Waking up when you’re a woman with long, thick hair is sort of like being under a woolly blanket. Where you may have chosen to warm your body with the blanket, however, you definitely didn’t mean to suffocate under the weight of your own mane.
Those first few minutes of the day are a pretty accurate representation of what having long, thick hair is actually like. There’s a lot of holding it at the top of your head to keep it off your neck during sweaty, humid summer months and wrapping it around your neck like a scarf when it’s chilly.
Dubious fashion statements aside, there comes a time when you’ll need some inspiration for styling your long locks. When the alarm buzzes and no hairbrush can remedy the chaos living on your scalp, turn to these five styles.
Milkmaid Braid Crown
If you’re waking up with hair that’s clean but dried a little strangely—hey, blow drying long hair is lots of work—choose braids as your go-to hair move. Using the point of a long-tailed comb, create a crisp part down the center of your scalp from hairline to nape. Tie off one side and begin work on the other, creating a Dutch or French braid that starts at your forehead and transitions into a traditional three-strand braid.
Once you’ve tied off your braid, repeat the process on the other side of your head. Cross one braid over the other, tucking in the ends and pinning to create a kind of backwards braid crown. The key with such heavy hair is a style that balances out its weight.
Flipped Faux Fishtail Braid
Full disclosure: We’ve got a serious crush on this style, which is all the elegance and drama of a fishtail braid without the part where you scream because you dropped a strand by accident. To get this style started (it works well if you have a little oil at your roots, too), gather your mane into a tight ponytail at the crown of your head.
Using a hand full of tangle-free elastics that are either the same color as your hair or plan, tie off your ponytail about three to four inches below your initial elastic. Split the section just above the newest elastic in two and pull the rest of the ponytail up and through it. Fluff the section, then repeat the process until you run out of hair.
Sometimes the simplest ponytails have the biggest impact. Enter the mod take on this style, one that’s appropriate for women of all ages. Starting with second day hair, lift a section from your crown up and spritz it with hairspray before gently backcombing to create lift.
Once you’ve built an appropriately ‘60s inspired bump, gently spritz the rest of your mane with texturizing spray before pulling it back into a ponytail that sits an inch or two above your nape. If you’re feeling really ambitious, use a stray strand from your ponytail to wrap the elastic holding your style in place and hide it from sight.
Pop Star Half Ponytail
Long hair is glamorous and sexy, even if it’s not perfectly blown out on the daily. Instead, try the pop star half ponytail to show off those extra inches. Use the end of a long-tailed teasing brush or comb to divide the top section of your hair from ear to ear. Then, repeat the steps for the mod ponytail above to create a dramatic half-up style. If you’re feeling some extra drama, don’t be afraid to clip in extensions, too.