There are so many braided updos out there these days that it takes a really impressive one to make us sit up and take notice. But thanks to fashion “It” girl Kiernan Shipka, we’ve got a new favorite: the braided Mohawk. Shipka stepped out this week in Los Angeles rocking this edgy but still elegant look. Her hairstylist Kylee Heath says she and Shipka were inspired by faux-hawks and wanted to create their own “cool and youthful but soft” version. Here’s how to get the look, if you’re brave enough to attempt it at home.
In order for any great updo to last, you need to prep your hair correctly. Heath started by applying Oscar Blandi Jasmine Protein Mist on Shipka’s damp hair and then blew it out—using her hands, no brush—until it was about 80 percent dry. Heath then finished with a round brush to give it more volume. “I put the front middle section back in a Velcro roller to give that area some height and also to keep it out of the way for later,” Heath says.
Once Shipka’s hair was completely dry, Heath sprayed Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Styling Heat Protect Spray on it and curled random sections with the Sultra The Bombshell One-Inch Rod Curling Iron to add texture.
For the updo, Heath separated the left and right sides of Shipka’s hair and a section at the very front and began to work with what remained. Starting at Shipka’s crown, she made a small ponytail. “I then made a ponytail underneath the first one, and then one under that, all the way down the head until all of her hair was pulled up,” says Heath. There were six ponytails in all, each about an inch thick. After they were secure, she teased each one, and then, working from the top, twisted and knotted each one together down the back of Shipka’s head, pinning them into place. “There was no set order here,” says Heath. “I just wanted them to flatter her head shape and be messy but not too rock and roll—still pretty.”
Once the back of Shipka’s hair was done, Heath took the front sections, and starting from the top, pulled them into an inside-out French braid. “After I finished the braid, I pulled it apart a little just to add texture,” says Heath. “Finally, I twisted it back and knotted it like the ponytails, joining it with the lower faux-hawk.” She finished by spraying the whole thing with Shu Uemura Art of Hair Sheer Lacquer Micro-Fine Finishing Spray.
“Creating this look with little ponytails makes it very easy to do at home since they provide a strong foundation that keeps the hair tight so you can work on the details afterward,” says Heath. Shipka’s hair looked similar to a couple of hairstyles we created with Sally Hershberger stylist Matt Fugate. Here’s how to create our version of the braided faux-hawk:
You could also try our segmented ponytail for a slightly easier style:
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