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First came bubble ponytails and now spring has ushered in bubble braids. Gigi Hadid recently experimented with a face-framing version for her birthday party and variations have been taking over Instagram. One take, in particular, brought some blooms to the fun, throwback braids. Hairstylist Matt Newman strung dandelions through his playful plaits and I haven't stopped thinking about the floral-studded, spring look since I saw it on Instagram.
Every day when I take my dog to the park, I spot clusters of yellow flowers and feel inspired to recreate his ethereal, garden-goddess bubble braids. We might as well put those wildflowers to good use, right?
Newman believes the recent wave of Y2K nostalgic style trends brought bubble braids back into the mix. But, more importantly, while everyone is stuck on Zoom and FaceTime, they're "a clear expression of style that fits onto the screen," he tells Allure. Newman also points out that bubble braids are easy to master and don't need to be flawless to be cute. "A little texture and asymmetry only add to the style," he continues.
Plus, as the weather heats up, hairstylist Justin Marjan (who just so happened to inspire Newman's dandelion bubble braids) adds the look is an easy-yet-chic way to keep your hair out of your face.
If you're worried that your hair texture or length might not work with the sassy spheres, Newman says bubble braids work with any hair type and most haircuts. Of course, longer hair with minimal layers will be the easiest to work with, Marjan notes, but you can easily adjust for shorter, more layered cuts. "I also think they look absolutely amazing on curly hair types," she says.
You'll absolutely need elastics or hair ties and for those with finer hair, Newton says you can reach for tiny, thin elastics, like Scünci's Polybands. Thicker, textured hair calls for thicker ponytail holders, such as the Goody Ouchless Elastic Hair Ties, which are less likely to get tangled in your strands. Marjan loves to use ties that contrast with her clients' hair color and has become a fan of Útiles Beauty's hair ties.
Scünci Mixed Size Polybands in Zippered Pouch Clear – 300pc
A rattail comb and sectioning clips may come in handy if you prefer precision and tidiness, Newman adds.
Once you have your hair ties, you can get to bubbling up your hair. First, split your hair into two pigtails and secure below each ear, Newman says. For the sleekest take on the look, Marjan recommends misting hairspray onto your roots before smoothing your hair back with a boar- or nylon-bristled brush.
Tresemmé Compressed Micro-Mist Hairspray
With another set of elastics, secure a section half an inch below the first to form the first bubble. Then, pinch the outer edges the gently pull the bubble open, Newman says. "If the bubble looks too flat, pinch the front and back of it and gently pull open to enhance the spherical shape," he adds. From there, repeat that step until you get to the end of each pigtail.
Marjan suggests you can tease the hair at the base of that first elastic to create the base for the bubble effect before adding the second hair tie. Then, a spritz of hairspray will help tame any flyaways.
Just imagine this with some flowers sprouting from each section.
To ensure even spacing, "you can try using your fingers as a guide, making each the length of two knuckles or whatever spacing you desire," Marjan says. And for very symmetrical bubble braids, stand in front of the mirror and keep your head straight – not tilted to one side. "This will help you create bubbles that line up on both sides," Newman adds.
If you have a lot of layers and want to limit the amount of hair poking out of your bubbles, you can just make more. "Make smaller sections that are closer together to keep the layers neatly tucked into each elastic," Newman explains.
Want to add some bright blossoms to your bubble braids like Newman? You'll want to pick dandelions (or any other wildflower of your choice) with a strong stem that "won't be snapped by the elastics," he advises. "Also, keep the stem long to make it easier to work with, then break off the excess after attaching the flower."
To make sure the flowers stay in place, pull the elastic and slide the flower in. If you're having difficulty doing so, the end of a rattail comb helps, Newman notes. Another option is to hold the flower in place on the pigtail and secure the elastic around both the stem and the section of hair.
Oh yeah, bubble braids also work double duty. Once you take out the hair ties and dandelions, you'll be left with a brand-new style: heatless, beachy waves. This is a second-day hairstyle I definitely will be working into my spring beauty routine.
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