How To: High Fashion Faux Hawk

Katniss would approve

There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of edgy wedding hair. Partly because of that pesky wedding normcore thing I talked about a few weeks ago. But also, because edgy wedding hair is a gamble. If you’ve studied Riahanna closely (and who hasn’t), you’ll know that edgy updos are either very hit or very miss. (You know I love you, Ri, but that hair was not cute when I wore it to my prom ten years ago, and it’s not cute now.)

When I got married, I got pressured into growing out my awesome faux hawk under the guise of having “options” for my wedding (options meaning updos). It’s one of my few wedding regrets. But had I known that this hairstyle was an option? Well, maybe I could have grown my hair out and had a wedding hairstyle that still felt like me. If only we had our resident stylist Yesenia around in 2009.

Volume 101

This particular style is best suited to people have a lot of hair (it doesn’t necessarily have to be super long, you just need lots of it). If you don’t have a lot of hair, that doesn’t mean the faux hawk can’t be yours. Just be prepared to get down and dirty with your teasing comb and some hairspray, or expect a little less volume in your end result.

Remember last time when I mentioned that dry shampoo is a good way to combat oil-prone hair? Well, it’s also a great way to add volume to normally flat hair. I personally love the Big Sexy Hair line for volume. It makes my hair big without weighing it down or making it greasy. Otherwise, you’ll want to prep your hair the way you would in our other tutorials, with a few modifications for volume:

  • Starting with damp hair, apply a styling product to your hair that is tailored to heat. When I want to add a lot of volume to my hair, I add mousse to my normal heat serum routine. I ended up with a bottle of this Pantene mousse in my house after one of the tutorials we did with them, and I’ve been using it since.
  • Next, blow-dry your hair using a boar-bristle brush. The boar bristles will make it easier to smooth your hair and adds a nice shine to your hair to boot. (For finer hair, use a metal brush to get more fullness.)
  • For the best blow-dry technique, start close to your scalp, then pull out with your brush.
  • While we haven’t mentioned this before, if you’re planning on doing your own hair, and want to save time (read: frustration), you can always opt for a professional blow dry instead of a full updo. It’s often much cheaper than having your hair styled (think $30–$50), and will give you a good base to work with. Your salon will likely offer it as one of their normal services, but there are also blow-dry bars popping up in every major metropolitan area too.

The High Fashion Faux Hawk

Of our three braided looks, this one is definitely the more advanced, skill-wise. Unlike the other tutorials, this one requires that you (or whoever is doing your hair) knows how to do a French braid. It’s also one of those looks that will take a few tries to get just right, since there are more moving parts (two side braids, plus a top braid). So give yourself triple the time you think you’ll need, and plan on redoing it a few times before you get it just right. Even Yesenia, our pro, undid and redid Kit’s hair a few times before she got the look she wanted. And now, onto steps:

1. Take a section of hair at the center of your head (from your forehead all the way to your neck), and create a part on either side of it. Pin the center section up for later (this can be messy, you’re just setting it aside).
2. Next, take one of your side sections and start French braiding along your ear line, secure with a small elastic. Repeat on the other side.
3. With a curling iron, “set” the center section by rolling sections of your hair and pinning them with duck bill clips like these. For extra hold, lightly spray with hairspray.
4. Release the clips, and gently tease your hair for volume all along the center section. (Tip: for the best teasing action, make sure you’re fully removing the comb before each down stroke, so that you’re building up a pile of hair instead of brushing it up and down.)
5. Very loosely French braid the center section. Keep your touch very light to maintain the volume of your faux hawk. Braid all the way to the bottom and secure with a small elastic.
6. Now, take your side braids and your center braids and braid the ends together into one “master” braid.
7. Twist master braid until it collapses into the nape of the neck and secure with bobby pins (you’ll need to use quite a few to get it to stay put, but if you push them up from the bottom and hide them in your braid, you won’t see them at all.)

If Katniss were getting married (you know for real. None of that Peeta-Capitol-wedding-to-save-our-lives nonsense), I’m pretty sure this is what she’d wear. And that’s probably reason enough to try it.


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  • ART

    oh poop, I’m (woefully) behind in my Hunger Games and wish I hadn’t read the last part. Other than that, this is sooo hottt.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Don’t worry, it’s just one of those annoying plot details they throw in that doesn’t actually advance the books. Like everything with Peeta. :)

  • Marika

    This looks amazing. I’m already married, but I might have to try this as a wedding guest. Or just for work.

  • Sara

    I love this! I really need to teach my honey to french braid, because I’m just not skilled enough to braid the top of my head. :)

    And, love that foxy gray in your hair! :)

    • Jess

      The trick to french braiding your own hair is – perhaps shockingly – NOT looking at it in a mirror until it’s done. It’ll look a mess in all the in-between stages, but when it’s finished all of a sudden it’s fine. Take a fine toothed comb to the smooth sides of the braid, and it’s even better.

      Also pull really tightly when you first start out, you can graduate to the “loose” braid later. Of course, if you have super difficult hair, none of this may be true.

      I can effectively do a single braid on my hair and put it into a bun. Period.

      • Sarah E

        That’s true. When doing your own hair, it’s helpful, especially for the first few times, to just focus on what feels tight/secure. I usually don’t use a mirror unless/until I’m ready for the final event-ready product. My practice sessions sans mirror help me figure out my fingers, then the mirror helps make sure I catch everything and can smooth it out.

  • Kayjayoh

    I respectfully disagree: Rihanna is rocking *both* of those updo looks. Your opinion is wrong. ^.~

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      The dress was fierce, but the hair reminds me of a late 90’s Whitney Houston updo. Actually, the whole look kind of reminds me of this:,,20569493_20569537_21118759,00.html

      • Kayjayoh

        By which, of course, you must mean, “Why yes, Rihanna is certainly rocking that hair.” It’s an understandable typo.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          Ha, yes, very accurate translation. :)

  • Julia27

    I don’t think that I have enough hair to do this, but I loooooooove this faux hawk. Now I’m hoping to see some wordless weddings in the future that include this rockin’ up-do.

  • Alyssa

    Awesome! Is it just me, or could Daenerys Targaryen rock this too? Yesenia looks a bit like her.

  • celinad6

    I wore a faux hawk at my wedding. I have no reservations tooting my horn when I say “It was damn awesome. And I have locs so it was doubly damn awesome.”

    • Meg Keene


      • celinad6

        Still waiting for pictures from the photographer, but here’s a teaser he sent. Shout out to @chescaleigh for the style inspiration.

        • celinad6

          First time added pics on Disqus so sorry for the multiple posts.

        • Meg Keene


          • celinad6

            Most definitely. :-)

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            Oh. My. God.

        • Shotgun Shirley

          Oh my dear gosh that’s gorgeous!!

          • celinad6


        • ItsyBit

          Jaw = dropped.

        • Sarah E

          Hot Shit.

    • ferrous

      Another fauxhawk bride here. Yours *is* damn awesome, love the locs.
      Edited to add link to pics (auto-horn toot, indeed):

  • Bsquillo

    All of these braided looks have been AWESOME. I’ve got major hair envy because I am TERRIBLE at all sorts of braids- even the most basic ones. I have a lot of hair, but it’s all pretty fine and slippery. So braids seem to always turn into big tangle-wads because it’s hard for me to keep the strands separated. Anyone else have tips for the braid-challenged?

    • Maggie

      Using dry shampoo can add some grip to your hair so it isn’t sliding about while you’re working with it.


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