Caidy Brasure (caidy_caidymariebeauty), has nailed the bridal braid game, completing close to 100 weddings a year. “Braids are one of my most highly requested services,” the Michigan based Brasure says. “I am also a featured partner with The Knot and have been awarded The Knot Best of Weddings seven years in a row.” Putting a stamp on those credits, Brasure has been placed in The Knot Hall of Fame!

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MODERN reached out to Brasure, a MODERN Artist Connective member, to get her tips on creating the perfect braid. Here she shares her top seven:

1. CONSULTATION: Consultation in any service is number one. It’s important that you and your client are on the same page and communicate throughout the service to ensure the client’s vision is achievable. Key questions to ask during your braiding consult include the type of braid she would like to have, the size of the braid and the structure of the braid. It’s also important to know if she would like her braid more polished or more undone, as this will determine the amount of tension used to create the braid.

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2. CLEAN SECTIONING: Clean sectioning is key. Even if you plan on having a large, undone looking braid, you still want to ensure clean partings as you work. I personally love to use the Pink Pewter Never Let Go Comb because you are able to hold onto it while you work. Creating accurate sectioning will ensure accurate results. Also, don’t be afraid to re-comb the hair strands as you work through your braid to ensure no hair strands are getting tangled at the ends. 

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3. TENSION AND CONSISTENCY: How tight or how lose you hold onto the hair during your braiding will determine the end result. If you have a firm tension, the braid will result to being more polished. If the hair has a lighter hold as you work, the finished braid will become undone, with possible pieces falling out as you work, which is ideal for a ‘boho’ look. Be sure to keep the same tension throughout the entire braid to ensure consistency from start to finish. Determining the type of structure your client wants to have during their consultation will help guide you with how much tension you should use while working.

4. SECURING THE BRAID: Once you’re ready to secure your braid, use a small clear elastic to hold the ends in place. If you do not want the elastic to show, you can wrap a small amount of hair around the elastic, pull the hair through the elastic once covered, and lock in place with some Finishing Spray. For extra security you can apply bobby pins throughout the braid as well.

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5. ADDING BULK: Braiding can use a lot of the hair so when consulting with your guest on what type of braid she would like to have, it’s important to communicate desired size. Skinnier textured hair may result in too much hair needed to create the braid, leaving ‘holes’ in the hair. A way to eliminate this without the hair looking frizzy from over backcombing is to add hair extensions. Just a few extensions will allow the braid to have the fullness your client wants, without eliminating hair from other areas of their head. Crimping is another option. Slightly crimping the hair will allow added texture before you even begin braiding, expanding the hair strands, and creating a more voluminous look. 

6.  PROPER USE OF PRODUCTS: I love using a light-weight oil or serum while braiding to ensure the hair strands stay clean and within their own sections. Some of my favorite products to use for this are Sexy Hair Love Oil, Alfaparf Cristalli Liquidi and Design.ME Gloss Me. Once completing your braid, and if interested in adding texture to create and larger, more full braid, I will apply Amika Un.Done throughout the braid. Once this step is complete, I will slightly pull the hair where I want more fullness, while pinching down the section under it to ensure the braid does not come out of place. Once the desired size is achieved, applying a finishing spray will help lock it into place. I recommend a matte finishing spray since the serums and oils used have already a shine finish. Adding an additional shine spray may add an oily finish to the braid. 

7. FINISHING AND POLISHING: There are two ways to address unruly strands that interfere with the final silhouette. First is to apply a thermal protectant to those pieces and brush through to ensure even distribution. Think about it - you would never put your hand in an oven without an oven mitt, so why put your hair through that same stress and damage? Polish these mini strands with a mini Amika Styler to give you as much control as possible. Smooth from root to ends, turning the styler under at the ends to help tuck those loose pieces in to the braid. The second option is to spray a firming hairspray onto a teasing brush (my personal favorite is the Olivia Garden Style-Up Mixed Folding Teasing Brush.) Tilt the brush back and brush the pieces left out into place. The hairspray mixed with the boar and nylon bristles will offer more control so that you can push those strands into the rest of the hair and stay in place. You can also use the pointed end of the brush to help direct the unruly or frizzy strands.