Indian women traditionally have long, waist-length hair. For many, hair is a major source of pride, often allowed to grow as long as possible and rarely cut. Since India is a very hot and humid country, braids and buns continue to be the most popular options. In recent years, celebrity-inspired haircuts have entered the mainstream and the younger generation has begun experimenting with new styles.
Braids are common among Indian women and girls. In the past, they signified a woman's marital status: two braids meant that she was single, while one braid meant the woman was married.
To create braids, separate hair into three sections; weave the strands into a braid pattern by crossing the left strand with the middle then inserting the right in between. Continue in this pattern until the entire length of hair is braided. Secure with an elastic.
For two braids, separate hair down the middle and braid each side in the same manner as the single braid. For a more elaborate look, try a French braid, by adding an extra strand of hair to the traditional three-strand braid.
Many Indian women style their hair into a bun; as this style is very easy, it is ideal for busy and working women. To get this look, brush hair back and tie into a ponytail. Secure with an elastic. Wrap the loose strand around the elastic in a circular motion and secure with bobby pins.
For a braided bun, brush hair into a ponytail and braid it. Twist the braid into a coil at the nape of your neck and secure with bobby pins.
Indian women have begun to embrace more modern styles, such as long layers and waves seen on Indian stars like Aishwarya Rai and Freida Pinto. For women who prefer to leave their hair down, these modern styles are the perfect solution.
Ask your stylist to cut long layers throughout your hair, adding face-framing strands about an inch below your chin.
Wavy tresses are also often seen on many Bollywood actresses like Lisa Ray. Use a large barrel curling iron (at least an inch in diameter) to transform straight strands into bouncy curls. To give this style extra oomph, add blunt or side-swept bangs.
Though most Indian women prefer long hair, short hair has become more fashionable in recent years. Indian actress Priyanka Chopra is one of the Bollywood stars who has chosen a shoulder-grazing bob. This style is suitable for busy career women who want a sophisticated yet feminine hairstyle.
A mid-length bob or shag are the best options for women who want shorter hair. For a classy look, choose an evenly cut bob with slightly longer strands in the front. For a more trendy look, try a choppy shag with lots of uneven layers in front and back to give hair texture and movement. Maintain both styles by getting trims every two months.