Braiding hair is becoming one of the most post popular options for hairdos and with its versatility and elegance it is not hard to see why. While a simple braid is easy to master and take only a few minutes to do, there are some braided dos that will take longer and need a great deal of experience. Before you can get too creative, however, you need to master the basic types of braids. Here is a quick introduction on how to braid your hair into some of the easier braided hairstyles. Once you master these, you can move to more complicated options or get creative and try your own hairdo.
No matter which type you are doing, it is always important to detangle your hair before starting your plait as knots can make it almost impossible to get a good-looking braid. If your hair is thick, wavy, curly or frizzy, all instructions of how to braid will tell you to do so when it is a bit damp as it makes it easier to handle.
The basic three strand braid is the easiest to do and the basis for the rest of the braiding techniques. Braiding can seem challenging but once you get the hang of it you can finish a simple one in just minutes no matter how long your hair is.
- First decide if you want to start with a pony-tail or with your hair loose. Beginners should always start with a pony-tail until they get the hang of it as this makes it easier to handle and creates a neater finished product.
- To start braiding, split your hair into three even sections (if they aren’t even, your finished product will look a lot messier).
- To start off, take the left part in your left hand and the right part in your right hand. (Try to grasp them but leave your thumbs and index fingers free as we will need them to braid).
- Now we are going to bring hair section that is on the left side into the middle, over the center section (which will now become the left section). Here is the best way to do this: use your thumb and index finger of your left hand to grab the middle section then take the thumb and index finger from your right hand and grab the section that was in your left palm (the original left section). This will allow the left and middle sections to switch spots.
- Take the section your left hand is holding between the thumb and index finger and place it in your palm (how you held the original left section).
- Now bring hair section that is on the right side into the middle, over the current center section. To do this, follow the same method you did in the previous step but with a slight change. So you will use the thumb and index finger on your left hand to take the hair section that is in your right palm, bringing it to the middle.
- Continue this until you reach the end of your hair or reach your desired stopping point.
One tip to keep in mind from this lesson in how to braid: try to hold the right and left sections in the palms of your hands so your index fingers and thumbs are free to grab the section on the opposite side and bring them to the center.
Once you have mastered how to braid your hair in the standard plait, you are ready to move on to a French braid. This is a bit harder so don’t be discouraged if it turns out messy or you don’t get the hang of it right away. It is best to practice on someone else’s hair before trying it on yourself as you will be able to see what you are doing.
- Choose your starter section (traditionally a small section at the top of your head – the hair you would take for a very small half-up, half-down hairstyle) and separate it into three groups.
- Try to follow the same gripping method as with the standard braids of keeping the side sections in your palms, leaving your thumbs and index fingers free. If you follow the same gripping pattern, you shouldn’t lose any strands while braiding so instead of describing the specific finger movements, I’ll just describe where you move each strand.
- Move the strand on the right over into the center place.
- Move the strand on the left over into the center place.
- Here is where the braid gets a bit trickier. Let the center strand hang loose (don’t worry about finding it again; it should stand out a bit). Transfer your right strand between the index finger and thumb of your left hand (completely ignore the center strand for now).
- Use your right hand to take a small section of hair from the right side of your head (outside of the braid) and add this to the section that is between your left index finger and thumb.
- Use your right hand to pick up the center strand of hair, which will move it to the right. Now the section that you just added hair to (and is between your left index finger and thumb) is the center section.
- Now we will do the same thing on the left side. So first drop the center strand, hold the right one in your right palm and the left one between your right index finger and thumb.
- Use the left hand to add some hair to the left strand (which is between your right index finger and thumb).
- Use your left hand to pick up the center strand of hair, making it the left section.
- Continue this process carefully until you have no more hair to add and then simply finish off with a normal braid.
Tip: Try to add sections of the same size to make the French braid look uniform.
A Dutch braid is also known as a reverse French braid and is basically the same thing as a French braid but instead of bringing the left and right strands over the middle section, you bring them under. This can seem a bit challenging for some people so make sure you have mastered the French braid before trying it.