If even thinking about trying out some of the fashionable braided hairstyles you see on TV and in celebrity-heavy magazines has your palms sweating, you can now relax and tackle those amazing hairstyles with a fair amount of ease.
I can do regular braids, french braids and little individual regular braids that I would then attach to each other with rubber bands to make interesting styles. But anything more complicated than that and I sit firmly in the “would love to try it, but I know I’d never be able to pull it off” column.
This awesome book, Stunning Braids: Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occasion from Work to Weddings, is a very good source for those of us who require step-by-step instruction (with photos, if possible) to create fabulous braided hair styles like celebrities rock on the red carpet and at media events. Author, Monaé Everett, has been braiding hair most of her life becoming a celebrity hairstylist and a braiding teacher as an adult. Check out YouTube for braiding tutorial videos featuring Ms. Everett or visit her website at www.monaeeverett.com or her blog.
I really, really wanted to try the Side-Braided Pony in the upper-left photo above. But, I can’t exactly braid my own hair anymore. As a busy Mom, I rarely ever style it beyond running a hair straightener over it to make it look smooth and sleek for nice dinners out with my husband or other important family or holiday events. In high school I was much more adventurous with my hair, but since having children the time, energy and and contortion skills required of one’s arms and hands to do that have long since grown stagnant. Those fun, funky hair-do’s went the way of other time-consuming things such as clothing/fashion sense, accessory coordination and eye makeup. In other words, they’re pretty much history. I’m lucky if I take the time to apply a few dabs of concealer, tinted lip gloss and mascara most days — and that’s usually in the car as I’m rushing to get the kids wherever they need to be.
My own daughters weren’t much more help, since one has hair too short for these long-hair braiding styles and the other is one of those tweens that don’t want Mom touching their hair. Ever. Again. So, I was forced to enlist my niece for this project. Which was great, too, I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like these days. But, she’s only seven years old, so sitting still for long periods of time is not exactly her strong suit.
Not a problem, because Stunning Braids features twenty-five braided hairstyles. Easier, simpler braids are at the front of the book and the level of difficulty of the braid increases the further through the book you get. The Basic Braid section keeps it simple, featuring styles such as the Three-Strand Braid, Basic Fishtail and incorporating Twisting Techniques. The Advanced Braid section takes these basic braiding styles to the next level, even incorporating multiple braiding techniques into a single style.
No matter your skill level, Stunning Braids is a great addition to your hairstyle library. With the detailed step-by-step instructions and copious amount of pictures to help you visualize every step, it would be extremely hard for anyone to fail, simply start small with the more basic styles and then branch out to master the more complicated ones.
Because of A’s age and attention span, I chose to keep our session to the simplest and quickest styles. She later told my sister that she really loved our fun time together and wants to do it again! Dare I hope to try some of the more complicated styles with my little diva in the future? Fingers crossed…
Our session consisted of three simple braids from the book: the Two Stranded Twist, the Three Stranded Twist and the Simple Braided Pony.
I tried really hard to talk her into trying the Knot Braid, but she informed me in her no-nonsense manner that her mother would absolutely NOT appreciate me tying her hair into knots! LOL
My favorite style (her favorite, too) was the Simple Braided Pony.
It looked super cute from the back. The side view, however, reveals some flaws in my skill. I didn’t get the pony tail quite high enough for the braid to lay over it without that gap you see in the picture just above it. And, somehow, my bobby pins didn’t make it to my sister’s house with me, and she couldn’t find any at her house. The bobby pins are to be used to attach the braid to the area where the pony tail is secured to keep it in place.
Also, I didn’t anticipate the need for hair styling products to make the process easier. As I said, I rarely do much styling to my own hair, simply running through it with a large toothed comb, working a little mousse into it and blowing dry for a few minutes to get the majority of the wetness gone most days. A. has beautiful hair, but it’s pretty straight, fine, and prone to flyaways.
I see more hairstyling sessions with A. in the future as she had a lot of fun with this. Before I let her book up my schedule, however, I’m going to go back and focus on the sections in Stunning Braids that give tips on tools and products as well as hair prep work to do to make these styles turn out as fantastic as the photos in the book.
Important prep-work, product and tool information can be found in the first few sections of the book. Tools such as hair brushes and combs; ties, clips and pins; styling sprays, creams, mousse, powders and gels; flat irons, curling irons and blow dryers and the uses of these items are briefly outlined. Also included are brief sections (photos included) for hair prep that will make the braiding process easier and provide more polished results: creating large romantic curls, textured waves, flat-iron curls, hair-smoothing techniques, and soft curls. I highly recommend reviewing these sections to gather information that will make your experience creating these beautiful braided hair styles easier and more successful. These sections will not bog you down, being only 14 pages long. Most of them contain photos and a fairly small amount of text to read — important for those of us who are impatient and want to get to the braiding already!!!
Best of all, Stunning Braids is affordable for all budgets. It is available online in both paperback and digital format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for less than $15. I have the paperback copy which is in full-color throughout and is printed on nice, thick paper. The price on the back indicated that the book costs $17.95 US/ $20.95 CAN. This book will last for years with very little chance of the pages getting ripped, torn or wrinkled. In addition, despite being chock-full of information, the book is only about 1/2-inch thick making it easy to slip into a purse or tote bag or an exterior pocket on most pieces of luggage if one wanted to take it along while traveling.
My sister is very impressed with this book and asked where she could buy her own copy. Her oldest daughter is a senior in high school and she wants to have it to use come prom time. She also has a one-year-old daughter, so with three girls in her house, she would definitely get a lot of use out of it and it would easily last that long due to the good quality with which the book was produced.
If braiding is something you have an interest in, Stunning Braids is an excellent resource for even the most inexperienced of us. If you have this book or decide to purchase it I would be very interested in hearing about your experience.
Go. Do. Braid!!!
Disclaimer: I received a free paperback copy of this book for purposes of review. No other compensation was received. All experiences and opinions are 100% my own.
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