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Brides + Braids + Babes

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

On April 11th I took an updo and braiding class from two top Instagram gurus for hairstyling @hairandmakeupbysteph and @theconfessionsofahairstylist aka Stephanie and Jenny. Stephanie has almost half a million followers on Instagram while Jenny has close to 300,000. That's almost a million followers between these two lovely ladies! What an inspiration considering I can't even get up to 100 followers for my hair Instagram myself. Waa waa enough of the pitty party...  How did I stumble upon these two beauties? Pinterest actually. While looking for updo inspiration for a client I kept on seeing the name stamp of Miss Stephanie. Curious I looked her up on Instagram and time after time kept seeing seamlessly beautiful updos on Instagram. I decided this year to enhance my education to inspire my work behind the chair and when a class poster popped up for Arizona I signed up right away. In doing so I stumbled upon Jenny. I had never seen her work before but was blown away with the amazing braiding skills she displays on her Instagram page. She works on super fun colored clients which enhances the dimension and texture of the braids. I must say I signed up for the class for Stephanie but in seeing Jenny and her work I feel like she is much more my vibe. It's the funky messy I just rolled out of bed hair and the leather jacket that stole my heart! No offense Stephanie;) Before I get into the nitty gritty of the class I must add how much these two women inspire me. I have so much respect for them being so successful and focused on their careers while balancing a husband and two kids each at home! Work life balance is something I often struggle with and up until this year my home life conquered it all with my passion for my career suffering. So thank you ladies for inspiring this Mama to be more passionate about her career!

The class was held at the Toni and Guy academy on Indian Bend in Scottsdale. What an amazing place to go to beauty school. I was blown away with the modern design Toni and Guy pulled off for this super sleek school. I walked in found a seat and the class started promptly at 9. Stephanie had been up front prepping her model and took the lead starting her first look on a beautiful blonde with the most amazing hair. It was a beachy updo often asked for with more of the romantic soft waves instead of the super structured updos. Now I have replicated this but in taking this class learned my flaws. To achieve this look you prep the hair giving it texture and wave. Stephanie worked between a flat iron and a wand. Now this was something that irritated me a little bit because we were only instructed to bring a one inch curling iron. For anyone who does hair you know the curls a curling iron vs. a flat iron vs. a wand produce are drastically different. So when we went to recreate the looks I feel like I didn't get the full effect. Anyways back to the updo. You start with a base sectioning off a mohawk section and two side sections. The base can be wherever you want to start your updo this one happened to be from the top of the head to the occipital. You basically work from the inside out trusting your eye and twisting and pinning the hair into place. Building upon your base. The top was tighter curls lightly swept back into the base of the updo. Here is where I learned a lot.  I learned to work in sections and really let the hair work for you listening to the hair. I feel like me recreation was not as perfect as Stephanie's but it turned out A-ok. I learned I need to pay more attention before I pin up my sections so it has more of a seemless look. She made this look so easy and it turned out amazing.

Next Jenny presented a double fishtail side braid she connected with soft hair on top. This was awesome for me because I learned how to fishtail french braid and how to pancake the hair after your done to give volume. This may have been one of my favorite works I recreated today. Jenny had so many amazing tips on braiding and sectioning and overall technique to create what in a matter of time can be an easy amazing look for a bride or a boho babe going to Coachella. I loved the twist and pull technique for the top of the hair to create wave and texture. Love love love this entire look!

Back to Stephanie with a chignon type of a look with a soft side swept look perfect for your mother of the bride or someone looking for something classic and clean. In my recreation of this I combined this look with Stephanie's last look incorporating a side chignon and vintage wave on one side. I decided to place my chignon in the center and try different techniques of combining the sides with the twist and pull technique and the vintage wave. It came out really pretty but I feel like I would have had a stronger s pattern if I had a wand instead of using my curling iron as a wand. She showed so many chignon options I got confused and started combining them all. Haha again this woman is an updo guru and I am definitely grateful for the knowledge. Back to Jenny she did the most awesome four sided fishtail braid. This braid literally has a pattern so complex you have to ignore all that is going on around you and repeat it. It was so amazing the cleanliness and ease she braided the hair. It basically created a fishtail on top of another fishtail braid. You completed this look by pancaking it out bottom braid first then the top braid. The sides she did into a waterfall braid and connected the two on the center. It really looked amazing and the way the French braid peek a booed out of the waterfall. Now I tried to recreate this look and failed miserably haha I learned from my mistakes and will try another day. But thats why you go to a class right?

Jenny's last look incorporated a braid into the updo in a modern but romantic way. Many young brides ask for this look so seeing the technique she used was very nice and taught me a lot about how to structure a bridal updo with braids. I did not recreate this look because I pretty much tapped out after trying the four sided fishtail. I was hangry and ready for some food. But I will look back on my notes and play another day.

We all took a group photo and some individual photos with the Instagram stars before Stephanie had to leave. I'm assuming she was heading home to her beautiful family. I just wanted to take a moment to give thanks to the rude selfish really tall girl who decided to stand right in front of the almost midget girl (yeah that's me) so even on my tippy toes I was not able to be seen in the photos. If you check out @hairandmakeupbysteph on Instagram and look at the group shot you can see my half face peeking out so overjoyed with people and their amazing regard for others. I just had to say something and now I'm done... I did however get my one on one shot with these inspirational woman and a new book by Jenny, 100 Perfect Hair Days with step by step instructions. You can get a copy on Amazon or her website I can't wait to dive into this book and play with some of the hairstyles on my clients and myself. In conclusion, the class was worth the trip. I learned a ton and highly suggest anyone looking to up their updo game to sign up for a class with these lovely ladies. I am very grateful to both and wish the best to them and their beautiful families. (I saw Jenny's run in at the end of class and it melted my heart) I then proceeded to hug my smelly three year old love bug who spent the day at the Zoo with my sister and my Mom. So very grateful for my family. A huge thanks to Miss Alexia Bernal for flying with me to Arizona and spending the whole weekend with me and my family to be my gorgeous hair model. Until we meet again! Xx

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