How to....get the perfect plait

This has been the year of the braid, from the messy to the textured via perfect-for-festival plaits.

Our favourite? The super-sleek, grown-up version seen at Valentino's autumn/winter 2013 show. To get the look, smooth down the mid-lengths and ends of the hair with a little of Alterna's Bamboo Smooth Kendi Pure Treatment Oil (€16.80, beautybay.com ).

Run it through towel-dried hair and blow-dry as normal.

Next, for the smoothest finish, straighten the hair with ceramic irons: we love Ghd's new Eclipse straighteners (€195 ghdhair.com ), which can render even the curliest hair sleek. Then, with a centre parting, plait all hair to one side and tie with an invisible band.

Place a black inch-thick hairband an inch away from the hairline - this will instantly make your "do" dressier.

To deal with flyaways, use Ojon's Rare Blend Tamer Wand €25, boots.com ); its clever mascara-wand-style applicator tames frizzy patches and gently holds the style in place. And there you have it: a style chic enough for cocktail hour, with no chignon in sight.

Telegraph.co.uk

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