Crop Circles: A Braided Up-Style

Braided hair in an updo
Photo: Shutterstock
Instructions for an Up-Style with Braids
In our continuing exploration of different looks that can be created for up-styles with long hair, the idea of using braids comes to mind. Using braids in up-styles is not unheard of. As a matter of fact, it's a common practice. However, in most cases, braids in up-style designs are usually done as accents or as foundations upon which the main design is anchored. But we wondered if we could design an attractive updo using only braiding techniques. Here's what we've done:
Tools You Will Need
1. Snag-safe elastic bands
2. An assortment of large and small bobby pins
Creating the Style
We started with unwashed hair and brushed it until it was smooth and tangle free. We also used an anti-frizz serum, which was applied to the palm of one hand and distributed evenly over both palms and on the fingers by rubbing the hands together.
We then smoothed the serum onto the hair, and finger-combed it to spread the serum from the scalp to the ends of the hair. Because we had so much hair to work with, we had to repeat this step several times until all the hair had been smoothed.
Unwashed hair before creating the updo
The design was created to be more free-form and asymmetrical, meaning that we wanted it to have a more organic feel and be adaptable by anyone wishing to attempt the style on their own. So, starting at the center crown area, we separated a segment that was approximately four inches by four inches square. We combed the segment to assure smoothness, and braided it into a standard three-strand braid aligned to the center of the square.
The end of the braid was secured with a snag-proof elastic band. This braid was then formed into a coil, positioned flush against the scalp and secured with large bobby pins. The end of the braid was tucked under the coil out of sight and secured in place with small bobby pins.
We then began working with the remaining hair. A second panel was sectioned at the top of the head, from the top side of the initial square to the forehead, and as wide as the initial square. This panel was also braided in a three-strand braid with the base of the braid centered at the back end of the panel, and the end of the braid was secured with a snag-proof elastic band. This second braid was coiled and pinned in the same manner as the initial braid. At this point, we had two coils positioned one in front of the other just forward of the center crown area of the head.
How to do a crop circles braided updo
Our next section was on the right side, where we sectioned off the area just behind the right ear. Again, we braided this section in a three-strand braid and centered the base of the braid at the back of the section, securing the end with a snag-proof elastic band. Once the braid was finished, we wrapped it around the lower coil in a clockwise direction and tucked the end of the braid under the edge of the lower coil. The braid was secured in place using small bobby pins to anchor it to the coil.
We moved at this point to the left side of the head and created a section by parting the hair in front of the left ear. This section was braided with the base at the rear of the section, secured as done with the previous braids and its braid was wrapped counterclockwise around the upper coil. Its end was tucked beneath the coil, and it was anchored in place using small bobby pins as well.
Our last section was the curved panel of hair starting behind the left ear and curving around along the nape of the neck. This section was braided, not as a three-strand braid, but rather using the French braid technique. The hair was braided keeping the braid centered in the panel, and finished up in the right nape area. The remaining hair was braided in standard three-strand fashion and secured with an elastic band.
Braided up-style with the hair styled in crop circles
The free portion of the braid was positioned vertically, crossing over the right- hand braid, and threaded in an S-shape between the two coils and the end tucked out of sight beneath the upper coil's edge. It was then anchored along its path using large and small bobby pins as appropriate.
To finish the style, we misted it lightly with hairspray and gently patted down any stray hairs. The design was then decorated using costume jewelry faux earl bracelets, which were arranged to look like two rows of pearls. The design would look equally good using jeweled hairpins, or longer strands of beads to accentuate the curves of the coils.
See also:
More hair styling instructions
More about up styles
More about braiding hair