A Week’s Worth of Easy Hairstyles

In the morning there are snooze buttons, outfit decisions, and maybe even little ones demanding your time before you head out the door. But you don’t need a ton of products, tools, or time to have a good hair day. In fact, our lovely friends over at Birchbox US caught up with Naeemah LaFond – global artistic director for amika – to discover 5 easy and sophisticated hairstyles that you can achieve in 15 minutes or less!

Crown Braided Headband

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Tools Needed: A brush, a comb, two hair ties, and multiple hair pins
Works For: All hair types (especially curly hair) with shoulder-length strands or longer
Time to Complete: 10 minutes
Why You’ll Love It: “This is the grown-up version to your pigtail braids,” says LaFond. Not just sophisticated and stylish but also super easy to do (you’ve probably been braiding your hair since you were little), this style checks everything off the list.
How to Do It:
1. After brushing your hair and parting it down the centre (you can even use a pencil to help with this!), section out two top pieces at the front of your hair, about a half an inch each.
2. Braid each side, securing with a small hair tie.
3. Leaving the braids loose in the front, gather roughly three quarters of the top of your loose hair and clip it up.
4.Take the braids from the front and pin the ends at the nape of your neck between the top and bottom portions of your hair.
5. Release the top section of your hair to hide the pins.
Secret Beauty Weapons:Use a leave-in cream and curl definer beforehand like Bumble and bumble. Curl Defining Creme to reduce frizz and create definition.
Pro Tip: “Tease the hair back by the nape of the neck so when you pin the braids back, they have something to hold on to. It’s like a foundation,” says LaFond.

High Fishtail Pony

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Tools Needed: A curling iron, a brush, a hair pin, and two hairbands
Works For: Straight to wavy hair types with longer length and long layers
Time to Complete: 15 minutes
Why You’ll Love It: If you hate having your hair falling in your face while you’re looking down at your laptop. It’s especially great for warmer months because, “all your hair is up off your neck and it looks cute and classy at the same time,” says LaFond.
How to Do It:
1. Begin by adding some texturising spray and hairspray for hold. Also apply a heat-protectant (we love SHOW Beauty Sheer Thermal Protect) to prep for the curling iron.
2. Take random sections of your hair and curl them in alternating directions.
3. Brush your hair back into a ponytail, spritzing more hairspray as you go, and secure with a hair tie.
4. Use your fingers to gently push hair at the crown forward for a little bit of volume.
5. Take a short piece from your ponytail and wrap around the hair tie and pin underneath to hide the elastic.
6. Create your fishtail (Need a refresher? Check out our handy guide.)
7. Gently tug on pieces of the braid to add texture.
8. Finish with hairspray.
Secret Beauty Weapons: Try a hairspray like the amika Touchable Hairspray for flexible hold without any tacky residue left behind, so you can restyle again and again.
Pro Tip: Not ready to dive in with a fishtail braid? Achieve a similar style by creating a “standard braid, then secure with a ponytail holder or rubber band and pull it out a little to give it a bit more fluff,” says LaFond.

Rope Braid

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Tools Needed: Hair straighteners, a brush, a hair grip, and two hairbands
Works For: Straight to wavy hair types with longer length and no layers
Time to Complete: 5 minutes
Why You’ll Love It: It looks more intricate than it actually is (but we won’t tell your co-workers!) — if you can twist, then you can do this. The best part? “This is a set-it-and-forget-it look,” says LaFond. That means no hairs falling out of place.
How to Do It:
1. If your hair is straight, you’re already halfway there, but if you have slightly wavy strands, begin by removing any curl using your hair straighteners (but don’t forget to prep with heat protectant!), then add gel or oil for smoothness and shine once you’re done.
2. After, brush your hair into a ponytail and secure with a hairband. Spritz with hairspray for hold.
3. Take a short piece from the ponytail and wrap around the hairband and pin to hide the elastic.
4. Separate the ponytail into two sections. Twist one over the other while twisting the individual sections themselves simultaneously so the style holds better. Secure with a hairband.
5.Gently tug on sections throughout the ponytail for a softer finish.
6. Finish with another spritz (or two) of hairspray. SHOW Beauty Premiere Finishing Hair Spray conditions and nourishes too!
Secret Beauty Weapons:Apply a lightweight styler like amika Leave In Cream to add shine, hold, and control for your sleek style. You can also use it to smooth any waves or curls beforehand.
Pro Tip: For all the curly girls out there: if you think your coils are too wild for this style, think again. All you have to do is “smooth the edges of your hair with hair straighteners first, or at least brush it out so you don’t have frizz on the sides,” says LaFond.

