Some of us are more gifted in the hair department than others, and while your best friend can create an upside-down French-braid bun in the time it takes you to google “how to braid,” you may need a little bit of extra help. And that’s where we come in.
From a waterfall braid to a chain braid to a good ol’ French braid we are here to show you exactly how to master braiding. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.
- Brush your hair with a boar-bristle paddle brush until it’s smooth (or if you have curly hair, try gently finger-detangling to avoid destroying your curl pattern).
- Then, using a rat-tail comb or your fingers, section off the triangle of hair from your forehead to the crown of your head.
- Split the section into three pieces and three-strand braid them, making sure to incorporate more hair from each side of your head each time you cross the hair over.
- Continue braiding and feeding in sections until you reach the ends, then tie off with an elastic.
- To create this inverted, inside-out French braid, follow steps 1 and 2 from above (brush or detangle, then section off a triangle of hair).
- Here’s where the difference comes in: Instead of crossing sections of hair over one another and into the middle while braiding (mime it with your hands right now; you’ll see what I mean), you’re going to reverse the direction and cross your sections underneath each other, pulling from the inside out. This will create that popped-out finish that makes Dutch braids so noticeable.
- Brush your hair back into a ponytail, tying off with an elastic.
- Rub a dab of pomade between your fingertips (it’ll help keep stray hairs in place while you work), then split the ponytail in two sections, then twist each section inward in the same direction.
- Then, cross and twist the two sections together, securing the ends with an elastic band. Mist the rope braid with hairspray to keep it locked in place.
- After detangling or combing your hair, divide it into pigtails. Clip one section out of the way while you work to make it easier.
- Split your hair in half, gripping both sections in each hand. Then, with your pointed finger, pull a small piece of hair from the outside of the left section and cross it over, joining it on the inside of the right section.
- Repeat on the other side, pulling a piece of hair from the outside of the right section and crossing it over to the inside of the left section.
- Keep braiding to the ends, then secure your fishtail braid with an elastic. Unclip the other half of your hair and repeat until you have two fishtail braids.
- Then, fatten up the braids by tugging on the edges of the fishtails for an intentionally undone look.
FRENCH FISHTAIL BRAIDS
- Unless you were #blessed with curly hair, curl your hair first to give your hair some added texture and grip. Pro tip: Mist on some hair spray before and after you curl for even more hold.
- Next, create a deep part over the arch of one eyebrow, then divide your hair in half down the middle.
- French-braid each side of your hair, clipping the braids in place when you reach the nape of your neck.
- Undo the clips and three-strand braid the two sections together twice—just two passes to join them together, before switching to a fishtail braid.
- Fishtail braid the rest of your hair together, tying off the ends with an elastic.
HALO CROWN BRAIDS
- Part your hair down the center with your fingers or a comb.
- Starting at the nape of your neck on your left side, Dutch-braid your hair (like you did earlier) up and around the side of your head. Yes, you’ll have to really tilt your head to the side for this, so we highly recommend clipping one side of your hair up and out of the way while you work.
- Once you reach your temple, continue Dutch-braiding across your hairline and back down the other side of your head. Tie off the ends with an elastic.
- Tuck the secured ends under the braid, pinning it in place. Boom—halo braid.
- After center-parting your hair (or you can do a little off to the side, if you’re not a middle-part person), begin French-braiding your hair from your hairline to your temple.
- Next, while still holding your three sections, continue French-braiding, but instead of crossing the outer piece (the one nearest your face, rather than the ceiling), drop it. Yup, literally just drop it down with the rest of your hair, so you’re only holding two sections now.
- Then continue the French-braid part: Grab another section of hair from your hairline, add it to your braid like normal, and braid it. But when it comes time to cross that outer section over, just drop it. Basically, you’re only French-braiding one half of the section.
- Continue braiding until you reach the back of your head, then repeat on the other side. Join the two sections in back, pinning in place.
- Secure your hair into a low ponytail, then wrap and pin a piece of hair around your elastic so it looks polished.
- Then split your ponytail into four sections (to make this easy, label them in your head as one, two, three, four from left to right).
- Take the third section and cross it over the second section, then take the fourth section and cross it under the second and third sections, and then over the third section. Next, drop the second piece and bring the first section under the third and fourth pieces.
- Continue this sequence until you’ve reached the ends, then secure with a hair tie.
- Create two Dutch braids on each side of your part, braiding all the way to the ends before tying them off with an elastic.
- Crisscross them at the back of your head, then clip them up and out of the way while you work on the bun portion.
- Braid the rest of your loose hair into a regular three-strand braid and wrap it in a bun, bobby-pinning it in place. Finally, wrap the two crisscrossed braids around the first bun and pin it into place.
- Scoop up half your hair (like you’re creating a half-up ponytail), and starting on the side of your crown, begin French-braiding counterclockwise across the front of your hairline.
- Continue braiding down the left side of your head and around the nape of your neck, guiding the braid up and into the space on the crown of your head to create a spiral.
- Finish by tucking the ends of your hair into the braid along your hairline to conceal it.
FRENCH SIDE BRAIDS
- As you can tell, this braid is all about major volume. So, unless you’ve already got thick, voluminous texture, start by curling your hair and teasing it at the hairline and crown to create major volume.
- Then, pull your hair over your shoulder and French-braid it, leaving out the layers and flyaways around your face to soften the look.
- Continue braiding to the ends, securing it with an elastic band and a coat of hair spray.
FISHTAIL FLOWER BRAIDS
- Center-part your hair, then, on each side of your part, create two thin fishtail braids, braiding to the middle of each section.
- Wrap your tiny fishtail braids into a bun and bobby-pin them in place.
- Then, take a new, loose piece of hair from underneath the bun and fishtail-braid it all the way to the ends, securing it with an elastic band.
- Pick up a small section of hair a few inches back from your hairline and three-strand braid it, securing the ends with a hair tie.
- Next, an inch back from the first braid, French braid a larger section of hair and secure with an elastic band, letting it hang loosely.
- Finally, take all your hair (including the braids), split it in half, and rope braid everything together, tying off the ends with an elastic.
LOBSTER TAIL BRAIDS
- Grab a section of hair from the nape of your neck and braid it (secure the ends with an elastic), leaving the rest of your hair hanging loosely over your opposite shoulder.
- Then, take the remaining hair and wrap it under and over your braid, creating a coiled, piecey effect, until you’ve reached the hair tie.
- Tuck the wrapped hair into the elastic and voilà! Lobster tail braid.
UPSIDE-DOWN FRENCH BRAID BUNS
- Flip your head over and French-braid from the nape of your neck to just below the crown of your head.
- Secure the braid with a hair tie, then wrap the hair around the base of the elastic and pin it into place. Boom: a gorgeous, unconventional bun.
DUTCH BRAID PIG TAILS
- Part your hair down the center of your head, then clip one section up and out of the way.
- With your loose hair, create a Dutch braid from your hairline down to the nape of your neck, securing with an elastic. Repeat on the other side.
- Cover the elastics by wrapping a piece of hair around each hair tie, sliding a bobby pin through the elastic to keep it in place.
- Section off a three-inch strip of hair down the center of your head (use clips to hold the side of your hair down and out of the way).
- Dutch-braid the strip until you reach just below the crown of your head, tying off the braid with an elastic.
- Unclip the sides of your hair and braid them on top of your already braided strip, partially covering the braid so it peeks through.
- Incorporate the rest of your hair and three-strand braid it until you reach the ends. Secure with an elastic.