We’ve all been there. You are on Instagram and you see a blogger or celebrity with these super cool hairstyles and you think: how did they possibly do that?
As Mindy Kaling explained in her latest book, Why Not Me?, “The real trick to having gorgeous hair is quantity. Piles of thick, cascading, My Little Pony–style hair.”
There’s only one challenge here: not everyone has the hair of a My Little Pony. But here’s the good news: there’s an easy way to fake it when it comes to braiding. As someone who is lacking in the thick hair department, this is the ultimate trick for creating braids that pop, regardless of the quantity of your hair. I am working with a side braid, but you can do this with any form of braid.
1. Start with dirty hair. I know, that sounds gross, but hear me out. Your hair holds better in a braid if it is dirty. This doesn’t mean you need to not shower for a week. Shower the night before and use a smaller amount of shampoo. Your hair’s natural oils will hold the braid much easier. 2. Braid under the middle strand. Take a look at how you naturally braid hair. You probably always cross over the middle of the three strands. Instead, cross under. This will make the braid lift off of your scalp if you are doing any form of a French or Dutch braid. Regardless, it makes for the start of a more plump braid.
3. If French or Dutch braiding, start grabbing large amounts of hair early. It quite simply allows your braid to physically be larger from the start of the braid, which will help make it pop.4. Create a full, tight braid. Finish your braid like any normal braid you have done in the past, but try to keep the braid fairly tight.
5. Loosen the ponytail slightly. Once fastening the ponytail holder at the bottom of the braid, pull it down about 1/2 an inch.
6. From the very top of your braid, begin to carefully loosen the individual weaves. While having a firm hold on the lower tail of your braid, use your other hand to begin to loosen the individual weaves that make up the full braid. Slowly and carefully pull from the lower part of the individual weave, and pull out and upwards. Make sure that shorter pieces of your hair do not fall out of the braid in the process. Continue this process down the braid until every weave has been loosened. Keep in mind: a thick braid looks best when all parts of the braid look like they are a similar size so loosen accordingly.
8. Add in any needed bobby pins, use some holding hair spray, and you are set! Now go rock your braid.