Video hair tutorial: Red-carpet braids with celebrity stylist Sarah Potempa

Paul Brasil |

Celebrity hair stylist Sarah Potempa gave OMJ’s Kelly Dillon red carpet worthy braids

Celebrity hair stylist Sarah Potempa is just as famous for her intricate red carpet braids as she is for her amazing curling iron invention, The Beachwaver. Her long list of Hollywood clients, like NJ natives Lea Michele and Ali Larter, have donned the Chicago native’s fabulous braided styles. Sarah, who just returned from the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Paris, loves braids so much that last year on Instagram she did 365 days of braids. Even Reese Witherspoon got in on the action she told me, “I love red carpet hair and braids have been something I’ve always done on my clients. Starting on January 1st, I did a different braid a day. Once my celebrity clients started to see that, they’re like ‘wait can you do a braid on me?'”

So naturally, I had to ask Sarah to create a unique, one-of-kind braid on my strands, and she was more than happy to oblige. The innovative stylist designed the most magnificent inverted French fishtail, which combines three different braids — a two-strand twist, a fishtail, and a regular braid. Watch below to see how she works her magic!

Sarah of course used her game-changing hair tool, The Beachwaver, to add beautiful curls to my ends. If you’ve been living under a rock the past couple years and don’t know what it is, here’s the low-down. Essentially it’s a rotating curling iron that you control when you’re doing your own hair, and it’s super easy to use. Sarah tells me everyone loves it, from her celebrity clients, to working moms. “I started the company with my sisters, and really we just wanted to help women curl their own hair. Feel pretty and be able to do their own hair.”

Those fabulous waves and curls that just drifted down the runway in Paris were all courtesy of Sarah and The Beachwaver. This curling wand is so amazing it’s been named the official hair tool of the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (it’s the second year in a row!).

Now back to the braids. Sarah tells me she doesn’t pre-plan her up-dos, she just goes with the flow. “I’m making it up as I go,” she says. “Thats what makes it fun, it’s more authentic and interesting.”

Sarah also taught me a fun trick to help add volume to braids on thin hair gals like myself. “To make it look thicker, pancake your braid,”  she reveals. “Put your hair into the braid tight, then after, tug at the edges to make them fuller.” Voila! It’s that simple.

Paul Brasil |

My fabulous inverted French fishtail

What do you think!? Kind of amazing, right?! I love Sarah for showing us how to do this at home, but still wish I had her with me everyday to create marvelous braids and waves!

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