Posts Tagged ‘kristin ess braids’




THIS is one of my favorite looks because you almost cant do it wrong. It’s a braid so haphazard that even someone with little to no skill could hook it up! This reminds me so much of those kids you see on a playground who have run around for so long that their braid starts to come apart. I often feel like as it falls apart it becomes more beautiful, kinda like me after an Adele song. Anyway. Here’s how we created this look…

the beauty department the undone braid

Let’s not front. There are extensions in this hair. There are 4 thin tracks clipped in. Emily has fine hair and the extensions help to bulk it up. This looks best on longer hair but it can absolutely be done on medium lengths as well (you just need a little more patience and skill for that!)

If you have “slippery” soft hair, spray in a little OCEAN SPRITZ for grit. A light layer on dry hair will do! It’s the same one I mentioned in my last HAIR POST.

  1. Separate the center section and make a large french braid. In other words, take big pieces for your french braid rather than small. Leave out the sides from your ear to your front hairline.
  2. Split each side section into two pieces.
  3. You want to grab a piece and weave it through the main braid once or twice, leaving the ends out.
  4. Do that with all 4 side pieces.
  5. If any of them slip, you can use a tiny MICRO CLAW CLIP behind the braid to hold your section. Remember how we did that right HERE? Your pieces will stay put with those if you need them.

Again, the whole point of this is to feel very informal and un-done, so don’t overthink it and don’t make it too perfect. Add a light veil of strong holding hairspray at the end if you feel the need!

Do you guys like this kind of look? I have a few more of these types up my sleeve. Or is it just too messy for you? Would love to know your thoughts!


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!



BACK with another fun summer braid! This a great one for almost any length hair because it’s a half-up hairstyle. Even if you’re sporting a bob you can make a shortened version of this. It’s easy but because it’s all behind the head, you may want to enlist a braiding bestie to help if you don’t have the arm strength or reach. Here we go!

  1. Pull two pieces from each side of your head. You’ll want to treat this like a half-up hairstyle so you’ll be pulling your sections from the front hairline/above your ears.
  2. Join them together in the back using a clear elastic.
  3. Now create a regular fishtail braid from the pony you just made. If you don’t know how to do that, you can see our classic fishtail video tutorial HERE!
  4. Tie it off at the bottom using another clear elastic.
  5. No carefully cut the elastic out at the top. Get someone to help if you need to so you don’t cut your hair.
  6. Sprinkle a little texturizing hair powder on your braid! If you missed our post on hair powders, you can find it HERE!
  7. Tap the powder into the braid and gently tug at your braid to give it some texture and volume!
  8. Now you’re simply going to take the braid and twist it over.
  9. Slide a large bobbypin into the base where you twisted the braid. This will keep it flipped and create a twisted look. I didn’t photograph this part, but you should wrap the bottom elastic with a tiny piece of hair and secure it with a bobby pin, or use one that matches your exact color.

Here’s a shot of that same braid on blonde hair! We would LOOOOOOVE to see you try it. Take today’s #twishtail challenge and give this a shot. Take a pretty photo of it and we’ll repost our favorites and tag you on our instagram page! We are @thebeautydept for anyone who doesn’t know. Happy Saturday, and good luck! Can’t wait to see your photos…


photos/post/graphic design: Kristin Ess

One of my (and I’m sure your) favorite things in the world is a perfectly messy braid. Don’t you ever wonder how hairstylists get that look? Not the slept on kind of mess, but the perfect amount of fly aways to give your braid that glowing halo? So romantic and so beautiful. Today I’m exposing the tool that we often use to get that look. It’s nothing more than a men’s barbering brush which you can find HERE for about $5. Here’s how you make the perfect mess…

  1. Start with your Favorite. Braided. Updo.
  2. Lightly pull upward on individual loops (as illustrated above) to loosen your braid slightly.
  3. Pull down a few little pieces around your face.
  4. Grab your new best friend, the barber brush.
  5. Give your hair a couple light swirls with the barber brush. I like to brush in the opposite direction of the way I braided the hair. Don’t be afraid. You can always hairspray or pin excess pieces down. Keep going til you get that mess texture you want. Then give it the lightest spritz of hairspray.

Here are a couple of photos for inspiration! Enjoy xo