I was delighted recently when I was thumbing through photos of the latest looks from the 1999-2000 European Fall Fashion shows and discovered that all sorts of braids are very hot.
Besides lots of accent braids, Heidi and Tiara braids appeared on several runways.
It is not surprising that Yves St. Laurent coupled stunning elegant Heidi braids with his exquisite tailoring and classic feminine looks.
The St. Laurent collection included some breathtaking suits that looked even more beautiful with models sporting the hot braids created by Alexandre de Paris.
The braids were dressed up with jeweled butterfly clips and feathers. They were dressed down for business by being pinned closely to the head.
A great advantage to Heidi braids is that they work exceptionally well with earrings.
They also show off beautiful makeup and jeweled necklaces.
Heidi/Tiara braids are extremely versatile and work well for any event from a formal wedding to a power business suit.
Women with long hair that want to present a professional appearance can create a tight Heidi braid worn close to the head for a very business like look.
Heidi braids require hair that is long to very long so that the braids can wrap completely around the head.
With the great popularity of hair extensions, many women will have long extensions applied to their hair and then have the hair braided into a Heidi.
Whether they were wearing their own natural locks or had help from extensions, it didn't alter the spectacular visions of models with thick shiny gorgeous braids.
Creating a beautiful Heidi Braid is not as complicated as it looks. The key to successfully creating this braid is to practice the actual braiding to get both of the braids to be the same thickness and size so that the crown is evenly balanced.
For special events it might be wise to ask someone to help you create the braids. With some practice you should easily be able to create a stunning Heidi Braid look.
One of the best books (see cover to the left) that I personally have used for creating basic braids like the Heidi is:
Braids & Bows: A Book of Instructions by Anne Akers Johnson & Robin Stoneking.
You can buy this great book from Amazon.com and it ships within about 3 days.
Amazon's current (9/99) discounted price is $13.97 versus current retail of $19.95.
The Heidi can be created on either wet or dry hair. The style does require hair that is long enough to wrap from the nape of the neck all the way around the head and overlap at the crown.
The longer the hair, the better.
If your hair is long enough for the braid but has a lot of short hair that tend to break free you can either use a good setting gel on wet hair to give the hair some hold or you can use a good hair wax to tame the hairs.
When creating the braid on dry hair is preferred, "day old" hair works better than newly washed soft hair.
If you create the style on dry hair remember to first brush all your hair so that it is very smooth and easier to braid.
To achieve a beautiful shine you may want to apply a tiny amount of shine product to the palms of your hands and then smooth or swipe it lightly over the top of your tresses.
If you prefer, you can also use a good styling gel to give your hair more manageability and hold.
If you want the braids to be tight and close to the head, create them on damp to wet hair which is the perfect medium to work with.
Note: If you own hair is not long enough to create natural braids, consider pinning on two matching add-on braids on creating the braids on clip-in hair extensions.
Other Options - Tiara Braids
If your hair is not long enough for a full Heidi braid, you can create a partial Heidi by doing a Tiara Braid instead.
The Tiara braid works as a thin accent braid that frames the crown with the rest of the hair worn down.
The Tiara functions a lot like a headband.
To create the Tiara take a section of hair approximately 2-3 inches from the hair closest to each side of the face. Braid each section starting the braid behind the ears.
Wrap the braids over the head just as you would for Heidi braids. Pin the braid into place. Add jeweled hair pins, flowers, ribbons, or wear plain, depending on the event.
If you prefer, you can wear your hair down, in a ponytail or you can even braid the rest of the hair into a French braid. Experiment and find the look that works best for you.
The beauty of the Heidi and Tiara braids is that they can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the event.
Either style will work with or without bangs. Have fun and be willing to try lots of variations to create multiple looks.