To celebrate the holiday season, uber-talented special occasion stylist (and a MODERN favorite to follow!) Katie D’Souza of Ontario’s Bridal Hair Couture by Katie collaborated with a team of pros to create an editorial photoshoot that screams holiday.
“Our theme was Christmas Angels,” D’Souza says. “One of the designers, Maret, spent more than 90 hours creating large paper wings for our models so I wanted the hair to complement the wings, which were the main feature for the shoot.”
Once the Christmas Angels theme was established, D’Souza knew she wanted to somehow incorporate braids to create an airy, feminine finish.
“Braids are just so ethereal and can be manipulated in so many ways,” D’Souza says. “I chose to create the milkmaid style where the hair is coiled around the head because it looks like a halo or crown, perfect for any angel!”
D’Souza used a traditional fishbone braiding technique because of the way the texture mimics the same design and pattern as a feather, perfect for the angel wing theme.
“Prior to the shoot, we were told that we only had 45 minutes with each model,” she says. “As with any styled shoot, preparation is key. You don't want your ideas not to come to fruition because of a lack of time or resources.”
First, she requested pictures of her models in advance to get a heads up on the color, length and texture of their hair. “Through this, I discovered their hair was on the fine side, mid length. I decided to do a lot of the work beforehand by creating two sets of large braids from a premium line of protein hair purchased from my local beauty supplier. This ensured the main body of my work was done prior and I could just work on incorporating my already styled braids into the natural hair.”
STEP 1: Using a premium line of protein hair weave—“I used Kanubia, Easy 7 Natural Protein Hair,”—create two large ponytails and secure with a snag-free elastic.
STEP 2: Begin braiding each ponytail into a fishbone braid, stopping every 4 inches to pull and blossom the braid, then secure the ends with an elastic.
STEP 3: Once you have taken the time to prep your hair pieces and shape them into the desired texture, set aide and begin working with your model/client.
STEP 4: Prep hair using a small dose of a texturizing spray. “I use Keune Sea Salt Spray!” and take time blow drying it into the hair using a round brush. Once your product is worked through, use a flat iron—she used GHD Platinum—to create soft waves throughout the hair, also adding more texture for hold.
CREATE THE LOOK
STEP 1: Begin at the crown. Section the crown out 3 inches wide and deep and lightly backcomb to prevent any parting on the crown. Spray with a medium holding spray. She used Keune Society Hairspray Forte and, using a back-combing brush, smooth out the crown to create a nice, rounded shape. Lightly clip the crown away and move to working at the nape.
STEP 2: Using the end of your tail comb, spilt the hair into two sections and create two small ponytails at the nape. Taking both your pre-made braids and the ponytails you just created, incorporate both the into one elastic. You should now have two braided ponytails. Weave or twist the loose, natural hair around the braid and through the parts in the braid at the base of the ponytails. “You should have a lovely, soft shape surrounding the base of the braids which will act as the chignon part of the updo later on,” she says. “Ensure you use any of the natural hair to hide any seams of the artificial hair at the base of the nape.”
STEP 3: Drop the crown down and pin at the nape, between the two braids and secure. This hair will also be incorporated into the chignon at the end.
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STEP 4: Move to the front and create a side part beginning at the arch of the eyebrow (her favorite zone for side parts). Section the sides from ear to ear and create two more fish bone braids on either side. pulling and loosening the braids as you go. Ensure you also leave out some tethers of hair at the temple area and in front of the ear. TIP: Pull and blossom your braids as you go. Roughly every 4 inches. Don't wait until the braid is complete as it will be too tight to loosen.
STEP 5: Once the four braids are ready, begin to place them in a halo fashion around the head. Begin with the front braids; criss-crossing them and secure with bobby pins just above the nape and below the crown. Move to work on the large artificial braids, pulling them back on themselves in reverse and criss-cross at the top of the head. You should now have a complete braided halo! Feel free to also add any extra bobby pins in under your braids to ensure they are shaped well around the head.
STEP 6: At the nape of the neck, take your loose ends of natural hair and roll up into a soft chignon or loose bun, leaving out a few tethers of hair at the very lower hairline. Polish your look by lightly curling loose hair around the hair line and adding a few puffs of texture powder to them. She uses Keune Volume Powder as this will keep your hairline curls from becoming stringy and will maintain an airy feel. Secure your entire look using a non-aerosol gel spray— D'Souza uses Keune Graphic Design Spray—and a little shot of shine spray to make those braids sparkle. “My favorite is Keune Brilliant Spray!”