Skip the standard ponytail and upgrade your workout hairstyle by learning how to master this chic (but easy!) chain braid

By Brooke Schuldt
March 27, 2015
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Mario Russo

We know: your gym hair is in desperate need of an upgrade that easily transitions between Pilates and your a.m. meeting. Enter: the chain braid, a fresh take on a functional hairstyle-perfect for the gym, office, or brunch. Plus, it requires day old hair (score!).

This look is ideal for busy women who still want to on-trend, says Mario Russo, owner of the eponymous salon in Boston. So we had him break down how to pull off the super easy look.

Step 1: Build Volume

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Start with day-old hair to make sure that your braid has enough volume to last throughout your workout. "Hair that's a little dirty is easier to braid and will hold the style better once the chain is formed," Russo says. First, divide your hair into 1-inch sections, then use a 1.5-inch curling iron to curl all over. Create even more volume by teasing your hair at your crown once it's curled.

Step 2: Create the French Knot

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Split hair into two sections horizontally (as if you're creating a half-up, half-down hairstyle), and tie the two pieces in a knot-just like you would with shoelaces. Then, similar to a French braid, grab strands of hair from each section and knot the two again. Continue this process throughout your entire head, from root to tips. Secure with a clear elastic band.

Step 3: Add Some Finishing Touches

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To give the style a disheveled finish, gently tug at the knots with your fingers to separate them. Spray hair with a light hold hairspray to keep the braid looking soft while still holding it in place. (Want more hair braiding tips? Learn these genius Quick Tips for Every Type of Braid.)