Piano experts and famous artists get all the credit, but hair stylists work just as hard. In the skilled hands of an expert, a wild mane transforms into a windblown updo and even the straightest hair can be woven into a gorgeous tapestry. That’s certainly the case when you consider the work of Jamie Wiley, a Pureology pro stylist who’s best known for her spectacular braiding skills.
We’re particularly fond of Wiley’s “feather” braid technique, which involves thin sections and plenty of texture. If you’re looking for a unique, modern braid that works on hair of any length, keep reading. We got all the details about how to get Wiley’s signature braid on dark brown hair or ash blonde hair—or anything in between!
What is a feather braid?When it comes to the name, the feather braid is more about a feeling than a specific technique. It should be delicate but a little effortless. Instead of the massive pancaked braids all over Pinterest, you’ll want to hone in on a more straightforward style.
The inversion of any kind of braid sits on the surface, so that’s how that braid came to be...The feather braid is really a Dutch fishtail braid, but it’s pulled out in a certain way that it ends up being really feathered.
Start by splitting your hair into two sections. Take a thin piece from the left side and cross it under to the right, then repeat with a piece from the right side. Pull tight as you go—you can always loosen the braid later. Braid until you run out of hair, then pin or use an elastic to secure the style. Using the thumb and forefinger of both hands in a “pinch” position, gently loosen the braid to create a breezy feel. If you’re wearing this look to an event, we love the idea of tying it off with a velvet or satin ribbon for dramatic effect.
Wiley sees the feather braid as an evolution of the oversized styles that were popular several years ago. Instead of clipping in several packs of extensions, learn how to embrace your own texture and create beautiful hair.
“Everything was big and bold, and now things are getting smaller, tighter, and more defined which gives you the definition and the featheriness,” Wiley explains.
What’s the best way to learn feather braiding?
When in doubt, Wiley always recommends consulting a trusted stylist. If you’re really invested in wearing polished styles and updos frequently, you may even want to think about shifting your color application to look better in braids.
For Wiley, who often works in the editorial world, salon color can make or break the look of a braid. The more contrast between light and dark, the more beautiful the finished style.
Color aside, your stylist may even be able to help you master the Dutch fishtail technique. Ask about a styling appointment, one in which you bring your favorite products and your chosen pro teaches you the right techniques. Wiley often recommends them for beginners.
“I do walk them through it because I want them to succeed as much as they want to succeed,” she explains.
Interested in a professional braiding lesson? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.