I don't know about you, but my go-to braid is easy and breezy. It's typically mussy, swept off to the side, with a few errant hairs hanging around my face. It's a style you throw your mane into when it's hot or you simply can't decide what to do with. But according to the Spring/Summer 2020 runways in New York, it's time you throw out everything you think you know about tousled, haphazard plaits, as there's a new braid trend in town — and it's as sleek as they come.
Say hello to the whip braid — a tight, gelled-down plait that looks more dominatrix than day-at-the-beach. And you can wear the style as a single braid or the inside-out Dutch variety. Both were spotted backstage at the shows (and the runways).
At Self-Portrait, lead hairstylist Jimmy Paul, working with Bumble and Bumble, created a low plait that was inspired by the signer Sade. To start, he layered on Bumble and Bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, followed by the Prep Primer, and then the brand's All-Style Blow Dry to finish. "The goal was to get the hair small and shiny," Paul said. After those three products, Paul used a handful of Bumble and Bumble's Bb.Gel for the extra-slick look. He pulled hair into a low ponytail with no part, and then got to braiding. To give the style some extra polish, he wrapped the elastic with a piece of hair.
Braids were equally polished backstage at Bevza. Oribe lead hairstylist Kien Hoang wanted the hair to have a shiny, satin-like finish to reflect the clothes in the collection. He opted for a cocktail of Oribe's Curl Gelée and the brand's Free Styler Working Hairspray to get the desired sheen. Similar to (but slightly different from) Self-Portrait, the hair was parted down the middle, tied into a tight ponytail, and then braided — and there wasn't a loose hair or sprout of frizz in sight.
At Ulla Johnson, Aveda lead stylist Bob Recine wanted a style with that out-of-the-shower edge. But don't think this is your new wash-and-go look. "We actually apply Aveda's mousse to dry hair," he said. "That's the secret." This technique gives you shine without flakiness — a must-have when it comes to your whip braids. Recine then changed things up, plaiting some models with single braids, while others got an inside-out, Dutch plait. "It's girly while still being sophisticated," Recine said.
But the ultimate in sophistication came at the Christian Siriano presentation, where Odile Gilbert, working with TRESemmé, created a higher version of the rope braids described above. She worked the brand's Tres Two Extra Hold Mousse into the roots of the hair before blow drying the models' manes upside down for volume. A spritz of TRESemmé's Compressed Micro Mist Hair Spray Level 1: Texture gave the plaits major shine.
Ideally, these whip braids are actually the perfect hairstyle for the next spring and summer seasons. Because of all the smoothing product, any frizz or strays that might spring up in the humidity are rendered obsolete, and the style keeps the hair off your neck. That said, why wait for the summer months to roll around again for a test drive? A sleek braid could be a great alternative up-do for the upcoming holiday season (not to mention the rainy weather that will surely be here before you know it). Try the look this fall and pair it with your chicest party ensemble come winter. Practice makes perfect right?