starring joan smalls

rapunzel braid


By Beauty Director Kayla MiChele    @kaylamichelehair


Our exclusive story with Joan Smalls as Wildflower is full of major hair moments inspired by the 60’s & 70’s with exaggerated lengths and volumes! We took the length to an extreme with the rapunzel braid look. The most fun part of my career is having the platform to make people dream and spend a few hours outside of the norm with my art.


I began by protecting and infusing vitamins into Joan Smalls hair with Message Organics Elixir Premiere and then detangled with the legendary Mason Pearson brush.


Next, I used the Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium 1 1/4” Professional Marcel to add some loose waves and movement to Joan’s hair from the roots to her shoulders, sparing the ends of unnecessary heat since they will be in a braid. Spring Curling Irons are easier to use on yourself at home. 


Braid Stitches 


Beginning the braid by gathering all of Joan’s hair at the nape of her neck, I took three rather even sections, leaving out some natural pieces of hair to frame the face. 


Stitch it! I overlapped the left section overtop and in between the middle and right section. Then, overlapped the right section overtop between the middle and left section. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Take note that every time a new stitch is created, the section in your hand will always end up being the new middle section.  


Reminder: Every time you stitch the next section, be sure to always overlap over top the middle section. If on accident you begin to stitch underneath the middle section at any random moment, the braid will no longer look nice and that stitch will need to be undone and fixed before continuing down the braid. 


Braiding In Loose Hair Extensions


It’s very helpful to prep the loose hair on a work station (before starting the braid) by removing the hair from the packages and pulling apart from the bundle a thickness that is desired each time extra hair is added to a stitch. I knew that the body length braid will need tons of hair, so we used too many packages to count! We prepped all of the pre-portioned sections on a large table. The braid I created was extra thick.. therefore we portioned the sections to have the diameter of a nickel and we adding hair into the stitches frequently.


I used my judgement of when the perfect time was to begin adding in loose braid-in hair extensions. When the hair began to thin out and need an extra boost of thickness and length .. it was the right time.


I held the loose hair bundle with one hand in the middle of the bundle, my other hand holding onto the braid. Then I added the bundle by combining it with the outside left and right sections, making sure to leave the center section overtop and completely left out and separated from the bundle.


In the video, you will see key moments of when the ends of the extensions try to pop out and how I take the time to address the ends with some patience to tuck and hide them when needed throughout the braid. Good thing a messy braid was the look I was going for to make it an easier and less time consuming hairstyle to create.


Super important to have a brush nearby to detangle along the way… the loose hair has a tendency to tangle.


The rapunzel length literally had me on the floor to finish the look! As the hair packs officially ran out it was time to secure the very end of the braid with a hair tie. We used loose elastic that needs knotted, but I also recommend these Elastics.


Lastly, due tot he hair being synthetic, it was important to not ruin my expensive hair dresser scissors on the hair, so I used Shears to point  and slide cut the end of the braid to clean up the ends. 


As we finished the stitches, Joan needed a quick bathroom break before stepping on set.. I will never forget how funny it was to see her pile up the braid of hair in her arms like a baby to use the restroom! Good times!




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