once the braid is established, add hair from one or both sides. Turn your french braid inside out to add punch and texture to your style. To Dutch braid your hair, bring outside sections of the braid under the center, adding hair as you progress down the braid. Create a neat hairline braid perfect for growing out bangs by pulling hair from the hairline or a low, dramatic braid by adding hair from the crown and back of the head, rather than the front. Skip the single 1980s-style braid down the center of your head in favor of a French braid along the hairline; a soft, loose braid wrapping horizontally around your head; or two braids running down the sides and meeting in a pretty ponytail or bun.
While most braids use three or more sections of hair, fishtail braids, sometimes called herringbone braids, use only two. Fishtail braids work on curly, wavy or straight hair. Divide part or all of your locks into two sections. Pull small sections of hair from the outside of each section over and merge them into the opposite section. Continue moving pieces of hair from one section to the other, alternating sides, until you reach the end of your braid. Try a fishtail braid over one shoulder or down your back, or form a tiny braid to secure strands near your face.
Halo or milkmaid braids work best on locks well below shoulder length. This pretty and practical up-do works as well at a party as it does on the playground. Apply a dry shampoo or a bit of texturizing wax into your hair for better hold, especially if you have fine or slippery locks. Braid hair into two pigtails, right around ear level. Place your braids just above your ears for shorter tresses or just behind them if your hair is longer. Bring the braids up and over, pinning them into place. Tuck the ends of your hair under the braids and go. You'll find this style holds up for hours without budging and hides the evidence of a skipped shower or a hard workout at the gym. Finish with a light spritz of hairspray.
You can create simple twists with a single section of hair, twist together two sections, or add hair to a twist, section-by-section, for an elegant up-do. Twist one section of hair from each side of your face back and pin them behind your head, or separate your bangs into two tiny sections and twist together, adding hair from the hairline, then pinning the twist into place under the side of your hair. Go formal by adding large sections of hair to the twist, working from your part to the back of your head on each side. Twist and pin the remaining hair into a bun.