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1. The parted braid hairstyle
What it is: First noticed on the runway at Carven Spring 2014, this style involves a skinny braid tied directly along the part in your hair. It’s also slated to become one of the top braided hairstyles of the year.
Hairstyle ideas: The parted braid is right on trend, easy to create and office appropriate for casual Friday when you want to amp up your look.
Try it now: "French braid a small section of hair along your natural part, beginning at the crown and working back,” says Wood. “Braid to ends and secure, allowing tail to blend with the rest of your hair.” The result is a cool, structured braid that will turn heads at your cubicle.
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2. The braided faux bob
What it is: A French braid mixed with a faux bob hairstyle for a twist on two chic looks—one of only a few braided hairstyles that work for medium-length hair or a fringe.
Hairstyle ideas: Wear it to the theatre for a sophisticated look that keeps hair out of your face in a contemporary fashion.
Try it now: "To create, loosely French braid the hair and secure. Pull the braid apart, fold the tail under and pin. Use hands to tug a few soft pieces out around the face and shape into a faux bob," describes Wood.
Try three more new braided hairstyles on the next page... 3. The basket weave side braid
What it is: Three individual twists are intertwined to create one unique side swept braid. "This look is great for anyone that loves the side braid trend and wants to keep their hair contained under winter’s bulky layers," says Wood.
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Hairstyle ideas: Perfect for date night or your best friend’s wedding—it’s formal and inventive but won’t outshine the bride.
Try it now: "Collect all hair off to one side, hold with an elastic and separate into three equal sections. Loosely braid each section individually. Then, braid all three parts together to create a textured, basket weave look,” adds Wood.
4. The braided half up/half down crown
What it is: An update to the popular crown braid, this half up/half down do is an unexpected spin on long hair and is less complicated than a complete halo braid.
Hairstyle ideas: This braid style combines the best of both worlds for those wanting to wear a crown braid and still have their hair down. This is an excellent look for a sporting event—not OTT but still posh for a casual activity.
Try it now: "Gather and loosely braid two small sections of hair on either side of the head along the hairline and at the temples,” says Wood. “Wrap braids and pin around your head in the shape of a crown.” Simple!
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5. The braided ear warmer
What it is: This is not a von Trapp braid from The Sound of Music. According to Wood, a braided ear warmer is a modern take on the classic headband of braids—think Rebecca Minkoff and Kenneth Cole’s Spring 2014 look.
Hairstyle ideas: "This is one of those braided hairstyles that is great for anyone with longer hair. Your ears are only half exposed. Plus, it looks amazing with statement earrings," says Wood. Bring it to a formal dinner for the prettiest hairstyle at the table.
Try it now: "Split hair into two pigtail sections and loosely braid. Crisscross and wrap braids up and around in a headband style and pin in place, securing the braids over the top part of the ears so just the lobes are visible," says Wood.
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