Are you just starting out on your braiding journey? Have you seen lots of complicated styles and don’t think you could ever have the hair skills to do them yourself? I can help!
I am starting a series of posts on braiding basics. Until the beginning of 2014, I only knew how to do a traditional 3 strand braid and a French braid. I could curl hair and twist and pin it into beautiful updos, but I had never heard of nor tried anything more complicated than that. There are now countless braids and styles that I can do… but I had to start somewhere. I’m doing this series because I believe that anyone can braid. It may come easier to some people than to others, but with a little practice, anyone can braid.
My skills all started with the simple and elegant French braid. It’s a classic! I begin my Braiding Basics series here. (Though if you don’t already know how to do a standard 3 strand braid, please check out my 3 Strand Braid Pictorial first.) Whether you already know how to do a French braid and want to tweak your skills, or you are learning for the first time, I hope that this post and video will help! Let’s get started on learning how to French braid…
Supplies you’ll need: hairbrush, elastic, optional – spray bottle
Step 1. Start by brushing out the hair. Optional, spray the hair down with water (it will end up holding better so this is recommended if your little one has fine hair that slips out of a style or if you need it to last all day for school or sports).
Step 2. Gather a section of hair at the top of the head and split it into three equal sized pieces.
Step 3. Take the right most piece and move it over the piece you are holding in the middle, so that it becomes the next middle piece.
Step 4. Take the left most piece and move it over the piece you are holding in the middle, so that it now becomes the middle piece.
Step 5. Add a section of hair to your right most piece, pulling from the face up at a diagonal to where you are braiding. Once you have added hair to that right most piece, move it over the middle so that it becomes the middle piece.
Step 6. Add a section of hair to your left most piece, pulling from the face up at a diagonal (mirroring what you did on the right side) to where you are braiding. Once you have added hair to that left most piece, move it over the middle piece so that it becomes the middle piece.
Step 7. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you have braided all the way down the back of the head.
Step 8. Watch on your last section that you are adding in that it does not end up looking loose… if it looks like the last bits of hair that you added in are hanging loosely at the back of the neck, go back a stitch or two and add all that hair into that stitch so that you are pulling those pieces more up into the braid versus being pulled down. This will ensure that you have a tight finish to your braid. If this is at all confusing, I cover it in the video – so hopefully watching it will help!
Step 9. Continue braiding a 3 strand braid all the way down, then secure with an elastic.
You’re done! You can go back through and pancake the braid (pull at the edges to get a softer, more full look) if you like or spray with hairspray.
Once you have mastered this technique, there are so many ways that you can incorporate it into different styles. You can do it on a diagonal, starting above one ear and finishing below the other. You can do a French braid wrapping around the head – leave a part, start braiding on one side of the part by the face then carry the braid around and end by the opposite ear. You can part the hair down the middle and do two French braided pigtails. The options are endless! Have fun with it and keep practicing!
If you try out the French braid and want to share a photo, I would love to see! You can share them on my Facebook page or tag me in a photo on Instagram @hair_by_lori, or use the hashtag #HBLFrenchBraid.
Thank you so much for reading!
All posts in the Braiding Basics series:
Check out these posts to #HBLFrenchBraid on Instagram: