There’s just something about braids that makes us crave them come summer. They transition flawlessly from casual to formal. They survive whatever summer fun you throw at them. And while they’re visually intriguing enough that they’re practically an accessory in their own right, they never seem to come across as fussy or overly contrived. Really, what’s not to love?
Ahead are a few of our favorite options for summer—sorted by difficulty, to set you up for success.
Beginner: The Fishtail
If you haven’t mastered the fishtail braid yet, it’s probably only because you think the style is trickier to achieve than it actually is. Fortunately, it’s deceptively simple.
Start by spraying your hair with texturizing spray (or try Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo). It adds grip, meaning your style stays in place longer—and looks just the right amount of fussed.
Split your hair into two equal sections. Grab a strand of hair (start with a finger’s width for thin hair or an inch for thick hair, but feel free to play around with it) from the outside of the left section, and pull it across your hair to join the section on the right. Then, repeat with the right section.
Continue to desired length, and secure with an elastic. If you want a looser look, simply gently pull outwards on the edges of the braid after securing.
Fishtails are pretty durable, but if your hair doesn’t hold a style well, you can always finish with a spritz of Aveda Air Control.
Intermediate: Crown Braid
Whether you’re living it up at a music festival, hanging by the beach, or touring around a new city on foot, this look has you covered—it’s warm weather compatible in all the right ways.
Though there are plenty of techniques for achieving it, some are easier than others. Our favorite starts with emulsifying Aveda Control Paste and applying throughout clean, dry hair to enhance hold and grip.
Split hair into two sections. Starting at your part, begin braiding down along your face toward your neck. To create the wreath-like effect, only feed the braid with strands of hair from the crown of your head—not from along your face.
Stop adding to the braid once you reach the nape of the neck, but continue braiding as usual until you reach the end of the hair in that section. Repeat on the other side.
Pull the braids apart a bit (or massage) to add texture, if desired. Then, loop each braid up and secure with pins.
Allen Ruiz illustrates it all perfectly in this tutorial. Give it a watch if you’re more of a visual learner!
Advanced: Waterfall Braid
This Pinterest-worthy look is not nearly as complicated as it first seems—but it does take a little bit of practice to master it. Here, Aveda Institute student Emily breaks it down in a way that makes it feel surprisingly manageable.
All you need: a few bobby pins, a little bit of patience, and a light spritz of hair spray to finish the style off.
Expert: Kate Bosworth’s Coachella Braid
Let’s call this one a bonus braid. Ever since we saw Kate Bosworth rocking this style at Coachella, we haven’t been able to get it off our minds. Here’s how to make it happen.
Start with second day hair (or a bit of dry shampoo to add texture), parted in the center. Grab a piece of hair—no more than a centimeter thick—from the crown of your scalp, right where your center part ends.
Begin to braid hair, moving toward your forehead. Pick up small strands of hair as you go—this helps anchor the braid and create the effect you see on Kate. (Think of it as a tiny French braid along the scalp). Pulling the pieces under, rather than over, each other helps the braid stand up.
Once you reach your forehead, secure with a bobby pin or two, pushed into the braid to conceal it. Split the strand and secure behind your ears with more bobby pins.
Now all you need is a VIP festival pass and a swoonworthy embroidered jacket. And once you’ve mastered these looks, that’s kid stuff.
P.S. Wherever your summer takes you, make sure sun protection is along for the ride! Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil keeps your color vibrant and your hair healthy—and has a heavenly citrus aroma.