Low French Twist Pony

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Tools Needed: A curling wand and multiple hair pins
Works For:All hair types with shorter length and layers
Time to Complete: 10 minutes
Why You’ll Love It: If you’ve got shorter hair, it’s tricky to gather all those loose, wispy strands into one bun, ponytail, or braid. “But with this style, you get that updo feel without it looking super ‘done,'” says LaFond. It’s still polished enough for daytime but also has some rough ‘n tumble texture for a more after-hours vibe.
How to Do It:
1. Apply heat protectant to hair before using the curling iron, then mist a texturising spray all over to add more grit.
2. Take random sections of your hair and twist around the barrel (this makes waves look more natural and less done). Mist hairspray all over.
3. Once you’re done, backcomb strands at the roots to add more volume.
4. Take roughly three quarters of your hair and twist this section inward. Secure with a few hair pins at the nape of your neck, leaving any hair below this point loose.
5. Take the remaining small section and wrap it around that loose portion to gather it into a short ponytail. Add hair pins to hold. Keep shorter front layers out to frame your face.
6. Finish with hairspray.
Secret Beauty Weapons:
Spritz a texturising spray like amika Un.Done Texture Spray for added volume and effortlessly tousled strands. It’s all about that oomph with this style.
Pro Tip:Save even more time in the a.m. by curling your hair the day before so it looks more lived in. “This [style] is great on hair that has a good amount of product in it for grip so that it doesn’t fall flat,” says LaFond. “You can skip the first step of curling it if you already did it yesterday.” Getting more mileage out of yesterday’s ‘do? We’re all for it.

Half-Up Topknot with Waves

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Tools Needed: Hair straighteners and hair pins
Works For: Straight to wavy hair types with shoulder-length strands and longer
Time to Complete: 10 minutes
Why You’ll Love It: It combines three of our favourite styles—beach-babe waves, the tried-and-true half-up, half-down look, and an effortless topknot—into one. You “still look put-together without having to do too much to your hair,” says LaFond.
How to Do It:
1. Start with second-day hair for this look since it has extra grit. Even better, it gives you an excuse to skip washing that morning (score!).
2. Mist texture spray all over and spritz dry shampoo directly on your roots to absorb any visible oil, especially the crown of your head, since this portion will be front and center for this style.
3. Don’t forget your heat protectant before using hair straighteners to create soft waves. Place the hair straighteners in your hair, twist in one direction, hold for a few seconds, and then take it out. Go down the hair shaft a few inches and do the same thing, but rotate in the opposite direction.
4. Repeat throughout your entire head. If you have wavy hair already, you can either skip this step or enhance your natural waves.
5. Gather a large section of hair at the crown of your head. Finger-comb and begin to twist hair into a topknot, securing the style with hair pins all around.
6. Finish with hairspray.
Secret Beauty Weapons: Remove the moisture from your scalp so your bun looks and feels soft with a dry shampoo like amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo formula.
Pro Tip: “Always make sure you have a bobby pin on hand in case the topknot loosens during the day,” says LaFond.

All hairstyles provided by Naeemah LaFond with style assist by Michael Warren.

– Francesca Conlin