Once And For All: How to do milkmaid braids, with Rachael Shaw

· Tuesday November 13, 2012

If you rolled these three women into one: Fran Drescher in The Nanny, pre-makeover Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and Courtney Love in every Hole video clip ever, you’d be getting close to the Rachael Shaw experience. Master hairdresser/babe at inner-city salon Head Studio, she can turn a Sarah Plain N Tall into a Beyonce in no time flat and her friendly, fun-loving attitude (and that nasally laugh) come hand-in-hand with outrageously good outfits. Because Rachael has the kind of stylistic intuition we wish we had – the ability to look you up and down and make awesome things happen – we thought we’d ask her to teach us how to do something way cute. So, here it is: Once and for all, how to do milkmaid braids!

- Handful of bobby pins
- 2 x hair section clips
- Handful U-pins or fringe pins
- Texture powder
- Fresh flowers (optional)



Use a tail comb (that's one with a silver spike for a handle!) to part hair straight down the middle. Use a section clip/peg to hold the side you're not working on first.


Start making a normal plait just above the ear - cross over the third closest to the face first. Secure with section clip while you work on other side. Repeat same on other side.


Using a texture powder shake a dusting over each plait. Use your fingers to rub the powder into the plaits, pulling the plaits apart a little to 'fatten' them up. We're aiming for a disheveled look - like you just got out of bed (you probably did…) so the more you rough up the plaits the better. Shake some of the powder over the part and loosen up the hair around the part, too. As a side note, dirty hair works better when doing milkmaid braids, so don't wash your hair for a couple of days before for the best braids.


Pull a braid across the top of the head (leaving some of the part revealed at the front) and secure the end by criss-crossing two bobby pins. No need to secure flyaways, let them hang out. Grab the other braid and mount it over the first braid (for extra height) or lay them side by side. Otherwise, do the criss-cross thing on the other side too.


Take the other, wider clips (U-pins or fringe pins) and go along the length of the braids, pinning the braids to the head through the braid loops. Use your intuition to see where it feels like the braid needs to hold onto the head and fringe pin those bits.


Once the braids are secure, now you can decide how messy you'd like the look overall - use more texture powder and your fingers to pull out strands of hair in the braids and at the back of the head, at your discretion.


We raided the garden for some roses and pinned three small buds and a larger rose to one side of the braids, to make a flower crown (they're so trendy at the moment, see: Lana Del Ray and Natalie Portman.)


The final step is to put on a sick outfit (don't go too girly with your outfit - the grungier/trashier the better the contrast with the virginal hair thang) and just be a HELL BABE.

Thanks to our model Audrey Allen for loaning us her lush hair and sexy lips. Shot on location at Heartbreakerz Manor.

This article is part of our new series 'Once And For All', made possible with support from Ketel One. Stay tuned for further posts in which local characters teach us how to do things properly.