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4 Tricks to Master the Waterfall Braid

  • Nathan Martin

    Use Your Curling Iron

    Adding soft waves to your strands gives this style a polished vibe. Wash your hair, separate it into four sections and blow-dry each one smooth. Using a curling iron with the tip pointed down, wrap one-inch-wide sections of hair around the barrel and away from your face, leaving the ends out (you'll get a bend rather than a ringlet). Try the Hot Tools Professional Gold Tapered Curling Iron 1 1/4" ($47, for stores); its cone-shaped barrel produces natural-looking waves. Spritz on a dry texturizing spray like Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray ($24, to add body and extra grip. Gently comb the ends of your hair to keep them from tangling.

    Related: See a Step-by-Step Waterfall Braid Tutorial

  • Nathan Martin

    Side-Part Your Hair

    Side-part your hair. On the side with more hair, gather a small triangular section. Split that into three parts—1, 2, and 3 as shown—and begin a regular braid.

  • Nathan Martin

    Weave It

    Grab a new section of hair [4] from the bottom of the braid (as you would for a French braid), drop 3 to create the waterfall effect, and continue braiding with 4. Then, pick up a new section of hair from the top of the braid [5] and drop 4. Repeat this process—alternately weaving in new hair from the bottom and top of the braid and dropping the last section of hair you worked with—until the braid reaches just past the center of the back of your head. Secure it with an elastic. For a thicker braid, use larger sections of hair; for a tighter braid, use smaller ones. As you're braiding, keep your hands close to your head. If you hold them too high or far away, you'll end up with a loose braid. Just think of it as an arm workout!

  • Nathan Martin

    Connect the Sides

    Gather a section of hair from the other side of your part and pull it back to meet your braid. Fasten the sections together with a matte bobby pin like one of the Goody Colour Collection Slide-Proof Bobby Pins ($5 each, drugstores), which grips hair so it won't slip out.