So in an effort to make one thing a bit easier for you this year, we’ve rounded up the prettiest braided hairstyles that practically require you to be a messy, careless, haphazard, stressed-out beginner. Because none of these braids should look perfect—and frankly, that’s a pretty freaking refreshing thing to hear right now. Pick your favorite, below, and get braiding.
1. Soft Dutch Braid
If you can handle a regular braid, you can handle this messy Dutch braid, which requires only three strands that you cross under, rather than over, to create a popped-out effect. Tie off the end with a clear elastic, and pull out the edges for a softer finish.
2. Confusingly Easy Twisted Braid
Yes, this braid is easy, and no, we are not insane. French braid your hair, starting at the middle of your head and working your way down before tying off the ends. Then deconstruct: Pull at the braid and tug on short layers, then wrap stray sections around a curling wand for a soft, messy effect.
3. Fluffed-Out Fishtail
Separate a three-inch section of hair on one side of your part and fishtail-braid it (not sure how? This easy tutorial makes it, you know, easy). Then pin the braid in place, gently tug at the edges of it to fatten it up, and let the ends flow as they may.
4. Deconstructed French Braid
Pretty much the embodiment of the “what, this old thing?” sentiment, this loose braid relies on gravity alone…plus a few bobby pins. After curling your hair, sweep it back into a French braid, stopping at the nap of your neck. Slide in a few bobby pins throughout the length of the braid to help the style secretly hold its shape throughout the day.
5. Crown Braid
Alright, so there’s the real crown braid, which involves braiding all of the hair around the edges of your hairline in a circle—so, you know, not beginner—or there’s the faux crown braid, which can be created by braiding each side of your hair in two French braids, then wrapping and pinning the ends around each other. As with every messy style, tug at short layers and the edges of your braid to soften the look.