There’s no denying it; braids are everywhere. And even though they are tough to learn and even tougher master, braids have been around for centuries, so there are a ton of techniques, tips, and tricks out there that can help you achieve the look you’re after.
Your best bet? Turn to an expert who has honed their craft and is killing the game. Don’t know any? No problem, our Editorial Director Justine Marjan (a braid expert in her own right), caught up with Jamaican-born celebrity and editorial stylist Lacy Redway, who started out working as an apprentice at an African-American hair braiding salon in New Jersey at age 14, to get the detailed down-low on how to achieve out of this world braids.
Justine: What kind of hair do you use to braid or as an add in?
Lacy: It really depends on your hair texture and the final look your going for.
Human hair, which is the most expensive of the bulk/braiding hair options, is typically used for individual braids. Synthetic and/or Kanekalon hair are typically used for cornrow style braids or again, individual braids. Pony Hair is different because it has a shinier finish and can get curly at bottom. Depending on the look I’m going for, I like to use a combination of Human Hair and Marley Hair. Marley Hair creates a more natural look for 4a-4c hair types. I may add Human Hair towards the end of the braids to create a wavy or curly finish.
Justine: How do you get the right amount tension?
Lacy: Practice makes perfect when it comes to tension. For me, when working with silkier hair types, I try to create a a little grip to the hair by adding product. I love BedHead Super Star Queen For A Day because it creates a texture that makes the hair easier to grab. Hairspray, and a water spray bottle are also great tools to have to help grip silkier textures and get the tension you need.
For textured and curly hair, it’s sometimes easier to braid with a smoother finish and create tension instead by stretching the curls. You can create tension with your hands while using the heat of the blow dryer (on the lowest setting!). I like to use my R-Session Pro Tools 2200 Watt Tourmaline Ionic Dryer.
PRO TIP FROM LACY – For better grip, try to avoid oils in silkier hair types until the end. If your a beginner at braiding I recommend only using oils and creams towards the end on any hair type so that your hands are not slippery while you are braiding.
Justine: How do you control edges and how do you finish the look off so the braids will last?
Lacy: For fly-aways I like to use a strong hold hairspray, like Redken’s Forceful 23, on a makeup brush. I use a Sigma F10 Small Contour Brush. On textured hair, I use an edge cream like Carol’s Daugher Black Vanilla Edge Control Pomade to slick down the baby hairs around the hairline. For any other hair type, I use an old tooth brush or Ibiza Clutch Brush to smooth down the hairline. Once you have completed the style, I recommend you spray hairspray all over the braid style and use a hair scarf to tame any remaining fly-aways.
Got any other Q’s about braids?! Leave them in the comments below for an answer!
SHOP THIS STORY