Braid to Order

Want to introduce your clients to one of the hottest looks of the summer? Then bring on the braids. From fishtails to tousled plaits, the style has been dominating runways and fashion magazines and is a great look you can provide at your spa to keep your clients looking and feeling cool. “Braids are easy to wear and keep hair off the back, which is essential on hot, humid days,” says Kayley Pak, a stylist at The John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman (New York City), which recently debuted Barrett’s Braids, a braid bar where clients can choose from a variety of braided styles as created by one of the salon experts.

Creating a braid bar within your spa is a great way to capitalize on this trend. At Barrett’s Braids, clients can select modern, classic, or beachy looks from a variety of available styles or customize their own looks. Braids alone are offered for $50; adding in a shampoo ups the price to $70; while those who want a shampoo, blow dry, and braid are charged $125 and up. Nine Zero One Salon (West Hollywood, CA) also offers a Braid Bar, with braids for only $25; a shampoo and braid for $40; and a shampoo, blowdry, and braid for $100.

Josué Perez, a celebrity stylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda (New York City), suggests hosting a braid training event to entice clients. “Teaching someone to braid hair is really equipping them with a social tool that not only allows for artistic expression but also creates social interactions,” he says. “My idea would be to create an event that invites women to come with a friend. Under the supervision and guidance of a professional stylist, these women would be taught the art and craft of a few braid styles. The event would be very interactive and fun, emphasizing social bonding.”

Whether you create an in-house braid bar or simply host an event, stylist training and practice are important before you roll out the concept, according to Pak. “Braids can be  challenging,” she says. “The key here is patience and practice. Like most skills, after a few tries you get it.” Allen Ruiz, Aveda’s style director for the global artistic team, agrees, advising stylists to take advantage of YouTube and the multiple braid demos that are available there. Nine Zero One’s Braid Bar even hosts classes for stylists to get certified, and the team will travel for certification, as well. “Once they’ve all learned the basics of braiding, it’s actually easy, because each stylist then adds her own personal twist and style,” says stylist Tauni Dawson.

Selecting the proper products and tools is also important. Claudio Lazo, celebrity hairdresser and owner of C The Salon (Studio City CA), says products that provide grip, such as soft pomades, texture creams, and light hair sprays, are ideal. His favorites include Rugged Fix by Wella and Ocean Spritz by Wella. Dawson’s favorite texture makers are Unite’s Expanda Dust and Beach Day. Ruiz says products like Aveda Air Control Hairspray, Aveda Control Paste, and Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion are ideal, while Pak favors Shu Uemura’s Shape Paste. In addition, Perez says that pre-straightened hair is easier to braid and finds Rowenta’s Straight Express flat iron to be the most effective tool.

This summer is the perfect time to bring braids to your spa. “Braids are romantic, curvy, and represent sex appeal,” says Lazo. And that’s something that will never go out of style.

Experts explain how to create these stylish looks


1. Fishtail Braid

  • Brush hair, and apply Shu Uemura’s Shape Paste from midsection of head to ends for added texture (texture also gives better grip and makes hair easier to handle).
  • Gather hair to one side, then divide into two sections.
  • Hold right side of hair with right hand, use right index finger to subsection.
  • Take outer subsection, cross over to opposite side until braid is complete.
  • Secure with clear elastic.
  • Spritz with Shu Uemura’s Sheer Lacquer hairspray for added hold.
  • Messy braids are romantic and effortlessly elegant; slightly fan and pull pieces from the braid for a more relaxed, bohemian feel.

—Kayley Pak, The John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman


2. Interlacing Fishtail Braids

  • Spray Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep throughout hair and blow dry straight.
  • Create a section at the top of the head by parting hair along the parietal ridge on both sides and securing at the top of the head with a clip.
  • Spray hair that is down on each side of the head liberally with Aveda Control Force Firm Hold Hair Spray to coat, focusing from root to mid-length.
  • Brush coated hair back and against the head for sleek sides.
  • Pulling those sides back,  divide the hair at the back of the head into two sections, and braid into two loose fishtails. Back-comb the end of each braid to secure.
  • Release the clip at the top of the head and coat with Aveda Control Force, brushing hair toward the back of the head.
  • Gently massage fishtails to loosen and create texture.
  • Loosely braid the two fishtails and slicked back ends from the top of the head together and secure with a clear elastic band, bringing the end of the braid to a point. 
  • Pin the top of the braid to the neck to secure.
  • Spray Aveda Brilliant Spray-On Shine over the slicked-back top section, and smooth back with a kabuki brush to create a glossy finish.

— Antoinette Beenders, global creative director, Aveda, created for the Kimberly Ovitz Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show


3. Classic With a Twist

  • Start off with a simple ponytail.
  • Create multiple individual braids (from two to four and more) within the ponytail.
  • Interweave these braids to create texture. 
  • Tousle the braids to provide a chic bohemian look that can easily take clients from day to night. 

—Claudio Lazo,   owner, C The Salon