No need to get knotted up over braided styles

A five strand French braid is created on Karen Hobaugh, a stylist and make-up artist at Sergio's Style in Dormont Thursday, February  27, 2014.
A five strand French braid is created on Karen Hobaugh, a stylist and make-up artist at Sergio's Style in Dormont Thursday, February 27, 2014.
Photo by Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Sunday, March 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Fishtail. Waterfall. French.

Whatever your choice of a braid, it's a trend worth wrapping your hair around. Braids have been around for a long time, but are experiencing a resurgence, stylists say.

“You can create so many different moods with braids ... from high fashion to casual,” says Philip Pelusi, an internationally recognized celebrity stylist from Pittsburgh who is founder of Tela Beauty Organics and P2 Performance X2 Professional Products. “When you braid hair, it looks really neat, because the different hair colors stand out. I really love braids, especially in the summer when you can condition your hair, braid it, put on a sarong and sandals and you are set for the day.”

Everything from a low braid to one twisted on top of the head that looks like a rope is on trend, Pelusi says. He styled 26 models at last month's New York Fashion Week with braids — all with varying hair lengths — for the Venexiana line, designed by Kati Stern. He and his team created “Coquette,” which he describes as demure, simple elegance. The look represents a spirit of the ages, from the 14th century to the current red carpet.

For an everyday braid, 70 percent can be done by an individual, Pelusi says. If a woman wants a more sophisticated one, she can turn to a professional stylist.

Many customers come to the professionals at Sergio's Style, a Paul Mitchell salon in Dormont, for braids, says owner Sergio Pampena. He says braids have always been popular for women in bridal parties as part of the wedding-day look.

“Braids are great as part of an updo,” Pampena says. “In addition to weddings, women are now coming wanting braids for proms and other events or just for something different for their hair. Braids are a cool way to put hair up and out of the way.”

There are lots of tutorial videos online, or you can consult a professional, who can demonstrate the steps and offer tips.

Braids are viewed as an artistic genre where stylists create looks that have their personal touch, from making it a loose and more relaxed braid to weaving in accessories such as scarves or adding flowers to the final look, Pampena says. At his salon, braids start as low as $10 or $15 to $60 for a service such as an updo that includes braids. A lot of the pricing depends on how much braiding is needed and a client's hair type.

Many braiding ideas come from Pinterest, says Brianna Krisko, stylist and educator for Paul Mitchell.

Braids can be created in the basic three-strand style, as well as two and five strands, she says. They can be done on any length and/or thickness of locks.

“Braids give great texture to hair,” says Krisko. “Especially for fine hair, it gives it fullness.”

When a woman has long, layered hair that is also highlighted, the waterfall braid is a perfect style, says Marissa Pampena, a stylist at Sergio's.

“Some people think about braids that they wore as little girls, but braids today are for women of all ages,” says Sergio's stylist and makeup artist Karen Hobaugh. “And you don't have to have hair that hasn't been washed to do a good braid. It is OK to wash your hair before it is braided. We have the products that help give the hair some grit and help hold the braid.”

Braids can also come in the form of a hairpiece that is added on. Braids can be sophisticated or casual and they can be done without curls or straightening your hair, says Teresa Lane, director of design at HairUWear, a company that sells braid pieces.

“A braid adds depth to the style whether it is dressy or casual, and there are no limits to the different styles you can create with braids,” Lane says. “Go for an updo for the opera and a messy fishtail braid for the beach or casual evening out.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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