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Making braids feel fresh doesn’t take crazy basket weaving skills or hours of patient twining. Sometimes reinvention is about going back to basics. The four looks shown here are minor variations on a simple pair of pigtail braids. But changes in texture, accessories, and tension create four very different moods. Click the style notes for step by step instructions. –– Laura Martin

Wild West Tails: Mist strands with hydro mist and brush through. Divide hair from forehead to nape, creating two even sections. Clip left side away. Divide right side into three uneven sections and braid, using moderate tension until the thinnest strand runs out. Secure with a clear band. mist hands with shine spray and run through ends. Repeat on the opposite side. Finish with holding spray. Top with a hat.

Eastern Influence Tails: Mist hair with healing oil and brush through. Divide down the center and clip left side away. Pull a thin strand loose from the front hairline on each side and clip forward. Break up right side into 3 even sections. Mist each section with holding spray and brush through. Braid sections very tightly to about 3” from ends. Secure with a clear hair band. Repeat on opposite side. Release small sections in front. pull a dab of defining cream through each.

Winged Tails: Pull a dab of hair creme through strands, tips to roots and brush through. Divide from forehead to nape. Clip left side away. At the front hairline of the right side, section out three small pieces. Cross each side over the center once, then add more hair to the back section and repeat. Keep tension at the front hairline, along the edge of the face and repeat, always adding hair to the back section. Braid to ends, secure and repeat on opposite side. Top with a beaded headband.

Fluffy Tails: Start with a full head of tight curls. Mist liberally with healing oil and brush through creating fluff texture. Divide in the center. Braid each side, using minimal tension, about two thirds of the way down. secure with a clear band. refine ends. Top with cozy hat if desired.

Special thanks to Laura Martin, senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, for sharing professional hairstyling advice with Style Noted

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