Braids are all the rage! I just got the scoop from owner and lead stylist of SalonCapri in Newton and Dedham, MA, Nick Penna Jr. on how to do the technique for a "conch shell" braid! This versatile style can take your clients from day to night, beach wedding to elegant evening affair and everything in between. This look works best on hair that's been washed the day or night before you plan to style it. Penna says you want the natural texture of your hair to assist you in keeping the braid intact.

The Conch Shell Braid!—Get the How-to!


1.)   Begin this look with a great blow-dry, Penna's go to product to use on hair before he blowdries it is Shu Uemura’s Kaze Wave, a texturizing mousse that adds ample volume with texture to hair.

2.)   Once hair is fully dry, use a brush to bring hair over to one side of the head. You want to create the illusion that there is no part on the client.

3.)   The key in beginning the braid is to start it about a half inch away from the forehead, so it’s not too dramatic and tight. There should be a little bit of looseness so the look appears carefree and not severe.

4.)   For added volume, lightly tease the front of the hair where the braid’s starting point is, especially if the client has thinner hair. Use a fine tooth comb and hairspray to amp up the volume.

5.)   Using the normal technique for creating a fishtail braid, begin the braid. Penna always likes to keep a shaping cream or wax handy to aid his fingers in keeping the braid in place.

6.)   When you complete about 10 rotations of the fishtail braid, begin to coil the braid’s creation to the left (think the shape of snail shell), heading towards the crown of the client’s head. You want to make the curve noticeable, not subtle.

7.)   Finish the fishtail as normal and tie with a clear or hair-colored elastic band.

8.)   As you would create a normal bun, turn the braided ponytail around in a circular manner, also similar to a seashell’s shape. When all of the hair is in a bun-like shape, take the end of the hair and pin it in or under the bun using hair-colored bobby pins. You want the finish product to appear unfastened, so every tool used to secure the look must be hidden.

9.)   To complete the look, liberally applying secure hold hairspray to make sure the style stays put whether the client is headed to a dance or just a dinner date.

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