Barbara Lhotan is the reigning queen of updos. Not only did Barbara create many of the award winning styles for Inspire's best selling 5 Minute Updos which completely sold out, she followed up with a second best selling updo book that is 5 Minute Fun Finishes and still available.
I had the great fortune to work very closely with the incredibly multi-talented Barbara on other updo projects for HairBoutique.com.
Even better, last Winter (2003) Barbara and I worked on an special limited edition of Quick & Easy Updos (shown to the side) for Multimedia International, publishers of 101 Celebrity Hairstyles and Short Cuts.
Barbara created the updos, Eric von Lockhart did the photos and I wrote all the step by step technicals. It was a wonderful experience. We were all thrilled when we heard that the MultiMedia Updo special booklet completely sold out on magazine stands around the United States.
More MultiMedia updo projects are in the works with Barbara and I again teaming up for the technicals for 2004. Working with Barbara is a joy because she is so incredibly creative and inspired about her updos. She loves her work and it shows.
Recently Barbara, who is a senior educator for Paul Mitchell Systems, worked on a special updo shoot for Inspire publications in New York.
HairBoutique.com was indirectly involved with the shoot and will be showcasing some of the amazing updo designs along with the book that was created from the shoot.
Barbara designed this special updo for HairBoutique.com to use to kickoff the Holiday and Prom Season for 2003-2004. This style is brand new and is specifically designed to be easy to do. Some talented people will be able to do this style themselves. Others may need some help from a friend, loved one or favorite stylist.
This updo style can be accomplished on any length of hair. Longer hair will result in longer "free ends". It is option to pin the ends up, curl them or make another section with them. Hair accessories can be added or hair can be sprayed with a light glitter. Spot hair extensions can be used to lengthen the look.
Although this look is ideal for lighter hair, it can be done on darker hair with add on hair pieces, braids and ponies in different colors. Why not try blue with black hair and maroon, dark red or emerald green with light brunette.
Step By Step Instructions
The steps for creating this style are provided throughout this article. It should be noted that for this special updo Barbara actually used a series of foils to create this spectacular knotted style, you could recreate the style using the new Conair Extender that comes with multi-colored strands of hair that can be easily applied to the hair to create a similar look.
This style works best on hair that is not freshly washed. When possible allow your hair to "age" at least 24 hours from your last shampoo. The natural hair oils will help the knots and parts hold tighter and last longer.
Barbara Lhotan did comment that this look can be created on freshly washed and dried hair. However, it is important to dress newly washed hair with the appropriate styling aides (styling gels and/or creams or sprays) to counterbalance extra soft or slippery strands. Let your stylist determine what type of hair they prefer to work with.
1. Begin by using a soft boar's head brush or similar natural bristle brush on your hair. (Photo of Conair paddle brush) Make sure that all knots and tangles are completely removed. (All photos are the express copyright of Barbara Lhotan and HairBoutique.com).
Although this elegant style was designed with an off-center part, if you prefer, experiment with a different type of part for a slightly different look. The look can be modified to accommodate a center or other type of part is desired. This style can be worn with or without bangs according to preference.
2. Using the tail of a rattail comb create a part that extends just above the nape of the neck (as shown to the side). Secure the top hair with a hairstick OR a large duckbill, banana, condor or similar clip. Leave a small amount of hair at the bottom as shown.
Model Tricia is a natural blonde with previously added highlights. For this look Paul Mitchell RED shampoo was used on the foils to create the pink highlights that are TEMPORARY. You could also use other red colored shampoos to get the same look.
Note: If your hair is white blonde or extremely porous do NOT apply RED to your hair w/out first consulting a hair expert to make sure your hair will not be permanently stained by the shampoo. It is rare that this happens but to be safe always check.
3. Weave out desired amounts of hair thickness and use a hair paint brush (you can buy hair color paint brushes at any beauty supply store) to apply the red shampoo over a piece of hair coloring foil. Wrap the foil up to hold it into place while you work around the head.
4. Continue applying the shampoo and the foils (available from any large beauty supply) from the nape of the neck to the top of the head and around the sides. When you are finished the hair should be foiled and painted appropriately with red shampoo from the very back of the nape of the neck to the very front of the hairline (see side example).
The shampoo acts as a temporary color and will NOT be washed out after it is applied.
