Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Braidy Bunch

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Braidy Bunch

Article excerpt

Byline: NAMALEE BOLLE

The braidy bunch Braiding is back, but there's a right way (J-Lo) and a wrong way (Melanie Griffiths), says Namalee Bolle WHO would have thought that not washing your hair for weeks on end would ever be in?

Yet the hottest hairstyle around doesn't require shampoo or styling aids.

Braiding is back: J-Lo, Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Foxy Brown and every other hot R'n'B laydee under the sun have been seen sporting ghetto-fab braids recently. If you're after a hairdo to match your flash Versace getup, Chloe batty riders and Chanel bling bling, it has to be braiding. And it's not just for girls, either - this is a unisex trend that is sweeping across all areas of popdom. Puff Daddy, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Jay-Zee are also fans.

"Braids are back partly because of the 1980s revival, but mainly because of the massive impact J-Lo has had on fashion," says Errol Douglas, braid expert and hairdresser to the stars. "It's also a result of multiracial influences.

Braids aren't just for women with Afro hair."

I decide to transform myself into a contemporary fly girl at the Errol Douglas hair salon in Belgravia. I have chosen "cornrows" - plaits which run in vertical rows close to the head, as opposed to "brandy braids", which are thicker, a la Lauryn Hill. Cornrows, thankfully, only take two and a half hours to complete rather than the usual

seven hours for a full head of mini-braids. Starting from the centre of my scalp, stylist Simone parts rows of hair and starts plaiting from the hairline down, her nimble fingers smoothing over my split ends with a wax/gel hybrid to make the plaits stay in longer. "This might pull a bit," she warns.

But, surprisingly, the process is fairly painless, except around my temples where I let out a couple of polite squeals.

"Don't make me look like Melanie Griffiths," I plead, leafing through a copy of Hello! …

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