7 Essential Braiding Hacks That'll Speed Up Your Plait Time — PHOTOS

Braids can turn everything from loose strands to a messy top knot into an instantly more stylish look, but let's be real, some of those Pinterest braids just look impossible for someone who isn't a professional hair stylist. Luckily, I've found the most essential braiding hacks so you don't spend hours in front of the mirror doing (and re-doing) a braid in order to get it right. We've all been there, and it's definitely not fun.

Back when I had really long hair, I'd braid it more out of necessity than style just to keep it out of my face during runs. Once I cut it into a bob, however, I realized I was going to have to get creative if I wanted to keep doing my beloved braids. Thanks to Youtube and a handful of awesome beauty blogs online, I learned how to rock just about any braid in not time flat — no matter what my hair length was. (Though, admittedly, waterfall braids still mess me up sometimes!)

Whether you're looking to get better at a classic French braid or really stretch your skills to pull off a crazy gorgeous halo braid or twists, the tips below are about to make your braiding life so, so much easier.

1. Invest In Clear Rubber Bands

400 Small Clear Rubber Bands, $2.45, TopsyTurvyDiaperCake

One of the queens of style blogging, Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, shared that nothing is more important than having tiny clear rubber bands and bobby pins to make braids a success.

2. Use Texturizing Spray

Dry Texturizing Spray, $42, Oribe

Another Emily tip? Spritz freshly washed hair with texturizing spray so it has enough grip to hold a braid together.

3. Reach For Medium Sized Hair Chunks For Beachy Side Braids

LaurenConrad on YouTube

Lauren Conrad reveals in this super simple tutorial that the key to a cute beachy braid is taking a medium-sized chunk of hair to start. No more, and no less!

4. Tug Strands For Thick Fishtail Braid

Renee's Way on YouTube

For a thick and gorgeous fishtail braid, Renee's Way shows exactly how to carefully tug the strands so that the end result is clean and even.

5. Braid Hair When It's Wet

Famed stylist Patrick Melville told Daily/Makeover, "Braid hair when wet or damp. This will allow you to catch all the loose ends and form a nice clean braid." Wise words!

6. Spray Hair With Hairspray Before Braiding

Classic Hairspray, $12, Bumble And Bumble

Similar to Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere reaching for texturizing spray, Olivia Halpin of Dream Dry told Daily/Makeover, "Spray your hair with a light hairspray before braiding — this will prevent the layered pieces from falling out as much and will help keep them in place." Easy enough, right?

7. "Drop And Twist" For Waterfall Braid Success

Kayley Melissa on YouTube

Kayley Melissa came up with this brilliant waterfall braid hack which relies on a "drop and twist" strategy to keep things super simple!

Want more beauty tips? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Courtesy of Brands; Nadja Tatar/Flickr