5. Once the entire head if painted and foiled according to your desired, use a blow dryer to completely dry the hair.
Don't worry if the hair feels a little different. Keep in mind that have dried the color shampoo onto your strands.
6. Working with individual sections that are about 1-2" in thickness, smooth all of the hair with a hot flat iron. As you apply the flat iron to each section be sure to bevel the ends under to give a smooth finish.
Allow hair to cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
7. Part off a triangular section of hair that is approximately 2 inches in thickness on top of the head and braid 3/4" of the section in a three strand braid pulling the braid up and towards the face. (As shown to the side).
To give this updo an even and balanced look it is important to use the same approximately wide of hair sections so that all of the braids are the same size.
Braid the hair in such a way that the hair is braided under so that the braids will lay flat. Underbraided hair is known as a Dutch braid.
8. Secure the finished braid with a clear Blax band or a band that matches your hair color, leaving 2-3 inches of the ends free or unbraided (these ends are called "hair tails").
9. Hold the Blax band in the fingers of your right hand and then with the left hand gently push the braid down while using the left hand to hold down the ends of the braid from the center.
The braid will contract (as shown to the side) and soften as a result. This is what you want it to do for this style.
10. After you have finished the first braid, continue to part off the same sized triangular sections of hair and create three strand braids that are 3/4" of the section of hair always leaving the "hair tails" at the ends.
As you create each new braid be sure to pull it (as described above in #9) so that is softens and contracts.
As you methodically create the braids direct the braided hair forward towards the front of the face.
Hide any obvious parted areas in the hair as you continue to braid.
11. Divide the hair in the back of the head into 3 separate sections with zig zag partings.
12. Pulling the hair up and forward braid the center section of the three new sections first. Braid the remaining two side sections while pulling the hair forward.
13. When you have braided the entire hair area go back and work from braid to braid section pinning them right at the intersection of the hair and the Blax band.
Use tiny hairpins that are 1/4 to 1/2 inches in the same color of your hair if you need a secondary anchor. Pin the braids to the scalp to anchor them securely.
14. As you pin the braids twist them in a clockwise direction to form a unique updo configuration.
Note: Experiment with more or less braids to get a slightly different look. Remember to focus on creating the braids the same size so that the updo has a balanced look.
15. Take all the remaining "hair tails" and softly twist and fan them. Pin the fanned tails around the twisted braids to "finish" the look. Pin the fanned tails into place with tiny hairpins.
If you desire, leave a few tendrils flowing freely around the hair sculpture or at the nape of the neck.
Use a curling iron to add a very slight curl to the tendrils.
16. Apply a medium to heavy holding spray to the finished style. Add a light sprinkling of glitter gel for added dazzle or jazz up the sides or back with hair jewels. Feel free to use tiny bobby pins to help anchor any loose hair.
Hair can be twisted in any direction. You can play with Blax bands and leave more ends free or pin them down. Whatever your heart desires.
Experiment with adding more or less sections of hair for different looks. For a different look try braiding the tails of each knotted section or making knots with pre-braided locks.
Check out the Conair Extender for additional design options.
The possibilities are endless if you take the time to play with different variations of this classic knotted style. This finished style if perfect for any special party, Prom, Wedding or other dressy hair event. Enjoy!
Model: Tricia Hairstyle: Barbara Lhotan Photography: Eric von Lockhart
Barbara Lhotan is known as the "Personal Trainer" for stylists wishing to be experts with long hair. She is the Director of Education for Renaissance Salon in Smithtown, New York and a Senior National Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems.
Barbara works on all types of hair from short to long and creates spectacular updos and styles for any event. She is also talented with hair extensions and color. Contact Barbara for a consultation at: (631-724-2386)
Eric von Lockhart was born in New York City but spent his early years traveling to exotic locales as a military brat. Sensing from an early age that “some form of art was his destiny”, Eric embraced his early gypsy life. He viewed his constant travels as priceless opportunities to observe life through many angles, ultimately training him to do the same with his beloved cameras. Eric has been perfecting his craft “all his life” which explains why he is one of the most sought after fashion photographers in America.
Over the years Eric’s unique eye, lightening wizardy and brilliant photographic images have been in hot demand appearing in an extensive list of fashion and beauty magazines including Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Elle, Essence, Salon News, Modern Salon, Hype Hair, Inspire, Passion, Blacktress, Hair World, 101 Celebrity Hairstyles, Short Cuts, and HairBoutique.com.