Every major star from Aubrey Hepburn to Jennifer Lopez have worn a version of this basic hairstyle. Rachel Lee Cook as I in the film, She's All That as the cute, quirky, but brainy Laney Boggs worn a type of French Twist style. The beauty of the basic French Twist is that it can be easily modified in hundreds of ways to give it an edgy sizzling look that works with up to the minute fashions and styles.
A French Twist can be fashioned from just about any length of hair or type of texture. Even super short tressed young ladies can be French Twisted with a little help from pin on ponytails or instant add-on hair extensions.
The style shown above, courtesy of Inspire Publications, was based on a French Twist pattern created by stylist Barbara Lhotan.
Although it may be hard to believe that this radical style is based on a French Twist, it was started that way with a classic back seam. The top of this particular French Twist style was fanned and pinned to create the top knot. A pearl tiara was looped around the underneath section of the top knot. Long strands were draped seductively around the face.
French Twist Instructions
Some people have a natural ability to create buns, updos or French Twists on their own hair without any assistance. I personally have all thumbs when it comes to my own hair. If I have enough time to practice a style several times, I am usually able to learn some styling tricks that help me create the ultimate style. However, I do need lots of practice.
One of my all time secret tricks is to use my string mop head to practice the style first. A long time ago I learned that a string mop made a good practice head for hairstyles. Why? The individual strings from the mop work a lot like individual strands.
If you don't have a string mop handy you can also practice on a doll's head, wigs or even clip on braids or ponies that you anchor to the back of a chair to secure.
If you are all thumbs when it comes to your hair ask a talented friend or your favorite stylist to help you achieve this style.
Listed below are the steps that you would need to do to create a basic and very structured French Twist hairstyle:
Informal French Twist
This French Twist is less formal or structured and can be created when you want to skip the creation of the pinned hair seam as described above.
Once the twist is pinned and firmly anchored, spray well with hair spray. Make sure all loose hairs have been carefully pinned or tucked. Slide a gorgeous French Twist comb along the side of the new twist. Or decorate with hair forks, French hair pins or other accessories.
French Twist Variations
There are literally a ton of ways to customize a French Twist style to make it totally unique to you and your hair. Some customization ideas include:
1. Mix and match funky with formal. Do a series of short zig zag parts in the front of your hair near your face. Pull the hair from the zig zags back towards the crown and then weave the top sections one braid that snuggles coiled into the top of the traditional French seam at the back.
2. Create a classic French Twist in the back but put the front of your hair into a roll that wraps around the top line of your forehead. This is a striking look that will catch immediate attention. (Image to the side courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).
3. Design a style that matches the Twist with a front hair roll, like mentioned in Step 2. Pull strands out on either side of your face (as shown to the side) and let the strands hang straight down to the top of your dress. Pull similar strands out from the underneath side of the French Twist.
4. Skip the front roll and go with a quiff at the front of the crown instead.
5 Create a classic back Twist but separate the very top and very bottom strands that border the twisted hair.
Braid each individual strand and then coil the newly braided hair so that you have a braided coil at the top and the bottom of the Twist. This will add interest
6. Separate a 2 or 3 inch section of hair and braid a three strand brand from the hairline back to the middle of the head (see image to the side). Instead of pulling hair into a nape ballerina bun like shown, pull the back of the hair into a classic French Twist.
7. Create the French Twist. Using a rat tail comb gently create a series of hair loops that are pulled loose from the Twist. If desired, pull the loops completely out of the bun so that they hang free from the bun.
8. Separate your hair into two sections, a top and bottom. Pin the top section off. Brush the lower section into a French Twist using either the formal or informal instructions listed above. Pin the French Twist well.
Take the top hair and backcomb to get fullness. Create a loose hair roll or Ballerina style bun that nestles against the top of the French Twist section. Pin well and decorate.
Follow the example of savvy celebrities and their famous hairstylists and borrow traditional hairstyles from the stars of yesteryear. Modify the classic basic styles like the French Twist to be customized to your own Prom look and image. Have fun and think outside of the box by playing with different parts, hair color and accessories to punk up or make your look ultra trendy.