A French Braid is a great, versatile hairstyle. It works for a fancy occasion, for everyday, even when your hair is dirty and you don't have time to shampoo!
It's a little trickier to attempt this style on yourself than to have someone help you, but as long as you practice a bit and are patient, you'll have a great French Braid in no time. If you have the ability to set up a mirror both in front and behind you, then you can see exactly what you are doing, and it will make it a lot easier.
Note: There are many variations on French Braids - for instance, the 4-strand braid. The technique outlined here is for the classic 3-strand braid.
- This isn't absolutely necessary, but it's easier to work with hair that was not shampooed that day. The day after is optimal, at least when you are practicing. That way, the oils in your hair have time to travel from your scalp through the length of your hair. This makes it easier to separate and hold your hair.
- Brush your hair straight back from your hairline. If you want to keep some pieces out in front, this is the time to separate them from the rest of your brushed-back hair - it will ruin the braid if you try to pull them out later.
- Towards the crown of your head, grab some hair from the top layer near the top where you want to start the braid. Hold this in one hand.
- Take the section that you have in your hand and divide it into three sections. Since you don't have a third hand, hold each of the sections between your fingers, or two sections in one hand and the other section in the other hand, whichever technique you find easier.
- Take one of the outer section (either the section on the outer left or the outer right), and pull it across the middle section.
- Take whichever outer section you didn't previously use, and do the same - just like you would with a regular braid.
- Pick up some more hair that was not in the initial three sections, and add it to the lock that is currently at the farthest right.
- If you are especially handy, or have someone to help you, lightly finger-comb the roots of the new section so the side lays flat on your head.
- Pull over the newly augmented section into your braid like above.
- Repeat steps 7-9 with the section on the outermost left section.
- Repeat steps 7-9 with the section currently on the right.
- Continue adding hair and repeating steps 7-9 until you reach the nape of your neck.
- If any spot is uncomfortable, lightly tug on it until it is loose enough to be comfortable.
- Starting at the nape of your neck, make a regular braid. Fasten it at the end with a ribbon, elastic, etc.
As an optional last step, if you just want the braid on the back of your scalp and have the rest of your hair loose, fasten it with a barrette or elastic. If you want a ponytail, fasten all of your hair with an elastic (make sure it's a covered elastic or else you'll hurt your hair when you take it out!).
Have fun perfecting your braid!