Shopping & Style

Ask A Charlotte Stylist: Three Easy Braided Hairstyles

July 8, 2014 8:00 AM

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(Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images for Devries)

(Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images for Devries)

Braids are the hot look for summer, sparked by braided hairstyles seen in popular movies and television shows. Local ladies like having their hair in braids for the same reason heroines on the screen do: to keep a sleek yet lovely look while engaging in adventures of all sorts. Braid styles are adaptable to almost any occasion, from a day at the beach to a night on the town. In this article, Ashley Nicole Napier, top braid barista at the Escape Hair and Skin Studio, shares some braided styles you may have seen on the screen. None are complicated, so line up your BFF for a braiding session that will have you looking like a star—or a dragon queen.
Ashley Nicole Napier
Escape Hair and Skin Studio
1440 S. Tryon St., Suite 102
Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 375-3131

Ashley Nicole is the braid specialist at Escape, a South End salon known for its “special occasion” hairstyles. She graduated in 2000 from the Cosmetology School in Chicago, her home town, then studied hairstyling in England and worked on cruise ships for seven years before settling in Charlotte. Ashley Nicole says that she works hard to stay up to date on the latest trends in hair fashion, and enjoys making people look as beautiful on the outside as they feel on the inside. For the past four years, she has worked at Escape, chosen by the readers of the Charlotte Observer as one of the best salons in the region in 2013. Escape Salon, owned by Jim Tate who worked as an educator with Wella Hair Color for many years, is known for its special occasion styles, hair coloring and hair smoothing and straightening services, offering the latest Wella color designs and three types of Brazilian keratin smoothing treatments, as well as Japanese hair straightening.

Ashley Nicole shares three braided styles derived from “The Game of Thrones” on HBO, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Your Highness,” a 2011 film starring Natalie Portman.

Style 1: Mother Of Dragons

This style recreates one of the looks sported by Daenerys Targaryen, exiled heir to the Dragon Throne and “mother” of three dragons, hatched in Season One of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” English actress Emilia Clarke plays “Dany” in the series.

  • Style your hair mostly smooth with a slight or natural wave.
  • Section off the very front area, about 2-3 inches, much where you would have fringe.
  • On each side of your middle part line, divide the front hair into two sections, then make two back-to-back basic loose three-strand braids on each side. You should end up with four basic braids, two on each side.
  • Starting with the back braid, loosely drape the braids on one side over your hair, securing with a pin once you reach the back middle of your hair.
  • Complete on other side, bringing the four braids together in the back. You want this to be low and loose, creating a depth to the look.
  • Secure with pins and enjoy your look!

Related: Best Places For Eyebrow Threading In Charlotte

Style 2: Catching Fire

In “Catching Fire,” the second installment of the hit film series based on “The Hunger Games” books, actress Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen, winner of the Games and heroine of District 12. Katniss frequently turns to braids to keep her locks in line both during her grueling victory tour and during the murderous action of the Quarter Quell.

  • Start with clean curled hair to achieve Katniss’ look.
  • Working from above the left ear about an inch back from the hair line, begin an inverted French braid (also called a Dutch braid), weaving from the top of the left ear to the top of the right.
  • Once you reach the top of the right ear, slightly curve your Dutch braid going back across your head behind the first braid.
  • Secure this braid with pins behind your left ear.
  • Create a three-strand braid behind your right ear long enough to place over the double Dutch braid.
  • Pin to secure this braid to the middle of the double Dutch braid, hiding the ends.
  • Define your curls and look fierce as we all know Katniss can.
Style 3: Your Highness

In the 2011 comedy “Your Highness,” Natalie Portman stars as the warrior maiden Isabel. This loosely braided style keeps her hair out of her bow strings during battle.

  • Divide your hair into two large sections, parting it straight down the middle. For a sharper look, you can use a comb to part your hair evenly. If you’d prefer the tousled look Natalie Portman has in “Your Highness,” just use your fingers.
  • Pull a thin strand of hair from the outside of the left section. Pull it over the top of the left section, and grasp it under the right section. In other words, the strand of hair has gone over the left section and finishes under the right section.
  • Repeat this with the right side. Take a section from the outside of the right section over the top and grasp it under the left section. You will be making a three-strand braid using the left and right sections to weave with the middle section of your hair in the back. Make sure your strands are big enough to be noticed but still balanced.
  • Keep alternating sides, weaving over and under, until you reach the bottom of the braid.
  • Secure the end with a hair tie or ribbon. Pull lightly on the finished look to achieve a loose tousled style.

Related: Vacation Relaxation: Best Spas In Charlotte 

With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at

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