Jenna Mahoney

Braided Updos Seen on Celebrities

If the names Heidi and Princess Leia are the first you think of when you hear the word “braids,” it’s time for an attitude adjustment. Gone are the days of piggy-tailed plaits with ribbons and curlicues that were merely playground appropriate.

A-listers like Nicole Richie and Jessica Alba are embracing the laid-back look of braided updos at red-carpet events, while emerging talents like Emma Stone and Zoe Saldana are also interpreting the trend into a halo of hair. You can too -- in three simple steps. The key is not to seek too much perfection.

The Braided Bun

This style is the simplest and has the least risk for looking too juvenile.

1. Spritz hair with a texturizer and create a part just off the middle to one side.

2. Starting from the crown, French-braid hair, incorporating more strands with each loop. Fasten the ends with bobby pins.

3. Create volume by backcombing at the nape. Wrap hair into a bun and fasten with an elastic band, allowing some pieces to remain free. Bring braids under the elastic and secure with bobby pins. Apply a strong-hold hairspray.

The Inverted Milkmaid Braids

Sported by Gwyneth, Sienna and Mary Kate, this is the latest plaited style to make a mark.

1. Tease hair at the crown and divide into two to three sections.

2. Follow your hairline and French-braid each section from ear to ear. Make sure one braid is positioned toward the front of the head and is about 3 inches wide. Secure the ends of each braid with bobby pins.

3. Make sure the braids meet in a loop and fasten into each other with bobby pins so they are not visible. And take out a few face-framing pieces.

Optional: Twist unbraided section into a loose, braided bun. Spritz liberally with a flexible, strong-hold spray.

Jenna Mahoney is a beauty, travel and lifestyle editor and writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her work has appeared in such publications as Allure, Self, Fitness, Shape, New York Magazine, and online at and

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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