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We Tried It: John Barrett Braid Bar

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This week, the editors put their hair in the hands of some very talented plaiting pros.

Forget trust falls and ropes courses. When the editors are in need of some forced team-building, we go for group manis, pedis or blowouts. And for our latest beauty bonding session, we headed to the Braid Bar at the swanky John Barrett Salon.

Located inside Bergdorf Goodman, the bar within a salon offers customers a quick styling fix. You arrive with dry, (preferably) clean hair and they braid it. It’s that simple. We were each given a book filled with photos of celebrities sporting every kind of braid imaginable to choose from (you can also get a ponytail at the salon’s Ponytail Bar but we all stayed loyal to team braid).

Senior Style Editor Zoë Ruderman opted to recreate a braided updo she’d spotted on Nicole Richie. In less than five minutes, she was sporting a nearly identical version, which she loved so much she kept it in for three days (more below on how to make the braid last).

News Editor Alex Apatoff, who recently cut her curly hair just below her chin, was given a fancy-schmancy “Valentino” braid (the label sent models down its Spring 2012 runway with the do). Her stylist whipped up the complicated-looking double wraparound infinity French braids in all of seven minutes.

Style Director Andrea Lavinthal claimed she was “allergic to updos” so her stylist did half-up beachy waves featuring two “waterfall” braids. Andrea’s reaction: “I feel like one of those cool, laid-back brides you see on Pinterest.”

The only downside: An appointment costs $50 (more if you want them to wash and dry your hair first). So we plan to save it for weddings or big nights out. But that said, the three of us got so many compliments (from guys and girls alike — and even from one particularly observant Starbucks barista) that it made the cost seem totally worth it. Also, the braids last as long, if not longer than a blowout, especially if you sleep with your head wrapped in a silk scarf (so glam!).