14 Tips On How To French Braid Your Hair Like A Pro
Croissants, champagne, Paris. The French seem to get so many things right. Add one more to that list—the French braid. Nobody knows exactly whether or not the French braid originated in France, but it certainly has the panache and style of all things French. French Braids are beautiful on their own or as the foundation for lots of other hair styles. Here is the how-to for creating a simple, basic French braid, along with 14 helpful tips for French braid perfection.
How To Create A French Braid
Using an oval or flat paddle brush or detangling brushsomething that won’t cause frizzbrush through your hair to remove all tangles. Then brush your hair in the direction you want the braid to go, whether it’s to the side or straight back.
Create a Mohawk-shaped section from the front hairline at the temples to just above the crown of the head. Divide this top section into three equal subsections.
Cross the left section over the center section. Then cross the right section over the center section.
Grab a small section of hair from the right hairline. Pick it up with your finger and part it straight across to where the existing braid has been started. Add this new section to the braid section on the right side.
Feed another small section from the front hairline into the left braid section.
Cross the left section over the center. Cross the right section over the center.
Repeat the previous steps of feeding a hairline/side section into the braid section on the right side, then feeding a hairline/side section into the braid section on the left side. Cross the left section over the center and cross the right section over the center.
Keep braiding in this manner all the way down to the bottom of the head or nape, until you run out of hair to feed in on each side.
At this point, you can divide the rest of the hair, below the bottom of the head, into three sections and complete the look with a conventional, three-strand braid.
Secure the braid with a small elastic and if needed, mist the hair with hairspray to control flyaways.
Useful French Braid Tips
Hold the hair as taut as possible as you create the braid to prevent the hair from sagging or buckling.
As you feed in the side sections, be sure every section is created straight across and kept as tight and clean as possible to avoid sagging or gaps.
Use the tip of your finger or fingernail to create the subsections.
If the hair is curly, wavy and/or textured, it will stay in place but may not look smooth or frizz-free, so it might be helpful to use a smoothing cream before drying the hair to tame frizz.
To dress up a French braid, prep the hair by curling it before braiding. Use a curling iron or curling wand to create waves or curls. The braid will look fuller and more polished.
For an easy, casual, Bohemian look, expand the French braid by pulling gently at the sides after the hair is braided. Pull only the braided section, not the horizontal sections on the sides of the braid.
Try to keep all the sections the same size, including the sections you feed in from the sides.
Use your fingers to keep the sections divided, with your thumbs on top.
Get creative! You can use a French braid as a foundation for an up-style or bun or you can do a mini French braid as a hairstyle accent.
At the bottom, resist the urge to grab too much hair as you’re finishing up the French braid. Keep the sections uniform and clean and follow the curve of the head.
Embellish your braid. Nowadays, girls are raiding everything from the jewelry box to the craft store to the garden to adorn their French braids. You can scatter pearls throughout your braid, tuck small daisies into the loops, thread small metal rings through the braid sections. There are many ways to add fun and interest to a French braid!
If you have short hair, you can still do a small French side braid, tiny French cornrow braids or a small crown or hairline French braid.
Practice makes perfect. Grab a girlfriend or a mannequin head and practice French braiding in your spare time. Braiding is all about rhythm and finger dexterity, and both of those come with repetition.