Festival Hairstyles: L.A.’s Assembly Salon Shows Us How to Rock a Braid That Lasts

Assembly Salon LA Braid Bar Coachella Hairstyles

Festival hair – what to do? You want to look cute and Instagramable, but you’re facing an unholy combo of sweltering heat, pool water and possibly a serious lack of power outlets for your flat iron. If, like us, you have what stylists kindly call ‘textured’ hair (translation: frizz-from-hell), then you’re in very serious trouble. But worry not, we have the answer to your woes: braiding.

We know. Braids are not new. Various incarnations of braids have been hot at Coachella for a while now, but this year the trend is ramping up a notch with elaborately woven braided up-dos that we have no clue how to achieve without giving ourselves serious arm strain. Luckily, L.A.’s Assembly Salon on Robertson, which bills itself as L.A.’s first braid bar, has the braiding chops to take even the trickiest hair through three days of rocking out.

“New York had a fabulous braid bar, and I felt L.A. really needed one too,” said Assembly Salon founder Jessica Jekkel. “L.A. style is so much about that beachy, perfectly undone look and I felt that braids are so in tune with that. I call it ‘convertible hair,’ meaning it stays when you drive with the top down!”

Assembly eschews scissors and dyes and forgoes services such as cut and color to focus instead on the complete process of getting ready for a great night out, a trip or a wedding. This is where you go for the icing, or as Jekkel says, “a place where women could go and have their own personal glam squad whenever they wanted.”  Assembly offers everything from blow-outs, to make-up, red carpet-style up-dos, perfect ponytails, elaborate braids, nail art, brows, lashes and even a henna tattoo. Want the  “celebrity” treatment? This means getting several services done at once, to cut down on time. Let’s face it: Sometimes, it does take a village.

Braid Bar at Assembly Salon LA Festival HairstyleBraid Bar at Assembly Salon LA

For our braiding experience, we showed up with insane early morning hair shoved into our usual lazy topknot and were immediately taken in hand by stylist Dee Eiwasian. After a little face-shape assessment, Dee declared the Crown Braid our best option. “I like to call it the travel braid,” she said, “because you can sleep on it and it stays looking good all weekend. It actually often looks better the longer it’s in because it gets a little looser and messier, which is really trendy right now.”

Eiwasian even made us feel better about our frizz.

“If you’re braiding, texture is an advantage,” she said. “On girls with straight hair I’ll even curl it first before I braid; it just looks better and holds longer.” Eiwasian applied a little Kevin Murphy Defining Cream, then split the hair into three sections: one for the bangs, which she likes to leave loose and romantic-style in the front, and two for the braids. Once braided, she stretched and pulled the braids to give them shape and a slightly “undone” feel, then ingeniously curled them around, hiding the ends perfectly.

The finished effect was far from the tight, unflattering efforts we’d seen elsewhere. It was love at first sight. We walked our of the salon feeling like we had just stepped out of the pages of a Free People catalog! Later that day we even took a disco nap to test the sleep-proof factor and we’re happy to report our braiding remained intact. We’re not going to lie, it’s slightly lumpy to snooze on, but if you’re festival-tired, we figure that won’t be a problem.

Assembly Salon LA Braid Bar

Crowning Glory: The Crown Braid

Assembly Salon LA Braid Bar

Plaits, please. Our new braid in all its glory.


There’s no better time to try Assembly out. They are hosting a Coachella pop-up event through this Friday, April 11 where festivalgoers and wannabe festivalgoers can get all braided up. And if you want extra flair, add a pastel hair streak from the hair chalk bar. We suggest popping in on Thursday or Friday for the full treatment so you’ll be squeaky clean and done-up before you head out to the desert.

How to braiding handbook by abby smithCan’t make it to Assembly Salon or don’t have a braid bar near you? Never fear. Check out blogger and plaiting princess Abby Smith’s soon-to-be-released The New Braiding Handbook: 60 Modern Twists on the Classic Hairstyle (Ulysses Press, due out later this month). Smith is the founder of the TwistMePretty blog, another fabulous how-to resource. This new full-color guide will help you get your head – and hands – wrapped around the trendiest twists, fishtails and updos.

The book offers easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photos for everything from the Waterfall Braid to a Fishtail Bun, Twisted Bohemian Updo, French Braided Pompadour, Celtic Knot, Topsy Tail and more!

Assembly Salon is located on 250 S. Robertson Blvd., in Beverly Hills. For information, visit assemblysalon.com

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Images courtesy of Assembly Salon and Antonia Blyth


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