How I Get My Baby-Fine Hair Into These Voluminous Milkmaid Braids

If your hair was cleavage, consider these helpful tips a push-up bra.
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Publish date:
November 8, 2016
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braids, hairstyles, fine hair, milkmaid braids, Dutch Braids, V05

Braided hairstyles are absolutely worth mastering, even if the process can be a little fiddly and frustrating. French braids, milkmaid braids, Dutch braids — they’re all shortcuts to fancy-looking hair without having to wash or blow dry. Do it right and a style will last all day and night, getting cuter as it becomes more disheveled. But what do you do if your hair is naturally fine, straight, or slippery, making it a struggle keeping even a ponytail in place? Braiding probably seems like a waste of time.

Not so, dear readers! There are several little tricks to get the Lauren Conrad-approved braided hairstyles of your Pinterest goals!

Pick a style to suit your hair.

The placement and type of braid are crucial if you want to get a full effect on your braided style. I always do a Dutch braid, in which the braid appears to sit on top of the hair, rather than hidden underneath. It’s easier to add volume and texture to a Dutch braid.

If you’ve got short, fine hair like mine, consider the style I’m rocking here. I created a deep side part and braided down across the front of my head. By adding extra hair on one side, I get a nice thick braid with extra height on the top of my head, which leads to a more flattering style overall. On the other side you can do a teeny little braid, or simply pin your leftover hair out of the way. At the back I’ve just used bobby pins to fix the remaining hair in a haphazard but hopefully cute manner.

If you’ve got longer fine hair, then skip French or Dutch braiding altogether and go for a milkmaid braid. Divide your hair into pigtails, plait, and pull over your crown, securing with bobby pins. If your plaits are skinny, just follow the next steps in this article and you’ll have that Alpine babe swag in no time.

Volumizing powder is essential.

You’ve probably read a million times that it’s best to braid your hair when it’s a little dirty. Well, if you have really fine hair you know that’s bullshit because going a few days before washing your hair just isn’t an option. Don’t fret: you can totally braid clean hair if you have some volumizing powder on hand.

Once you’ve completed and pinned your hair, shake some volumizing powder directly onto the braid and massage it in with your fingertips. This will add a lot of grip to your hair and prevent it from slipping out of the style completely. It will also add extra volume to the braid, creating the illusion of thicker hair. If you want to, you can gently pull at each section of the braid to fan out the hair and make it even bigger. It’s best not to put the powder into your hair before you braid, as it makes it quite difficult to separate the hair into discrete sections.

I love the effect that volumizing powder gives. While it feels pretty horrid to touch, it gives excellent hold, a matte effect, and lots of lift. There are plenty of options from high-end haircare lines but drugstore options have always worked fine for me.

Fill in the gaps.

If you have dark hair then one of the big issues with braiding can be that it creates the illusion of bald spots. I find I have a particular issue around my temples and where my bangs start — my hair is baby-fine there and pulling it back into a braid seems to reveal an alarming amount of my scalp.

This is very simple to camouflage. Find a matte eyeshadow or face powder that matches your hair and use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to fill in the gaps that you find. Start softly! You don’t want splotches all over. Just use a light touch to start with and then build it up to your desired intensity.


Honestly, this issue is probably just a #brainproblem on my part, but I personally find myself much more confident wearing braided styles when I can see less scalp.

Do any of you have your own tips for braiding and styling fine hair?