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Last updated: January 22, 2020

Are You Making This Common Braiding Mistake?

Surface Dawn McKee @dawnsurfacehair Are You Making This Common Braiding Mistake Braids Styling
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Avoid Making This Common Braiding Mistake…

Whether you’re creating a three-strand braid or something more intricate like the figure 8 braid, do you apply products before you start, or wait until you’re finished to add any product? Surface Culture Artist Dawn McKee (@dawnsurfacehair) says one of the most common mistakes stylists make when braiding is not using any product in the braid itself, so below, we’re sharing why products are crucial, how Dawn layers them without weighing down the hair PLUS a trick for hiding layers. Keep reading for the deets!

Products Used


Why Products Are Needed When Braiding

You wouldn’t attempt an updo without thermal styling tools, right? Same goes for braiding (and styling in general). “I always speak about products that we use for braiding or styling as our liquid tools,” shares Dawn. “They support the hair, they help us to contour and shape the hair and to hold the hair in place.”



How To Layer Products Like A Pro

Layering products is an art form. If you use too many, the hair will feel stiff and it’ll lack movement from being weighed down. If you don’t use enough—especially on fine-haired clients—the braid won’t hold. So here’s how Dawn uses products strategically:


  • Never manipulate the hair with dry hands because you’ll steal all the moisture out of it. Dawn likes to prep her hands with a lightweight styling paste like Surface Shift Shaping Wax before she starts braiding. She says it never really dries so it helps to make the hair workable while taming flyaways as you braid.



  • The next time she uses product is right before she expands the braid. She’ll take a small amount of Surface Shift Shine Wax—the aloe fibers in its formula add hold and texture while the babassu oil within it melts easily into the wax—then she’ll gently pull the braid apart. 


Surface Dawn McKee @dawnsurfacehair Are You Making This Common Braiding Mistake Braids Styling


BONUS: A Trick For Hiding Layers

This trick is so simple but SUCH a game changer. Some clients have stubborn layers that refuse to lay flat in a braid, so instead of reaching for bobby pins or a firm hold hairspray, here’s what Dawn recommends instead: Simply take the back section of the strand next to it and add it to the strand with the layer, tucking it in. “Braids can be very forgiving,” notes Dawn. “So I always work with it on that pass that maybe wasn’t laying quite right.” (See how it’s done in the below gif!)


Surface Dawn McKee @dawnsurfacehair Are You Making This Common Braiding Mistake Braids Styling


TAP HERE To Learn How To Keep Fine Hair From Falling Flat

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