Brushing up on braids

by Sarah Luna

From about 4th grade until the end of high school, I wore my hair in one English braid down my back. It was simple, and it kept my thick, curly hair in place. I remember first learning how to French braid my own hair by watching one of the TKD moms at a tournament. Ever since then, I’ve experimented with different braids.

Now in grad school, it seems I cycle through braiding styles. Every couple of weeks I’ll get stuck in a braiding rut. Without thinking, I’ll get up, comb my hair, and braid it into whatever style I did the day before. For a month I’ll do Dutch braids every morning. Then, for no reason, I’ll switch back to a solitary French braid. For a while I did two twists leading into a French braid (shown below). I like this design because it looks like a halo or crown (though a crown braid is something entirely different).

For ballroom, I’d make it a French fishtail. A fishtail braid involves many strands instead of the traditional three. That particular combination worked well since it kept the flyaways from escaping and let me tuck the tail in next to my head.

Now I’m considering pulling out a fancier braid: the 5 stranded braid.

This one is tricky because it combines elements of both the French and Dutch braids. There’s a lot of counting involved, too. I find myself repeating: under, over, 1,2,3,4; under, over, 1,2,3,4. It’s a meditative process.

Especially in this week of chaos, I appreciate the patterns.