Braids are always on trend for spring and summer (hello, festival season!), and once the weather gets muggy, they're one of the chicest ways to keep your hair off your face and neck. The key to creating the perfect plait (other than patience) is a no-slip grip, which can be difficult to achieve on soft, freshly washed hair. Such is why second or even third day strands are often your best bet.
But if you’re not a fan of the grungy greasy feel, fret not. There are now products that can give you just the right amount of texture and control without the actual dirt—and they’re made specifically for braids. Sound a bit gimmicky? We thought so too, which is why we asked Scunci hairstylist Laura Polko, who is coming off of Coachella and know the tricks of the trade, for her expert opinion. Here's why she recommends them: “Some products have the hold you need but make the hair too slippery while braiding, while others can offer the grip, but don’t hold the flyaways,” she says. With that said, here are a few that can provide the best of both worlds and will tighten up your hair braiding game:
The texturizing power of Oscar Blandi’s Pronto Braid Paste ($25; ulta.com) will help you mold your braids to perfection–even if your hair is squeaky clean. You can also use it to eliminate frizz and as you massage it in, you can give limp locks a fuller look.
The messier, the better, yes, but if your braids completely unravel by lunchtime, apply Redken Fashion Collection Braid Aid ($25; ulta.com) before you get weaving. Like hairspray, the formula will give your ‘do some extra staying power, but without the crunchy feel. For added security, Polko reccomends tying the ends with Scunci's clear Poly Bands elastics ($3; cvs.com), which won't damage your hair when it's time to remove the ties.
Technically, Ecru Silk Texturizing Balm ($33; ecrunewyork.com) isn’t just for braids, but it does provide effortless control and a healthy dose of moisture. Basically, your strands will stay in place but will still feel super smooth.
Polko's final words of wisdom? "Don't get frustrated," she says. "If it doesn't look perfect, that's great too. Simply loosen up the braid for a messier texture."