Beauty School Drop-In at the Aveda Institute Vancouver

I'm a dunce when it comes to doing my hair. If I'm feeling fancy I'll try a few small braids, maybe a bun, or I'll use the straightening iron. But most of the time, I'm strictly a wash-and-wear sort.

So when the Vancouver Aveda Institute invited me for a hair crash course with lead educator Shallynn Johnston, I was intrigued. How doable would these styling tips be? Very, as it turns out. Over the course of 1.5 hours, Johnston showed us some easy updos and a number of straightening iron tricks.

Here are the hair highlights if you want to give them a whirl at home!

Knotted Side Bun

Think of this as the easy-but-elegant cousin of the side ponytail. To get this look, start with second-day hair or spritz a texturizing spray (like Aveda Air Control Hairspray) liberally on dry hair. Create a deep side part, then gather hair into a side ponytail on the same side as the part. Secure with a snag-free elastic. Next, form a knot with the ponytail. Wrap the loose ends around and secure with bobby pins.

A variation for medium-length hair: Try separating the ponytail into two sections and tying them into a knot, then pinning down the loose ends.

Side Loop

Another variation on the side ponytail, this 'do starts off like the knotted side bun (second-day hair or texturizing spray, deep side part, side ponytail). This time, form a loop instead of pulling hair all the way through. Wrap the loose ends around the elastic and secure with bobby pins.

Fishtail Braid Twist

This 'do takes a bit more time and practice than the previous two, but the impressive result is worth it.

Step 1: Separate your side ponytail into two sections. Fishtail-braid each section by taking small sections of hair from the inside and wrapping them around the outside; continue wrapping interior small sections around the outside until you reach the end. Secure with elastics, or for a softer touch, backcomb the end of the braid and stick a bobby pin through the centre.

Step 2: To keep the fishtail braids from looking too polished and "done," pull at the sides of the braids to loosen them. The braids should look looser and thicker than when you finished braiding them.

Step 3: Twist both fishtail braids together and secure the twist with an elastic.

The Easiest Straight-Iron Curls Ever (Promise!)

Add wavy, natural-looking texture to straight locks with this simple trick. Spritz a low-hold hairspray on a large section of dry hair, and wrap the section around two fingers. Slide your fingers out of the hair loop. Clamp a straightening iron on the hair loop (the thicker the hair, the longer you apply heat). When you take away the straightening iron, the hair should still be looped up. (Resist the urge to brush it loose!) Repeat until all your hair is done. Allow the curls to cool, then brush them loose, and voila, relaxed waves.

Thanks to the Aveda Institute Vancouver for the informative beauty school drop-in session! If you'd like to learn more, or if you've always fancied yourself the next Vidal Sassoon or Sally Hershberger, be sure to check out the Aveda Born to Style competition. Four lucky winners from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto will win full scholarships to the Aveda Institute in their hometown.


  1. I'm headed to this next week too! Excited to learn some new tricks, I'm the exact same as you...I have a mild interest/capability with styling at best. It just gets too complex for me and I give up too easily!

    Alexandra xo

  2. We loved having you Lisa, thank you!
    We are currently giving away a scholarship to one lucky winner! It is a video submission contest, really exciting! If you are interested in hair school - don't miss out! Here is a link with the details:


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