Summer Braid Obsession

When summer emerges from the last cherished days of spring every year, I hear voices telling me to cut all of my hair off. Since moving to a place with high humidity, the voices almost reached the point of chanting “resistance is futile.”

When I mention the struggle, people often say, “Just put it in a ponytail.”

Let’s get something straight, putting my hair in a ponytail is not a cure-all. My hair still whips around annoyingly at the back of my neck, and sticks to my neck like slimy tentacles. Another problem with ponytails is that if I move around too much, they inevitably loosen or fall out because my hair is too heavy (No, it doesn’t matter how tight I make it).

So put it in a bun, or something, you might be thinking. Well, it’s a nice thought, but my hair has faced a new and formidable enemy in Maryland: humidity. The wet air makes every short strand slither out from my hairline, making me look like…you guessed it, Medusa.

Anyway, for those who have thin hair, perpetual ponytails might be acceptable. For people with thick hair, however, it can be unbearable. So to avoid head and scalp aches this summer, other hair containment ideas were in order.

To keep myself from chopping off my soon-to-be-flowing locks, I experimented with different types of braids. I thought I’d share some of the many braids I attempted.

I apologize for the terrible quality of some of these photos. Most days I only had my phone with me to take pictures.

This is a braided headband look. Just start a french braid from the side of your head. Add chunks of hair like you would for a french braid, but do so from the front only.

Once you get to the back of your head, braid all of your hair into a regular braid and twist it into a bun.

For a braid like the one below, start the braid like you would a normal french braid, but pull small chunks of hair from around your hairline (rather than bringing in chunks that span from the front to the back of your head).

Below is a variation with the end of the braid tucked and pinned behind the top of the braid.

This is another headband braid, ending in a braided bun. This was probably the best one I’ve done so far. Too bad I was lazy and in a hurry, and neglected to take a better picture.

This is a french braid that I attempted to snake side-to-side, and ended in a messy twist.

For this headband braid, there are braids coming from each side.

This was two messy french braids, with the ends pulled up and pinned into a headband shape at the front.

The scarf is to keep all the “flyaways” under control. I had slept on the braids, and it was an especially humid day.

I really love the look of inside out french braids.

I think they’re called dutch braids. They’re just like a french braid, except you braid the hair under instead of over.

Now that I’ve made it through the summer, I can enjoy my long hair during the fall and winter. Since braiding is a lot easier for me now, I’ll likely incorporate some braids into  half-up, half-down looks as well.

I think this is the first summer since high school that I have successfully combated the summer chop compulsion. Has anyone else struggled to fight off the irresistible summer chop when trying to grow their hair out? Do you have any favorite braided hairstyles?

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10 Responses to Summer Braid Obsession

  1. Marie says:

    Oooooh, I love all your braided hairstyles so much! Braids are my absolute favourite, but I can’t for the life of me do them…so I have to admire them from afar!

  2. Kelly V says:

    Beautiful solution! You did a great job on ALL of the braids – even the messy ones! How nice to have long hair to braid. Mine would never get much past my shoulders before breaking off, so I just keep it short! Enjoy your flowing locks of blonde curls this next season <3

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! There are ways to braid short hair too. It’s much more challenging though. I’ll definitely enjoy the warmth of long hair as the weather gets colder in Maryland.

  3. Sarah Lewis says:

    The last time I had braids I was ten years old. I’ll have to email you a picture. The pigtails (as we called them) looked a lot like that last picture you posted. My mother or Anne had to braid my hair every day before school. On Sunday morning the braids came loose and I had wavy hair for church! I can’t imagine how you braid your own hair! Are you sure you didn’t teach Alex how to do this? lol Amazing job. (you might note that this is a different email….delete lewislean2 and use this one – it’s my personal email).

    • Becca says:

      How cute! I’d love to see a picture. 🙂 It just takes practice to get to the point where you can braid your own hair. Alex would never have the patience to braid hair. Ha!

  4. Angie says:

    I don’t know what it is about braids, but i’ve seen alot of them recently. HAve never been able to braid my own hair, but after seeing yours, and having found this website the other day, i may have to schedule a weekend to sit down and do it.

    http://rapunzelsresource.wordpress.com/

    She hasn’t posted in like a year or so, but her hair is fabulously colored, fabulously long, and fabulously braided.

    • Becca says:

      It does seem like braids are much more en vogue than they’ve been in a while. You should definitely set aside some time to experiment and have some fun.

      Wow, that gal has some pretty awesome styles posted. I’ll have to bookmark it for later. Thanks!

  5. Just found your blog through Burda Style and I love it! I’m you newest follower!

    I love all your braid styles here! You sound just like I did in my early 20’s. I could never keep my hair long because it was always in my face. It is not too, I just never get it chopped off. I’ve been putting it in a bun or french braid alot in the summer. I would love to master the ring of braids that you have done here or the dutch braids too. So far all attempts have ended in frustration.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! I’m getting the urge to chop it again now that the weather’s been warming up. Thanks for reminding me about this post. I need to start working on some of these styles again. It can be frustrating trying to learn different types of braid styles. I found that I just had to practice a lot and be OK with imperfect styles, at first. I also had to build up my arm stamina. 🙂 Seriously though, you kinda have to condition your arms for keeping them up so long. My arms would get too tired for some of the more elaborate styles until I built up endurance. Last year, I used to have a hand mirror near me and practice braiding while watching TV at night. Haha! As cliche as it is, “practice makes perfect” is often true. Well, maybe not perfect but you’ll always get better.

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