Posts Tagged ‘hair’


the beauty dept photogenic braid


PIC OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. In this wild world of social media, braids have become a serious must on every fashion and beauty instagram, facebook, pinterest and twitter feed. If you don’t have photos of braids + flowers, you’re probably missing out on a whole lot of follwers and likes. While I can’t help you in the floral department, I can definitely help you in the braid department! Here are some of my favorite ways to prep and style a braid for a great photo.

photographing braids the beauty dept

  • For this particular post + tutorial, forget about the classic french braid (as seen above) for photos. Yes, it’s gorgeous, we know that, but most of it’s texture potential is hidden on the inside. The bulk of your braid gets tucked in when you do a regular french braid, so stick to inverted French braids (aka: Dutch braids) when it comes to photos because inverted braids put the bulk of the braid on the outside where you can see it (see next photo).

a more photogenic braid the beauty department

  •  See the difference? The thickest parts of the braid lay on top of the hair instead of being tucked inside. If you prefer the classic version, knock yourself out! I don’t discourage that! The only downside is that it can’t get as “fat” as an inverted braid, and bigger badder braids for photos is what this post is all about!
  • To get a great braid, wash your hair with something that will give it a little texture. I like THIS SHAMPOO and THIS CONDITIONER for building a good braid foundation! Sometimes when I used those, I don’t even need to add much product!
  • If you don’t want to change shampoos, then prep the hair with a product like this LIGHT HOLDING MOUSSE or a light OCEAN SPRAY before blow drying or air drying. You never want to prep with something too sticky or it will be very hard to braid.

phtogenic braid the beauty department

  • Everyone must learn how to “pancake” or gently pull a braid apart. This will help fatten it up. When you do this on an inside-out-braid/inverted braid, the fullness you can achieve is amazing. I like to take each loop, one by one, tugging first from the inside and moving to the outside of the loop.
  • Always have plenty of TEXTURE POWDER on hand. Sprinkle a little on top of the braid before you pull it apart. I’ve talked about this in nearly every braid tutorial I’ve ever done. It’s my favorite. The powder has a lot of grit to it and really helps to keep that braid from falling apart when you’re tugging at it. It also helps anyone with lots of layers because if there’s texture powder on the pieces that go rogue, you can just tuck them right back in and they pretty much stay put.

photogenic braids the beauty department

  • Don’t be afraid to pull the braid out to the max! If a couple little pieces fall out of the braid, let them or tuck them back into the braid! Messy braids are awesome!
  • Always have THIS TEXTURE TOOL to get that extra texture-y glow. You may remember it from THIS POST! If not, you must read up!

braid placement for photos the beauty department

  •  Another thing you should always remember is that placement is important! Look at this before and after example. The braid up top is the same as the braid on the bottom, the one on the bottom just runs closer to the ear and the hairline. If you’re trying to get a good photo of a braid without turning full profile, braid a little closer to the front or the hairline. Otherwise, the braid seems to kind of disappear. If you’re photographing a braid from the back, then focus the majority of it back there.

beauty social media tips the beauty dept

  • The fact of the matter is that braids just photograph better on dark hair with highlights or lighter hair with hightlights because you see more depth. Am I saying braids are not gorgeous on darker hair? Not at all. In person I think braids on darker hair colors are classic and beautiful and chic, but sadly we all know that texture-wise, they just don’t read as well in a photograph. You tend to lose the look in a photo because you don’t see all the twists and turns and dimensions of a textured braid as well on solid or darker hair colors unless you find some epic lighting. I’m not telling you that you should run out and color your hair, I’m just saying adding in a couple lighter extension pieces temporarily like we did back in THIS POST (braids for brunettes + redheads). It can help you get a stronger braid photo for your beauty blog or social media feed!
  • Lighting is important as well. A skylight or natural lighting is your best friend when snapping a braid photo. You always want to see the curves and texture clearly when you photograph a braid so the more light, the better. Taking photos of your braids in the bathroom at night just doesn’t quite cut it anymore! Photo quality is important so shoot during the day and make sure your background doesn’t distract or take away from the braid. Solid backgrounds are always a good idea.
  • Have fun with it! After you get the photo you want, add a funny accessory or pull the braid apart to the point where it’s disheveled! Sometimes those are the photos I end up using and liking the most!


the beauty dept carols daughter monoi triple bun

A couple weeks ago we had the honor of premiering  Carol’s Daughter’s newest video tutorial Five Days, Five Styles, One Hairspray!  Today we’ve created two printable step-by-step tutorials showing how to use their new Monoi Repair Flexible Hold Hair Spray on both straight and curly hair types! Why? Because we know a lot of you have made up your minds that all hairsprays are stiff and all oils are greasy. ‘Tis not the case here! Carol’s Daughter has developed a hair spray that sets the style while allowing it to have movement because it’s formulated with a pinch of Monoi Oil — just enough to keep the style soft and brushable but not too much that it becomes oily. You literally can spray a look and wear it, then brush through it, re-style it, spray it again, wear it, then brush through it again. As many times as you like! It’s buildable, brushable and invisible, making it a genius in a bottle! Here’s the half up look we created with it on both curly and straight hair…


