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Tips and tricks for braiding your hair

How to protect hair from the elements with fabulous, functional braids



Wind, rain, sleet, sun — the weather's been unpredictable lately, which can wreak havoc on hair. A simple solution for windblown, dry or uncooperative hair is to tuck it away in a ponytail or bun, where it stays put all day. But these looks can be uninspiring. Janina Padilla, a hairstylist at Mariposa Salon & Spa (3700 Orleans Ave., Suite D, 504-484-0440;, recommends spicing up a hairstyle with braids.

  "With this weather, you always want to put your hair up in a bun or something, but that's why braids are great," Padilla says. "You can pull it away in a style that's different from a bun or ponytail and it can be used for the same purpose: to keep the hair away from the face and protect it from the weather."

  Braided hairstyles might appear complex, but the only necessary tools are small elastic bands, bobby pins, a comb, hairspray and imagination.

  "Anyone can do a braid," Padilla says. "You can do all kinds of things and make it fun. Curly hair holds the shape better. For people with straight hair, I give it a little wave before I start so it will hold bobby pins."

  Padilla recommends looking online for simple braid styles like the French braid, waterfall braid or fishtail braid. It can be difficult to braid your own hair, she says, but it is OK if the braid is a little disheveled. "That's the beauty of the braid — it can be messy," Padilla says. "I don't believe braids are meant to be perfect."

  For extra flair, Padilla recommends accessorizing braids with a scarf or colorful hairpiece. With or without accessories, these styles brighten up a blustery day while preparing hair for anything Mother Nature might have in store.

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