There’s very little about my personal style that can’t be explained by my love for hair. I base my outfits around what hairstyle I’m going to wear. I plan formal events long in advance by the up-do I will attempt. Hair’s an important thing.
However, the general public tends to get intimidated by fancy hair styles. My victory curl gets commented on at least twice weekly with an awe-struck “how do you do that?” Often, people are more surprised that it only takes a few seconds.
The beauty of a hairstyle is that it can often make you look much more put-together than you are. If you’re running out the door to go to the Pub for that awful cup of coffee before your first 9 AM class on Monday and leave your hair down, you risk looking like you just rolled out of bed. If you do all of that while simultaneously tying your hair into a quick bun, it at least looks like you put effort into what you’re doing.
What I’ll be showing you how to do requires a bit more time than a simple bun, and a little bit of skill. Practice makes perfect, however, and this hair style can be moulded to fit an everyday look or a formal event. It’s a good technique to have in your repertoire. Without further ado, the French Twist!
Step one: Start out with a neat, brushed head of hair. It doesn’t need to be damp. Make sure that it’s as smooth as you can get it—you might want to apply some gel now to smooth down rebellious pieces of hair. If you want this style to be more formal, now’s the time to curl the ends of your hair.
Step two: Gather the hair where you normally would for a ponytail. This is where you’re going to loop your hair back to.
Step three: Now for the ‘weird’ or ‘tricky’ part. You’re basically going to fold your hair over and around your finger or a rounded part of a hair brush—whichever works for you. You want to make a curl with your hair, but you don’t want to gather the ends into the curl. (You’re not rolling up your entire ponytail, basically.)
A typical French braid ends up running vertical (from the top of your head to the nape of your neck, and it DOES include all of your hair), but the style we’re going for here is running horizontal (across the nape of your neck). You’ll see why in a minute.
This is what it should look like:
Step four: Go crazy with the bobby pins. Pin it to place like you never want to see it move again. If you want to apply hair spray at this point for moral support, go for it. The look you’re going for is that you’ve basically folded the hair in on itself, like the inside is hollow. You’ve created a ‘tube’ with your hair. It’s okay if it doesn’t end up perfect. (This one obviously didn’t.)
If you want to leave the rest of your hair down, you can take the ends that didn’t get pinned into place and sweep it onto one shoulder (as the lovely model, Alice, did in the left picture). This is especially good for longer hair, as it gives the back of the head a nice, eloquent look while allowing some hair to frame the face. However, if you want a complete up-do, there’s still a few steps left.
Step five: Gather the end of the hair that’s still left over. Divide it into a bunch of sections.
Step six: Go crazy again! I took the different sections and did different things—I twisted a few of them into place, I draped a few over, I curled one. You could even braid the whole thing and wrap it around the twist, if your hair is long enough. This isn’t a complicated process—you just want the hair to stay up, and any way you can find to do that will work. This can be as messy or as elegant as you like it.
And that’s it! French twists are harder vertically, so this version of the twist is a lot better for an everyday look.
Here’s to twisting and shouting,
Image Credit: Cecily Lane, model- Alice Bishop