View Full Version : Hairstyle question

01-31-2014, 06:50 AM
One of my characters wears braids in a conservative style at work. In her private life, I want her to be able to loosen up and wear it down. Her hair is probably shoulder length.

How complicated is it to keep braiding and unbraiding? Would she do this every night? Only on weekends? Only when she's on a date?

This gives you a general idea of what I have in mind:

http://s14.postimg.org/vmu1snfnx/HAIR_BRAIDED_150_X180.jpg (http://postimage.org/)

When she wears her hair down, she wants to look sexy, so that would require a little more than just undoing the braids, wouldn't it?

Thanks in advance, ladies! :)

Little Anonymous Me
01-31-2014, 07:09 AM
Bad news: If her hair is only shoulder length, it's not long enough for those braids. I know because my hair is shoulder length, and I'd need another foot to achieve that look.

She would most likely need to braid every morning and unbraid every night. It's not comfortable or good for your hair to sleep in a tight braid like that (her hair will eventually split and break). And braids get torn up as you sleep on them. As to how long it would take her to get that style...depends on her skills and texture. I'm pretty good with my hair, and that's not something I could throw together in twenty minutes. Unbraiding is a cinch. Remove rubber bands, remove pins, and bam. Loose, crinkled hair that looks like it's been crimped. And it can be very poofy.

01-31-2014, 07:21 AM
You could get a good double French braid out of shoulder-length hair. You'd have to take the ends and do a little hidden tuck under the other braid to make it look more like that, but French braids or twists would work fine on shorter hair, particularly if there was gel on it or it was slightly damp while she braided it.

I do a lot of hair braiding, and at my best I could do a French braid in thirty seconds. Now I'm probably more two or three minutes on my own hair, but I'm fast enough to do it on a squirming two-year-old, so speed-wise it's not unreasonable that she'd be able to braid very quickly if she does it often. I think braiding her hair would take not much more (or even less) time than a lot of people spend styling. The hardest thing would be to get the part right and get the ends tucked, but again, if she's done it often she'll be able to do that easily.

As for taking it down, it depends on the texture of her hair. If she has hair with a little wave or curl to it and she braids them dry, she might be able to shake them out and run a brush through them and have it be fine. If she uses gel or has damp hair when she braids, then it's going to be very wavy when it comes down, and that can take a while to fall out. Depending on how she braids/twists it, she might like the waviness when she takes it down, or she might need to iron or curl it to get a different look.

It's also possible to sleep on braids requiring they're cared for and set in place properly. I've kept renaissance braids for three days before, and I've done the same style on friends (my goal in life was once to braid hair at ren fairs) and had them sleep on it before as well. If it's damp or gelled it will hold better through the night, and a recommendation is to wrap it in silk, which I never did because I didn't have a silk scarf. That sort of braid generally involves lots of bobby pins and takes a bit more time and effort to do, and you'll probably have to deal with some flyaways in the morning (damp comb and more pins), but if the braid is done well it should stay.

That being said, sleeping on a braid isn't particularly fun. If it's around the base of her head like that it might be okay, but with shorter hair she's going to have more of a problem with flyaways, and the pins are a pain when you roll over on them (IMO). Considering it would be a fairly simple style, I'd see no reason why she couldn't just wake up and spend a few minutes doing it before work. She'd probably spend as much time fixing it up as she would just doing it from scratch anyway.

01-31-2014, 07:33 AM
As mentioned, a braid you can wrap anywhere near like shown is butt length hair. Once practiced you can do it in the morning and take it out at night. It is uncomfortable to sleep on braided hair.

01-31-2014, 07:42 AM
Such great answers!

Thanks, all! You've given me plenty to go on. I don't intend to go into clinical detail about how she manages her do, but I needed to know how feasible it is for her to go from braids to no braids--daytime look versus evening look, etc. I may have to give her somewhat longer hair, and I'm hoping she can make the change without spending hours at the mirror. ;)

01-31-2014, 08:04 AM
I know that personally I have to spend more time on my hair with it short than I ever did long. When it was long I just ran a brush through it. Short I have to worry about it curling in funky ways, so I have to iron it more. So long doesn't automatically mean a lot of upkeep. In terms of braiding time longer hair will take more time just to get all the way to the ends, but as long as she doesn't need it wrapped around it can be relatively short and still braidable. My friend's daughters all have short hair (above shoulder-length) and I can braid their hair, I just have to be creative with the stubby ends. The longest (just above shoulders) I can actually put in little faux buns, though I imagine that would be difficult to do to yourself.

