My sister called a few weeks ago, talking excitedly about a style segment on the Today Show which focused on braided hair for all ages. After watching it online a few hours later, I was sold. Click here to check out the video.

When we think of “braids” we usually think of pigtails on schoolgirls. But the truth is, if done right, braids are an incredible–and free–hair accessory, even for women over 50, like me. While “googling” hair braids for women, I saw photos of Jessica Alba (photo, left, at the Oscars), the former Prime Minister of the Ukraine (below–now in prison, and probably still wearing braids), and many other women (including non-celebs) wearing braids in their hair in really lovely and stylish ways . . . all of which are completely appropriate for women over 50, and so easy to do. Did I mention, free?

I ran the NYC Marathon last week, and when I was planning what I would wear–after checking the probable weather–I decided to figure out a way to incorporate a braid into my hair to keep it out of my face, but still let me look . . . stylish.  Knowing that the weather would be in the mid-50s, I didn’t want to wear a hat because it would cause me to get overheated. I also rejected the idea of wearing my hair in a ponytail because those often end up giving me headaches, and really, they’re a little boring. Instead, I turned to a wonderful book filled with information and photos on how to “do” girls’ hair–“Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair“–written by friend and brilliant entrepreneur, Cozy Friedman. Even though the book is geared to young girls, many of the style ideas, including the one I used, can be easily worn by women.

Page 153 had the perfect hairstyle, exactly what I was looking for: “The French Braid Headband,” described in the book as follows:

“Besides being a great way to keep hair off the face, this braided band makes its own accessory. Girls can wear it with their hair hanging down in back, or with a ponytail, bun, or larger braid.”

On race day, my oldest daughter Sarah woke up at the crack of dawn to recreate this perfect running hair style. As described, it stayed out of my face, and looked great during–and after– the entire 26.2 miles!


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