I feel like I am the only girl who grew up not learning how to braid my own hair. My mother wasn’t really the girly type. She didn’t put sweet pigtailed french braids in my hair nor sweep a beautiful fish tail braid down the side. So, ponytails {and let’s be real honest, bad at-home perms!} it was. Even as an adult, I’m still not an expert in the hair department. If we’re getting all honest – I can’t even use a curling iron! So for beauty month, I called in a professional to teach us a thing or two about the hottest trends in hair: braids! 

Erin Dudley is one of my favorite San Francisco-based makeup artists and she not only can make your face look flawless, but also your hair! We’re so excited to have her share some of her best hair styles for novices like me! First up, the side braid.


Thankfully, Bianca volunteered to be our model as you do need slightly longer hair for these styles to really shine.

Step 1: Blow out hair with round brush the day before – hair should be at least a day dirty. {for volume, Erin recommends Keratese Volume Active Shampoo and mousse}
Step 2: Overextend your part to one side
Step 3: Take the front pieces of your hair and start braiding, incorporate pieces into the front as you go down the side of the face. Once you hit your ear, start incorporating pieces further back from the length of your hair and have them come forward – you want to make an “S” shape braid so that it flows naturally into the waves
Step 4: Secure with small rubber bands {Erin’s favorites: silicone rubber bands by Studio 35 Beauty}
Step 5: Go back through the braid and push it apart with your thumb and index finger for a less “done” look- use the same motion you would use when spreading a deck of cards in your hands
Step 6: Wrap a small piece of hair around the rubberband to hide it and pin the end of that piece up into the braid with a small bobby pin
Step 7: (optional) Curl the remaining hair with a big curling iron for a wavy, tassled look

I love the way the hair is a bit messier. It gives it an edgy, laid back feel. This look definitely feels a bit more feminine and young – so we asked Erin to rough things up a bit for the next tutorial. We adore what she came up with!


Note: To achieve this look, your hair length should to beat least several inches past your shoulder.

Step 1: Make sure hair is at least a day dirty & use a flat iron to smooth it out {Erin recommends using a smoothing serum to really smooth out hair shaft}
Step 2: Put your hair in a high ponytail at the back of the crown of your head
Step 3: Flip ponytail forward and braid towards your face {keep the braid loose}
Step 4: Secure the braid with an elastic band
Step 5: You can tuck the end of the braid underneath, towards the ponytail for more of a faux hawk braid look. We pinned the braid in an “S” shape towards the face. You can get creative and pin the braid whichever way looks best!
Step 7: Spray with hairspray {Erin’s favorite: Elnett by L’oreal in Strong Hold Satin finish}


This is perfect for those days you’d throw your hair up in a top bun, but would rather opt for something a bit more original and funky! This braid updo is so easy – literally you’re braiding your ponytail, flipping it and pinning however you want. Erin pinned the braid in a slight curve, off to one side for an asymmetrical look. I love the idea of just pinning the braid under to create a braided faux hawk- so fun! I told Bianca she has to rock this look at least once a week.

Be sure to come back next week because we’ll be sharing Erin’s tutorial for a fool proof makeup look that you won’t want to miss!

original photography for apartment 34 by Emily Scott // Headshot c/o Erin Dudley // Hair Styling by Erin Dudley // Art Direction by Erin Hiemstra

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Ha. I just recently gave up all dreams of braided up-do’s and chopped my hair off…like anne hathaway off. But I still harbour some crazy braid envy.

    1. Woo, chopped hair … my other hair fear! Though it does sound appealing when I’m burning myself with the curling iron!!

  2. this is so beautiful … i have to try this! I’ve spent years growing out my hair, and it would be a shame to just tie it up in a regular ponytail now!