While we all know how versatile a French Braid can be—from classrooms to the red carpet, it’s everywhere—one thing the style is not particularly noted for is the simplicity of execution. Surprisingly, this hairstyle is considerably easier to execute than it appears.
Don’t be scared if you’ve never done a French braid before, Byrdies. Here is a simple walkthrough of a classic French hair braid.
The elastic is required, but all of the other items are optional. Except for the flexibility, everything is up to you. I recommend having them on hand so that they’re convenient to get if you choose to rely on them while hiking.
- An elastic band is often included with the product: They are a popular choice for those seeking a more straightforward method to cover their hair with pins. They’re also less likely to break off than the Japanese hairs, which have ridges and the hook that help them stay in place without slipping out.
- Dense bobby pins or matte bobby pins: They’re easy to apply, and once they’ve set, they become undetectable in the hair.
- Comb or detangling brush: Pick a favorite based on your hair type. Spray the hair with a texturizing spray, such as hair spray.
Comb the Hair:
Remove any knots or tangles from your hair. If you have tamed, unruly hair prone to tangling, try using a detangling brush like the Wet Brush or a Tangle Teezer. I have thick hair that I’m not used to brushing, so I went with a wide-tooth comb.
This approach will allow you to grab sections of your hair as you braid quickly.
Create three separate sections:
You’re going to create three sections: one from the left, one from the center, and one from the right. You can start wherever you’d like. For a tighter, more secure French braid, I’d suggest starting right on top, in the center of your head (just above your forehead). A stricter look won’t have any parting visible.
For a looser French braid (which is what I’ve decided to do here), you can start right above the ears and keep your natural parting as is. It’s easy to grab the side sections above the ear as if you were doing a half-up style. When holding hair from the center, try to feel it out and keep it roughly the same size as your side sections.
The far left section is set above the center section:
Start by bringing the left side of your hair over the middle section. The position of your center section has now been taken by your left area, which is on top.
When you overlap the left over the center, gently guide that original middle portion to the left, almost as if they’re swapping positions. After that, adjust your hands to a more comfortable grip; you’ll probably do it without thinking.
The right section is over the center section:
Now, bring your right section over the middle piece. Once again, pull these parts into their proper location. There’s no need to be delicate about it; keep things tight as you go. In other words, each time you pull a side piece over, it becomes a new center section.
That being said, your right-side hair should take the spotlight among your three sections of hair.
Add Hair to the Left Part of Your Hair:
To complete, take the section of hair from the left and add more coats from the left. You’re thickening the area before bringing it over the center, in this case, which is precisely what you did previously. After adding the additional hair,
repeat everything you did previously and bring the entire section over the core strands.
Adding Hair to the Right Part:
Make a line down the middle of your section, then run it back to the left side. Make similar lines on both sides of your part. Add a small amount of hair from the right to your center, thickening it before transporting it over to the left.
Continue to the Nape:
Adding hair to the left and right side sections until you reach the end of your nape. Continue doing so until you’ve reached the bottom of your nape and have used up all of your hair on each side.
Finish with a classic braid:
As you near the bottom of your strands, make no further modifications to your sections and continue with a classic three-strand braid. Follow the same techniques you’ve used throughout the leftover center, right over center, going back and forth to your ends.
Secure the ends:
Secure your ends together, leaving exposed 1/2″ and 1″ of your lots. The smaller the braid, the fewer of your unbraided strands you’ll want to leave out; however, you’ll want to go more strands “undone for looser braids.” Hair ties are notorious for coming undone.
Therefore, I propose utilizing a small elastic connection. After you’re sure your finishes are secure, feel free to add a scrunchie, barrette, or any other preferred adornments to your braid.
If you untangle your hair initially, you may be left with slippery strands that are more prone to falling out of place, especially if you have layers. At this point, I recommend using a dry texturizing spray for added hold.
To add more flair to your style, pull the braid apart to thicken it and expose any face-framing pieces for a more romantic, “un-do” appearance. You’re probably familiar with the whole tug-of-war situation if you’ve ever had a twist out. Unless your hair is very thick,
it’s more challenging to pull out ends from inside of each braid than tie down braid tails once the braids have been divided and set aside.
After completing all of those last touches to your French braid, you may mist a light hold hairspray over it to keep the strands in place for the long term.