As we move into S/S 12 one look that has been very prevalent on the catwalks recently at Valentino and at McQueen is the plait, or braid.  These styles have a wonderful femininity to them, and are perfect for ‘dirty’ hair days.  Initially, you may find some of these styles are hard to achieve at first, and your arms will tire, but persevere and you should get some great summer looks out of this trend.

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Basic small plaits – Heidi style

Seen at McQueen these are the simplest plaits to begin with; start with your hair unwashed (this works best on hair that was washed the previous day).  The look seen here is quite high fashion, so instead try this slightly softer version; just experiment with just two to three small plaits running from behind each of your ears, accross, your head then pinning into place. The basic braid  you’ll need to do consists of 3 sections of hair of the same size (small pieces in this case) woven together right into middle, left into middle and so on, when you get to the end secure it with a clear hair band, and pin into place.  Do this a few times until you get a ‘headband’ of your plaits – leave the rest of your hair down and tousled for a pretty daytime look.  Finish the look with our Nicky Clarke Hold and Shine Ultimate Hairspray.

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Messy Herringbone Plait

The fishtail or Herringbone (left)is a more intricate plait that is excellent for off duty hair.  Divide your hair into two equal sections and begin plaiting. First take a thin strand from the right section, cross it over itself and join it with the left section. Do the same thing with the left section and continue the process until you finish braiding and secure your hair with a band.  Best worn messy, do this plait for laid back evenings – take a little of our Nicky Clarke Tease me powder and run your fingers over the plait afterwards pulling it slightly to give it a modern matt textured finish.

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Classic French Braid

As you become more confident with experimenting with plaiting, you can move on to french braids which have a lovely vintage feel to them.  (pictured here is an intricate assymentrical french plait but we are just working with a basic symmetrical french plait to start) The easiest way to start with french braids, is to work initially with wet hair – wash using Nicky Clarke Volume Shampoo and Nicky Clarke Volume Conditioner, and towel dry.  Begin by taking a triangle section from forehead to crown and split into 3 sections.  As you begin to plait and bring each outer section to the middle add a paralel section from the scalp into the section – it should begin to take shape quickly.  Repeat this all the way down to the nape, and then from there simply finish in a basic plait and tie with a clear band.  Remember to try and keep the same amount of tension throughout – but don’t worry about it being too ‘perfect’.

For the first day, you can wear the braid, then on the second day take it out and you will be left with a lovely tousled finish – use some Nicky Clarke Tease Me instant backcombing powder at the roots and use your fingers to volumise for a perfect summer’s day wave without any heat styling.