There’s nothing like a fuss-free, easy-to-recreate updo. And what’s even better is when said hairstyle can take you from the gym, into work to a night on the town. That’s why the bubble braid, a playful yet simple hairstyle, is gaining in popularity with all types of hair. Good Housekeeping asked celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons for all the details for the popular style, plus step-by-step instructions for how to do a bubble braid on your own har at home.
What are bubble braids?
A bubble braid is a playful twist on a traditional ponytail, Fitzsimons says. In fact, it’s actually not a braid at all. “Instead, it’s putting your hair up in a ponytail and tying it evenly spaced throughout with elastic bands in a way that resembles bubbles,” he explains. Consider it a trendy upgrade to this otherwise classic style.
FYI: Bubble braids are so versatile and can be recreated on all hair types, Fitzsimons says. A quick Google search will bring up bubble braids on curly hair, bubble braids that look like pigtails and even bubble braids incorporated into half-up, half-down styles.
And even though you’ll mostly see this style on long hair, short hair gals can wear it too, though your ponytail may be shorter than you’d like. “To remedy this, you can play around with the placement and amount of bubble braids on your ponytail," Fitzsimons says, "or consider adding hair extensions."
How to style bubble braids
Thankfully, the bubble braid process is pretty simple and straight-to-the-point. Whether you want to try a single bubble braid, small bubble braids or bubble braid pigtails, this tutorial will help you create any kind of style.
Apply your styling product. “Use your styling cream to create a frizz-free canvas to work with, which also helps hold the style in place,” he suggests. If you have fine hair, stick to a lightweight cream so your hair won’t look greasy or weighed down. Thicker and textured hair types can choose a medium to heavy styling cream or butter that helps to keep moisture locked-in throughout the day.
Create the ponytail. Now that your hair is primed with your styling product, it’s time to pull your hair up. “Bring your hair up into a slicked-back ponytail at the height that works best for you, and wrap it with an elastic at the point closest to your scalp,” Fitzsimons says. At this point, you can also decide how many bubble braids you’d like to create for your style. If you’re looking to do bubble braid pigtails, part hair in half down the middle and secure two ponytails, one on both sides of the head. If you want a half-up, half-down bubble braid, split the hair horizontally and secure the bottom portion of the hair in an elastic to separate. Then, secure the top portion of the hair into a ponytail.
Add your elastics. You can totally customize your bubble braid to be uniquely you. “Add another elastic hair tie a few inches down from the initial one, and continue to add more further down at equal distances,” Fitzsimons recommends. There’s no need to get out a ruler for this, but be sure to keep the space between elastics as uniform as possible. This will result in a more professional-looking braid. To add even more personality to this look, consider using colorful elastics.
Create the bubbles. Once you’ve added all of your elastics, loosen the hairs between them by pulling at each section to create a ‘bubble’ look, he says. If you have naturally thick hair, this process will be super easy. Those with fine or thin hair, you may want to tease the strands or even add a thickening spray for bigger bubbles.
Finish the look. Once your bubbles are complete, Fitzsimons recommends lightly spritzing hairspray all over to set the style in place and avoid any stray hairs or flyaways. You can also add your own styling pizazz, from bedazzled headbands to flowy hair scarves, the possibilities are endless.
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