01-31-2014, 08:18 AM
Long hair worn braided and wrapped around the head, ime, needs some work to be presentable once it's unbraided. I have wavy hair that I wore long and braided in different ways when I was younger. When I unbraided it, it would be nearly straight and flat to my head where it had been pulled back and randomly crimped and puffy where it had been braided. Not attractive. These days, I'd probably take my trusty flatiron to it, but those didn't exist at the time.

01-31-2014, 08:24 AM
My sister and I both have thick, somewhat wavy hair - mine is down to the middle of my back; hers is down to her tailbone. I spend maybe two minutes on my hair in the mornings (just brushing it and maybe throwing it in a ponytail - I hardly ever do more than that). My sister does one or two braids all the time, sometimes coiled and sometimes not, and she'll french-braid it into the shape of a swan because it's a Tuesday, so I'm going to try to give some observation about think+wavy hair from both sides as well as I can:

1) if you shower in the morning, your hair WILL be at least a bit damp for hours. Blow-drying it gets the top layer, but the underlayers will still be damp. (I usually shower mid-day or in the evening for this reason.) Brushing it while wet is vital, but then you have to brush it again 30-60 minutes later or it will dry in a weird stringy look with flyaway frizzy bits.

2) If you braid your hair while wet, it will make some really sleek, nice-looking braids even without product in it. However, then it will be *really kinky* when you take the braids out - even if it was just a single, fairly loose braid to start with. Braiding while dry makes it harder to get a tight braid, but it comes out more easily.

3) Sleeping with a braid isn't so bad - I prefer mine loose, but my sister always braids her hair before bed. The key is to do a single loose braid without pulling your hair into a ponytail first, so you're only using one elastic (at the end of the braid) instead of two (one at your scalp and the other, smaller one at the end). Your hair will be messy in the morning, of course, but it does cut down on flyaway hair getting in your mouth (or your partner's face) while you sleep.

4) Braiding takes practice, but it goes really fast when you're good at it. It takes me several minutes to get my hair into some somewhat-lumpy-looking braids; it takes my sister less than two minutes to do hers and it comes out looking perfect every time.

5) Long hair is HEAVY! I go back and forth between ponytail and loose all day because over time, a braid or ponytail really pulls at your scalp and gives you a headache. (That's part of the reason I don't bother with a braid.)

6) Corollary to that: braids can get in the way. It's not comfortable to wear a ponytail-style braid or even a regular ponytail when you're driving long distances (can't lean your head back against the headrest) or riding a roller coaster. On the other hand, though, braided hair doesn't get stuck in the seatbelt mechanism whenever you unbuckle your seatbelt, and it doesn't fly up to stick in your face if you drive with the window open :-P

7) Depends a lot on genetics, of course, but longer hair doesn't need to be washed as often to look good. I shaved my head a few years back (donated 18 inches of ponytail, then cut everything else to <1") and I was really surprised at how greasy my hair looked/felt if I skipped a daily shower. Some women with longer hair use shower caps so they can shower in the morning and not deal with the wet hair thing; others just don't mind a less-than-daily schedule.

So yeah, there's a bunch of info you probably won't find helpful but now you know anyway. (And knowing is half the battle, right?)

01-31-2014, 08:50 AM
So, I've never worn my hair exactly as shown in the photo, but I have worn my hair in a crown braid without it being waist or small-of-the-back length. I'd say it had to be about mid-back length to put it up in a crown-braid. It really depends on the type of hair and how tight the braid is. So, well, longer than shoulder length! Also, if the character's hair is layered that will also affect the necessary length.

01-31-2014, 09:01 AM
I'm fairly certain you can do a crown braid at shoulder or even a little above as long as it's French braided. I've done a lot of braiding over the years on people who thought their hair was too short to be braided. With a French braid, because you're constantly adding in longer pieces as you go, the shorter pieces do end in the middle of the braid, but the longer pieces allow you to keep the braid going for longer than you could just braiding it plain. The difficulty here is making sure you don't end up with those shorter ends poking out, but again gel (or damp hair) and bobby pins can be a big help for that.

Here (http://churchyear.blogspot.com/2009/10/crown-braid-on-shoulder-length-hair.html)'s a person with a crown braid who says her hair is shoulder-length at the end of the post. It's a gorgeous braid. My hair is currently between my chin and shoulders, and I can do a double French braid on it easily without it coming out. I can't braid upside-down on my own hair, so I can't try a crown, but I imagine it would be harder to do and I'm not sure it would work, but I know I've done it on shoulder-length hair before with no problems. Again, a lot of it depends on thickness and texture. Super thick hair and super thin hair are more difficult to braid, in my experience. The thin hair gets wispy and can be harder to keep tight enough, and thick hair (especially short thick hair) can try to poke out more.

01-31-2014, 09:28 AM
Thanks again for all the great answers. You've really helped. I now have enough information to open a hair salon.

But I don't have the talent. :rolleyes: