by Beth Hammarlund
Brush. That. Hair off your shoulders. It’s August in Minnesota (and all the other states, it turns out), which means three things: heat, humidity, and lake hair. Between freeing up your neck to enjoy the occasional breeze and dealing with messy wet tangles after a day at Lake Harriet, it’s time to pull that shit up.
Loose Braid: Tight braids are for girl scouts. You, my friend, are not a girl scout. You are a sexy come-hither grown-up who just happens to still enjoy the patron hairstyle of little girls everywhere. Keep it messy. Keep it loose. You have to try really hard to make sure it looks like you didn’t try at all.
Messy Pony: Clean, gelled-back ponytails are just, like, so Tom Ford-era Gucci. (That’s fashion-speak for “dated.”) Not only is a messy pony more current, it’s also ten times easier. Just rake your fingers through your hair (brushes are for posers) and scoop it up into a casual ponytail. Go high or go low. But try to avoid too many of those weird bumps along the top of your head that will make you look like a stegosaurus.
Milkmaid Hair: This hairstyle makes me seriously miss having hair falling down my back. In the summer of 2009, it was my go-to style. If you have extremely long hair that’s not too thick, you can wrap one long braid around your crown, throw in some bobby pins, and be done with it. If your hair isn’t long enough or is so thick that a single braid looks like a climbing rope, I recommend braiding your hair into pigtails, wrapping them up to the crown, then tucking the ends under to create the illusion of one long braid. Perfect for carrying pails of water down the mountain.
Updo with a Skinny Headband: The key to this look is not the updo itself. Pin your hair up with a chip clip for all it matters. The key is the headband. You want one of those skinny elasticy ones that you used to wear for soccer practice. You can still buy them at the drugstore for practically nothing. Try to find one with a rubbery grip on the inside so that it doesn’t slide around all day.
Top Knot: Wear it messy. Wear it clean. Either way, you are a modern samurai ready for a an afternoon shopping at H&M or an Akira Kurasawa movie marathon. Fashion is not your master. You’re like a totally on-trend Ronin.
Three-in-One: Was there ever a chicer poolside hairstyle for elementary school girls in the ‘80s and ‘90s? And since the ‘90s are still back, you can still make this easy hairstyle work for you. All you need is a hairbrush, three hair thingies, and a below average amount of dexterity.
Upside-Down Braid: This one isn’t the easiest to do yourself, but the more coordinated among us certainly can. The rest of us may need to rely on the help of strangers. Step One) Find a sucker to braid your hair. Step Two) Bend over forward and French braid your hair up to the crown of your head. Step Three) Flip your head back up and fasten any remaining hair into a topknot or messy bun.
Sock Bun: I was blessed (or cursed, it depends on the day) with seriously thick hair, so when it came to twisting my hair up into a bun for ballet, I wound up with an enviable bagel of hair that added a couple inches in height. But my less thickly inclined peers opted to flesh out their do’s with an athletic sock. I speak of the infamous sock bun.
Fishtail Braid: Do you remember Scholastic book orders? Those little newsprint catalogs of Scholastic publications that were handed out in public elementary schools? When I was in second grade, I ordered a book about braiding. In addition to teaching me that I do not have enough fingers to ever be very good at french braids, it also taught me how to fishtail: Instead of the typical three-strand braid, to create a fishtail, you separate hair into only two sections and pick up skinny outside pieces from each section. It takes some practice, but luckily a really great fishtail is going to be a bit messy. Eventually it will taper off so that the end is a little thin and sad. Just like a model. Hey-o!
Headscarf: This isn’t so much a hairstyle as it is a lifestyle choice. And there are so many ways you can wear one. It’s up to you whether you want to rock a retro Rosie the Riveter, a timeless Grace Kelly, a Nicole Richie-inspired boho, or a slicked back “my children modeled in a Gucci campaign” Jennifer Lopez.