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The Heidi Braid Is Hot


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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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.

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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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.

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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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.

General Instructions

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.

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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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 and it ships within about 3 days.

Amazon's current (9/99) discounted price is $13.97 versus current retail of $19.95.

Buy the Book

Getting Started

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Illustration From Braids & Bows All Rights Reserved

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.

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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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.

Step-By-Step Instructions

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.

  1. Start by detangling hair and smoothing the hair so that it is easy to work with. Use a pick on wet hair, a good brush on dry hair.
  2. Part the hair down the middle of your head and divide the hair into two equal sections as if you were creating pigtails.
  3. Clip one section to keep it out of the way. Take the other section and using your fingers divide the hair into 3 equal sections.
  4. Braid the first section of hair by starting with the strand that is closest to the face. As you braid cross the strands over each other. Make sure you pull the braids tightly so that the hair is neatly tucked into the length of the braid.
  5. Continue to braid the first section of hair until you reach the end or the "tail" of the section. Attach a "hair friendly" elastic tie or bungee cord at the end. Be sure to loop the elastic around the tail as many times as necessary to guarantee that it is tight and the braid will not slip. Note: If you are creating a braid for a special event, use an elastic cord that is the same color as your hair to blend into the overall style.
  6. Repeat the same steps with the remaining section of hair.
  7. Bring pigtails up and around to the crown of the head. You can bring the braids up as close to the forehead as you like or you can position the braids mid crown depending on the look you wish to achieve. Generally Heidi braids rest mid crown.
  8. Cross one braided section over the top of the head and pin it in place using "hair friendly" bobby pins that match the color of your strands.
  9. When pinning the braided sections try to catch the underside of the braid and some of the hair closest to the scalp.
  10. Fold the second braided section over the first section at the top of the head. Pin the second section into place as close to the middle of the part as possible to give the braids a good even balance.
  11. Depending on how close you want the braids to your head, you may want to add some strategically placed hairpins along the braids to hold them snugly against your head.
  12. Adorn the braids with flowers, jeweled butterfly pins, crystals, beads, floating hair jewels or anything that works well with the event. You also have the option to use jeweled hair clips or hair pins or barrettes instead of hairpins to anchor down the braids.

Other Options - Tiara Braids

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European Fall Fashion Shows 1999-2000

All Rights Reserved

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.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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