Frida Kahlo was an artist, an intellectual, and a revolutionary whose work in the first half of the 20th century made her arguably the most famous Mexican woman painter of all time. We’ll tell you more about her life and work tomorrow here on Rookie. Today, I want to focus on Frida’s amazing, one-of-a-kind style—specifically, her HAIR.

Frida wore her thick hair in braids that she intertwined with colorful ribbons and yarn, then piled onto her head and adorned with fresh flowers. Yup, she was doing flower crowns before any of us even existed.

While I possess neither Frida’s luxurious locks nor her top-notch braiding skills, I can do my best to reflect a little bit of her glory. Here’s a tutorial to help you pay homage to her, too.

What you’ll need:

  • Hair that’s long enough to braid
  • A fine-tooth comb
  • A few feet of ribbon or yarn, in any color and thickness you like
  • A bunch of bobby pins
  • Two hair elastics
  • U-shaped hair pins, like these from Sally Beauty
  • Hairspray (optional)
  • Fake flowers with wire stems, available from the dollar store (or a flower crown like the ones in this tutorial).

Step One

Part your hair in the middle with the fine-tooth comb and, following the video in my Romeo + Juliet–inspired halo-braid tutorial, make two tiny French braids along your hairline, from the part to the tops of your ears. Secure the braids with bobby pins. Leave the bottom portion of that braided hair loose for now.

Step Two

Take two strands of ribbon or yarn, about three feet long each, and loop them both into the curved end of one of your bobby pins.

Step Three

Secure the bobby pin, with the ribbon or yarn hanging from it, right behind one of your French braids, an inch or do from your center part. Now unpin your braids and start French-braiding the loose portion on one side, from the top of your ear to the nape of your neck, adding in the ribbon/yarn, and more hair, as you go. This might take a few tries—be patient! The key is to add hair to your braid evenly and gradually as you move down and back along your hairline, and to add the ribbon/yarn strands in early, but not all at once—ideally you’ll have at least one strand in each of the three main sections of hair you’re braiding.

Step Four
When you get to the nape of your neck on one side, braid the rest of the hair into a regular braid and secure the end with an elastic.

Step Five
Repeat steps 2-4 on the other side.

Step Six

Pull your braids up onto the top of your head—depending on how long your hair is, you might have to let them cross at the nape of your neck and wrap around the opposite sides of your head. Grab your U-shaped hairpins and start pinning the braids flat against your head by sticking each pin halfway into a braid, pushing it in slightly toward your scalp, turning it 180 degrees, and then pushing it all the way in. Keep doing this with as many pins as it takes for the braids to feel like they’re not gonna fall. (This might take some practice, too, but you’ll get the hang of it.) Spray the whole situation with a little hairspray if you want extra anti-gravity powers.

Step Seven

Trim the wire stems on your fake flowers to about 1.5 inches in length. Insert the stems all along your hairline in the front, and bend the wires so they’re gripping your hair. (You can use fresh flowers like Frida did, but they don’t have those convenient wire stems.) Or, if you’ve already made a flower crown, just pop it on top of your braids!

And there you go! You’ve got yourself a festive and colorful hairdo fit for a surrealist queen. Now pile on your jewelry and lace, and get ready to paint your next masterpiece. ♦