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3-Strand Slide-Up "S" Braid Updo

Sam Villa

Author Sam Villa | CO-FOUNDER SAM VILLA©


I’m really excited about the "S" Braid right now, it'’s a simple braid that’s really eye catching and perfect for when you want to control your hair and/or create beach waves. It’'s a dual-purpose braid because it’'s great for visual character (think hippie couture) and it can also be used as a set for natural organic texture.

When I learned braiding back in the ‘80’s, I remembered how we used to use different colored gimp to weave key chains and friendship bracelets at summer camp, so I tied three different colored ropes to a chair to practice and establish my braiding rhythm. Consistent rhythm is the key to successful braiding. If you have a mannequin, you could also clip three strands of colored string to the crown of the head and practice braiding around and down the head. If you loose your rhythm you lose the visual flow of the braid - the pattern won’t be consistent. Remember, when working towards the inside, your braid will sit underneath and when working towards the outside, your braid will sit on top. I like the "S" Braid to be underneath, so I work it towards the inside.

A lot of people are taking sections by the front temple areas, braiding them and then pulling hair across the back of the occipital and gripping. The "S" Braid Pick Up can also be used to create more intricate looks. Here’s how to do it:

3-Strand Slide-Up "S" Braid

  • Work with 2 triangle sections and a center or deep side part. The braiding method is easy – palm, pinch, cross over and move to the center
  • Create three sections in the first triangle and mentally label them Left, Center and Right (L,C,R) – you will not be adding or picking up any additional hair to these sections.
  • Place the L section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
  • Place the R section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
  • Place the L section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
  • Place the R section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
  • Continue rhythm for a loosely woven inside plait - don’t micro-braid to the end.
  • Once the braid is close to the end, hold it parallel to the floor, take the top section and fold it over the center section so it becomes one strand with the opposite side – you now have 2 strands.
  • Palm the center, palm the right and push up – your anchor is the center section which stays straight, and the other sections push up to become an S pattern.
  • Repeat for the second triangle.
  • Gather the ends of both braids at the occipital and secure with a grip.

3-Strand Slide-Up "S" Braid Updo Set

  • Palm, Pinch and push S Braid up
  • Now start the pick up:
  • With left hand, maintain your pinch on the entire "S" Braid this now becomes the center section
  • Slice a section from the bottom and slice a section from the top to create 3 separate strands again
  • Remember to treat the "S" Braid as the center strand
  • Take left over center and slide into your pinch
  • Pinch with left hand, right over center and slide into pinch
  • Continue rhythm over the strand loosely, remember it's not necessary to braid to the end
  • Fold the top to the bottom to create one strand
  • Palm center section, pinch and push opposite section with opposite hand to create the S-Braid center section and repeat
  • Continue rhythm to the center back and secure both sides together in the back.

This technique works best on one length hair, if you'’re working with layered hair, use Redken hardwear 16 super strong gel to keep the layers compact and controlled.

Have fun with this and try to customize the look by curling the ends, securing the back into a ponytail or coil…the options are endless.

Did you have any questions? Let us know in the Comments box.

Try this at home and share your end results on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using #SamVilla.