carols daughter monoi repair hairpspray x the beauty department triple bun

  1. Start with clean dry hair.
  2. Normally, as you know, we’re not huge fans of spraying the hair with a hairspray before using a wand, but after using Monoi Repair Hairspray on multiple occasions, the hair still feels very soft and healthy when combined with a heat tool. So spritz each section lightly before twirling it around the wand.
  3. Wrap sections in different directions to get a messier look or all in the same direction to get a more patterned look.
  4. Using a small section of hair (about temple to temple) create a small bun on top of your head. Secure with a strong holding bobby pin and a light veil of Monoi Repair Hairspray.
  5. It’s optional to tease the crown area. Here we felt the crown needed a little extra so we backcombed gently to get a little more volume.
  6. Create the second bun. Leave a little hair out around the hairline (about 1″ because we’re going to use that later.
  7. Create the third and final bun, leaving a little hair out around the hairline. (PS: You could keep going with this all the way down for a gorgeous undo but we stopped here because we’re very into half ups right now.)
  8. Use the small sections of hair that you left out around the hairline to create a little separation between the buns. Take a piece and run it in between the bun and wrap it into the bun.
  9. Secure it with a bobby pin. TIP: if your bobby pins tend to slip out, spray a little bit of the Monoi Repair Hairspray on your pin before inserting into the hair! It helps.
  10. Check the back for balance. Lightly pull the buns apart to make them look messier if you love that look. Finish with a final veil of Monoi Repair Hairspray, of course!


carols daughter monoi repair hairspray triple bun tutorial


  1. Sometimes with curly hair, you’ll have a curl or two that have gone rogue. If desired, wrap any untamed pieces around a 5/8″ barrel iron to bring it all together.
  2. Rarely would I use hairspray on curly hair but you can see the shine and health of the hair after applying a light layer of the Monoi Repair Hairspray in this photo.
  3. Grab a section of hair from temple to temple and create a loose bun on top of your head. We’re going to create 3 of these.
  4. On this next bun, grab from just above the ears on each side. Leave a little hair out in front near the hairline, too (about a 1″ section). Unlike the straight hair tutorial, you won’t need to backcomb and really shouldn’t with curly hair. You’ll likely have more than enough volume.
  5. Bring those pieces together in back and wrap them into a bun. Secure with a strong bobby pin.
  6. Create your third and final bun.
  7. Take the pieces you left out in front, twist them back and use them to separate the look of the 3 buns. Weave the pieces in between the buns then wrap into the bun.
  8. Decide if you want to make the buns more messy or leave them as is. If you want to make them messier, gently pull apart and lightly spray Monoi Repair Hairspray as you go.

You can get your hands on one at or exclusively sold at ULTA!

{This tutorial was brought to you with love by our friends at Carol’s Daughter.}


We’re super excited that one of our favorites Carol’s Daughter has expanded their reach into the world of styling! The reason we love Carol’s Daughter so much is because they’ve always been so focused on moisture and repair of the hair, and their new styling products are no exception. We were lucky enough to get the first look at their newest video tutorial starring their brand new Monoi Flexible Hold Hair Spray and because we’re no strangers to step-by-step tutorials, we really love this one because it shows us five styles to create over five days, which is awesome for the girl on the go!

For those of you who haven’t tried this flexible hold spray yet, you’re in for many happy hair days! The hold is buildable, brushable and invisible as opposed to a traditional hair spray that can create stiff, crunchy “helmet” hair. It’s actually meant to be brushed through, so you can change up your hair styles as many times as you need to, as opposed to traditional hair spray that flakes and breaks as you brush and restyle.

This is possible because it has Monoi Oil in it! In the French Polynesian Islands, Tahitian gardenia petals are soaked in coconut oil to create what they call Monoi Oil. It’s incredibly repairing and hydrating, not to mention smells divine, and ingenious to sneak into a hair spray!

Enjoy these five looks that Carol’s Daughter’s team created to show how many ways you can style and restyle your hair with their Monoi Flexible Hold Spray! Remember to hold the nozzle 10-12 inches away from your hair when spraying. Spray before styling with hot tools, spray again to set, then if you want to restyle it later, simply brush through it.

You can get your hands on one at or exclusively sold at ULTA! And keep your eyes out for a step-by-step printable photo tutorial from us with our favorite ways to use it on both straight and curly hair!

This post was brought to you with love by our friends at Carol’s Daughter.


photos + post KRISTIN ESS

photos + post KRISTIN ESS

I’m way into uneven rows of braids right now and I had a good idea (or at least I think it is) and wanted to share. I’m heading out for vacation in a week or so and I really needed some kind of rad pool hair situation since I plan on being in it most of the time I’m away. So I decided to combine my normal pool strategy with a cool girl hair look. Here’s how I’ll be keeping my red hair fresh while I’m maxing + relaxing…

the beauty department pool girl braids


As we know, it’s best to get in the pool with hair that’s been wet from a shower vs letting the hair soak up salt water or chlorinated water!

  • first I’ll wet my hair in the shower and ring out the excess water.
  • next, I’ll add in MY FAVORITE DEEP CONDITIONER that I talk about on the regs. Also available in this GIANT TUB which is what I get.
  • towel dry out of the shower with the conditioner still in it.
  • once it’s towel dried, I’ll create my uneven rows of braids (pretty much exactly the way you see it in the photo above). I like inside-out french braids best (aka: dutch braids) because they appear fuller and tend to have more texture but you can also do these the regular way.
  • I’ll tie them off with small clear elastics and submerge myself into the pool with a cocktail in hand.

summer pool beach hair idea the beauty department

And let’s not forget my APRES SWIM hair routine! Later fishes!!!