The 3 Hairstyles That Have Been Helping Me Survive My Least-Favorite Season

Ponytails and messy buns get boring, so here are the more creative ways I've been getting my hair off my neck this summer.
Publish date:
August 20, 2014
hairstyles, tutorials, braids, headbands, updos, How-To

There is nothing worse than summer. I know everyone is probably lighting a torch in disagreement with me because of boozy barbeques and that one time you went to the beach, but I’m serious -- summer in New York is disgusting.

I mostly think this because I have long hair, which, on most days, leaves me with two options: ponytail or messy bun. But guess what: Ponytails and messy buns get boring and constantly leave me contemplating a pixie cut.

So I’ve forced myself to get creative with hairstyling that both gets my hair the eff off my sweaty neck, and looks cute.

The Katniss Braid

I must admit, I’m only a fair-weather fan of "The Hunger Games," as in I saw the movies and enjoyed them but mostly was in awe of Jennifer Lawrence’s hairstyles. (The bit about saving her younger sister from dystopian danger tugged at me too, being a bad-big-wolf of a big sis myself.)

But yes, I’ve been pretty obsessed with what has been dubbed as the Katniss braid. It’s essentially an inside-out French braid (or Dutch braid, as it’s also known), which travels across your head from one side of the other, sort of diagonally.

1. Part your hair to the side you prefer. (I part mine to the right.) Then, excluding the front/bang part of your part, brush your hair back as smoothly as possible.

2. Gather a small section of hair above your ear on the side that you parted your hair. (So, I’m grabbing on the right):

3. Separate the hair into three pieces, and start the beginning of a braid above your ear (braiding two to three times). Aim the braid so that it will move in a horizontal direction across your head:

4. Once you have a little base braid going, begin your inside-out French braid/Dutch braid. In order to do this, you have to cross the to-be-braided strand UNDER the middle strand rather than above it. So, as you add in pieces of hair to your braid, cross that section under the middle section:

5. As you braid, try to steadily descend the braid along your head so that it will end under the ear opposite the side you started on. To do this, just tug the bottom half of the braid a little tighter as you add hair on that side, and a little looser as you add hair to the top half of the braid:

7. Once you’re done with the braid across your head, finish the braid down to the bottom of your hair.

And voila!

Optional step: Twist this braid at the side of your head into a bun.

The Headband Twist

This hairstyle is the life hack of all life hacks, and I love it. It’s perfect for me when I only have enough time to throw my hair in a messy bun, but I don’t really want to wear a messy bun. Plus, it has that effortlessly-yet-cutely-thrown-together vibe that I’m always accidentally pulling off (I hope).

1. Place a thin, stretchy headband around your forehead and around your head.

2. Starting on one side and working your way across, loop one-inch sections of your hair into the headband, by lifting and tucking the strand through the top.

3. Once done looping, adjust anything that looks wonky. You might also have to keep re-looping any long pieces of hair that are still hanging below, so the same piece of hair might be looped around the headband multiple times.

4. Move the headband from your forehead, so that it sits on your head, behind the front of your hair.

5. Secure your headband with a few pins.

Two-Become-One (braids, that is)

Those of you from Michigan, and perhaps even those of you from the Midwest at large, know of a mysterious place called “Up North.” It’s a special place that might not even be much further north from where you live, but it’s still magical. It’s where you go during the summer with your family, where bras are optional and makeup is scoffed at, where you hang out by the lake drinking beer and eating hot dogs.

Up North is also a place where you and all your sisters, cousins and friends braid each other’s hair.

That’s where I was introduced to the Two-Become-One braid by my beauteous friend Jenna, who was in charge of hair-braiding one day. I’ve been doing it ever since to spice up my usual pigtail braids.

1. Part hair down the middle.

2. On each side of your head, create an inverted French braid/Dutch braid, ending at the base of your head. (Again, this braid is done by adding hair to the braid, piece by piece, and crossing the outside strands UNDER the middle strand.)

3. Now, we want to form one braid from the two. To do this, combine the two outer strands of hair from each braid, making two single units (one on each side), and the inside strand from each braid, creating the third unit in the middle. Like so:

5. Now using the three new units of hair, create a regular braid.

6. Braid hair all the way down to the end, and that's it!

And those are some of the hairstyles getting me through the homestretch of the sticky, sweaty summer. What are yours? Show me in the comments!