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Braids, Buns and More

If you have long hair and want to change up your hairstyle, braids and buns can be the way to go. There are many different types of braids and buns, each with its own unique vibe. They can be fun or glamorous, youthful or serious. They can add to the allure of your natural outdoorsy look or enhance your no-nonsense office attire.

To do braids and buns, you'll need a good comb and hairbrush, hair securing items like elastics or clips (which kind will depend on the particular hairstyle as well as personal preference) and some hair products like gel or spray.

Many hairstylists say braids and buns hold best if you don't wash your hair that day. Next-day hair has more natural oils, which makes it easier to work with. Knots can be a drag when creating braided or bun hairstyles, so be sure that all knots are carefully combed out. The hair to be styled can be slightly damp.

Most of the following braid and bun styles are from the perspective of someone creating the style on someone else. While experienced hair stylists might be able to create these looks on their own hair, beginners may find these to be a bit of a challenge. You would need multi-way mirrors, a perfect sense of direction, tireless arms, and endless patience. Enlisting the help of a friend will make achieving these looks much easier, plus it can be a bonding experience.

Basic French Braid (adapted from an article by Adrienne Warber at eHow.com)

1. Identify a section of hair on the top of the person's head, above the ears. This should have enough hair to create the base of the French braid.

2. Divide the section into 3 equal parts. Be sure the hair is lying smoothly against the head to prevent any bumps or random hairs "poking out."

3.Braid the segments in a 3-strand pattern by putting the left hair over the middle hair then the right hair over the left-most segment. Loop the middle segment around the right segment. You'll want to keep the braid centered on the back of the head. Do this a total of 3 times.

4.Take a segment of hair from the left side and add it into the original left segment of the braid. To avoid a messy flyaway look, try and keep hair smooth throughout this process. Place the left segment over the middle one and then weave a length of hair from the right side into the right segment. Braid the right section over the left one. Now include hair from the left side into the middle section and loop the middle section over the right section. Repeat the pattern until the braid is done. It should reach the nape of the neck

5. Repeat step 4 on the remaining length of hair. Hold the braid in place with a hair elastic. Apply some gel for a smooth appearance.
Braided Bun (adapted from ehow.com)

This pretty braid-bun combo will make you look and feel like a princess

1. To begin, create a basic ponytail. If you want a two-bun look, you can achieve it by starting with pigtails held securely with hair elastics.

2. Split the ponytail into two equal chunks.

3. Braid half the ponytail. It's best to braid as close to the ends as possible, but you can stop sooner if the hair is thin. Use an elastic band and a small amount of hair spray to hold in place. If you're using hairspray to secure the braid, you might want to let it dry, either by holding it for a minute or giving it a quick dry with a hairdryer on the low setting.

4. You can now repeat step 3 on the other section of hair. The two-braid method makes for a neater bun with no unsightly stray loops of hair. If you prefer to use 1 braid per ponytail, you can use bobby pins to help the bun hold its shape

5. Finally, you can wrap the braids around the ponytail, at the base. You can wrap one braid in one direction, then the other braid around that one. Tuck the braids underneath the previous wraps. You don't always need bobby pins to secure the hairstyle, but if the style is for a wedding, prom or other special event, you'll want ensure that the style holds. You can also add some glitter spray for extra glamour.
French Twist (adapted from videojug.com)

This is a classy look that can be worn at the office or to a wedding.

1. Brush your hair so it's all to one side of the head. Hold in place at the back with clips.

2. Apply hairspray to all the hair.

3. Using your thumb, twist the hair into a cone shape, holding it secure with your other fingers.

4. Use pins to slide in and around the twist, so they point in towards the middle, to anchor the "do in place.

5. Use a bristle brush to neaten the style and use hairspray to hold the look together.

Upside Down Bun (adapted from wikihow.com)

This is one you CAN do yourself, even if you're not a styling expert. It's not a formal look, but it's fine for hot, humid days or evenings out with the girls.

1. This style starts with a simple upside down ponytail. To do this, create a basic ponytail (preferably one that sits low) then separate two chunks of hair above the elastic. Pull the ponytail through the gap. For quick and easy tying, keep a hair elastic on your wrist so it's there when you need it.
2. Gently pull the end of your ponytail up toward the ceiling.

3. Begin coiling the hair around one of your fingers

4. Gently pull the twist straight down, then, winding it around the base of the ponytail, pull to the left, and upwards. Continue until bun is coiled tightly.

5. Securely hold the bun in your dominant hand and with your other hand, take the hair elastic from your wrist and wrap securely around base of the bun.