Guest Blog: Sam Villa Teaches How To Create The S-Braid Pick Up

Long flowing hair, braids, and Coachella-ready maxi dresses are all over the beauty scene right now. Sam Villa, founder of the brand by the same name, as well as Education Artistic Director for Redken 5th Avenue, shares the latest hair trend: the S-Braid. To further mix it up, he's engineered a half-up style that looks both relaxed and put together.

summer camp, so I tied three different colored ropes to a chair to practice and establish my braiding rhythm. Consistent rhythm is the key to successful braiding. If you have a mannequin, you could also clip three strands of colored string to the crown of the head and practice braiding around and down the head. If you loose your rhythm you loose the visual flow of the braid - the pattern won’t be consistent. Remember, when working towards the inside, your braid will sit underneath and when working towards the outside, your braid will sit on top. I like the S-Braid to be underneath, so I work it towards the inside.

A lot of people are taking sections by the front temple areas, braiding them and then pulling hair across the back of the occipital and gripping. The S-Braid Pick Up can also be used to create more intricate looks. Here’s how to do it: 

How To Do a Basic S-Braid:
• Work with 2 triangle sections and a center or deep side part.  The braiding method is easy – palm, pinch, cross over and move to the center
• Create three sections in the first triangle and mentally label them Left, Center and Right (L,C,R) – you will not be adding or picking up any additional hair to these sections.
• Place the L section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
• Place the R section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
• Place the L section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
• Place the R section over the C section - this now becomes the center section.
• Continue rhythm for a loosely woven inside plait - don’t micro-braid to the end.  
• Once the braid is close to the end, hold it parallel to the floor, take the top section and fold it over the center section so it becomes one strand with the opposite side – you now have 2 strands.
• Palm the center, palm the right and push up – your anchor is the center section which stays straight, and the other sections push up to become an S pattern.
• Repeat for the second triangle.
• Gather the ends of both braids at the occipital and secure with a grip.

Want to try the S-Braid Pick Up? The next page as a step-by-step how to!


• Continue rhythm over the strand loosely, remember not necessary to braid to the end
• Fold the top to the bottom to create one strand
• Palm center section, pinch and push opposite section with opposite hand to create the S-Braid center section and repeat
• Continue rhythm to the center back and secure both sides together in the back.

This technique works best on one length hair, if you’re working with layered hair, use Redken hardwear 16 super strong gel to keep the layers compact and controlled.

Have fun with this and take the time to teach your clients how to do it too!  Show them how they can customize the look by curling the ends, securing the back into a ponytail or coil…the options are endless. --Sam Villa

[Images and Tips Courtesy of Sam Villa]

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