It seems the top knot has had its day as number one beach hairstyle thanks to stiff competition from a look that was sported by both Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid last week: the long, chunky braid. While both Jenner and Hadid were in locations poles apart —Jenner was on holiday in the Turks and Caicos while Hadid was in New York, both women wore braided hairstyles that are as ideal for the beach as they are for events.
These aren’t akin to the old schoolgirl braids you might be expecting, though. These are power braids – the kind of hair that wouldn’t be totally amiss on a Tomb Raider set – that shout strength and femininity, rather than girlishness. Slicked back, high ponytails plaited down the entire length of the hair, they make a statement without being high maintenance, and can be dialed up or down depending on the circumstances (go loose and imperfect for day, slick and neat for evening). “A single braided ponytail helps keep hair manageable and under control,” says session stylist David Wadlow of the look.
But how to do it at home? “Length and thickness are key here; if you lack either, wrap a hair extension around your pony to give the practicality of both,” advises Wadlow, who says the look works just as well on sea salty hair as it does on just-washed. Here he gives his step by step guide to the style:
1. Before you start, spritz some light hairspray (like Percy & Reed’s Reassuringly Firm Session Hold Hairspray) through hair and blow dry it in, then scrape hair back into a high ponytail using a clear elastic band.
2. While hair is still slightly warm from the blow dry, lightly backcomb the top of your ponytail to help build a chunky look. This will help the ponytail stay put for longer.
3. Spritz an oil mist, like Biolage’s R.A.W. Replenish Oil Mist, all over hair to hydrate and impart a luxurious shine, just before you braid.
4. Plait hair from the base of the ponytail to the end and tie with another clear elastic band.
5. Finish by misting Sam McKnight’s Hair Spray to keep hair in place.
Chunky beach braid: done.