Hair: Nick Stenson, Michelle O’Connor, Dilek, Onur-Taylor, Hope Doms, Ammon Carver (photo...
Hair: Nick Stenson, Michelle O’Connor, Dilek, Onur-Taylor, Hope Doms, Ammon Carver (photo credit: Gabor Jurina)Gabor Jurina

For the cover of our April 2016 special-occasion issue, we entertained many ideas of what would best tell the story of what’s happening in the beauty world in April. Summer brides are beginning hair trials, salons are booking prom appointments, and trendy hairstyles for music festival attendees are being pinned left and right.

We had a challenge picking an image that best showcased a trend fit for all of those occasions—until we found this look created by The Salon by InStyle Design Team. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one definitely includes “wedding,” “bride,” “prom” and “festival.”

Poke around online for even a few moments and it’s clear that braids are the number-one trend this season as they can be dressed up, or dressed down, paired with hair jewelry, texturized or “fattened-up,” and can be customized for any occasion.

“Braids used to originate in the back of the head—you would start with a ponytail and then create a braid from there,” says Nick Stenson, senior creative artistic director for The Salon by InStyle inside JCPenney and a Matrix artistic director, who is also the editor in chief of Expert Edge magazine for jcp stylists, and the host of the Live With Nick show. “Now, professionals and clients have started to see we can do a lot more with braids in all different shapes and all different placements.”

To create this “daisy chain” look, which was one of 100 styles created for jcp salon’s lookbook, Stenson and the design team used a microcrimper to help bulk up the model’s hair and create the illusion of thickness. The chain gets a sophisticated touch through the knot detailing at the top, and the cascading waterfall effect along the side.

“This bohemian look can be perfect for a younger clientele giving the illusion of a half up/half down style, or can be translated into a more formal look and wrapped up into a chignon,” says Stenson, who worked closely with the InStyle Design Team to create the braid—Artistic Regional Managers Michelle O’Connor, Dilek Onur-Taylor and Hope Doms, and L’anza Global Artistic Director Ammon Carver.

“A lot of hairdressers get caught up with not knowing what to charge for braids because it’s not an official updo, or if it’s not listed on the salon menu,” Stenson says. “Special occasion is updos, down ’dos—it’s hair that takes more work and involves more intricate details for a high-fashion end result. Don’t be afraid to charge for your craft.”

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