If you’re new to braiding, start with dry hair. Brush it thoroughly to eliminate tangles and ensure that the surface of your locks is as smooth as possible before proceeding with braiding.
Once you’re ready to begin, finger-comb a small section of hair towards the crown of your head and divide it into three equal sections with your finger.
Part your hair
To create the perfect French braid, it is essential first to prepare your hair. Start by brushing out any tangles and smoothing out your locks before adding any desired products, such as leave-in conditioner, hair oil, or gel, evenly through your locks – this will give a shiny appearance while making braiding more straightforward!
Before beginning, part your hair in either the middle or sideways and keep the part clean – any messy or zig-zag details will completely ruin the effect! To do this successfully, incorporate small sections of hair in small increments into the braid until all your locks reach your nape and have been included in it.
French braiding begins once your hair has been divided into three equal sections! Begin by taking chunks from each side and adding them to strands you have already created to form thicker braids; cross this unified strand over to the other side and repeat this process on all three sections of hair.
Once this step has been completed, you should have two thin strands in your hand to hold between your index finger and thumb. Use your other hand to grab some hair from either the right or left side and add it to the other strand – then continue braiding as before until your braid is complete and tie it off using a small hair tie.
Some may argue that greasy locks are necessary for French braid, but this is not always true. A hairspray can help hold your locks together during your work session and make handling less slippery and easier to manage.
French braiding can be challenging, and one trickier aspect is hand positioning. You should aim to place the first strand between the index finger and thumb, the second strand in the ring finger, third in the fist (press the middle finger ring finger and little finger together, or use little finger as part of a fist), with last strand being in your fist or between middle finger, ring finger, and little finger (along with little finger for fist use) Once this step is under your control, work on perfecting your braiding skills!
Separate your hair into three sections.
Start at the top of your head and divide a small section as cleanly as possible into three equal parts (one from each side). It is essential to keep these distinct so they don’t become tangled or messy as you work; using a comb can make this process simpler and more accurate.
Hold each section in one hand – right for right-hander, left for left-hander – with your middle section being held by both thumbs of either hand – to create the ideal starting point for braiding. Add hair strands to each strand as you go until your braid thickens with added locks. Half-inch sections (or as close as possible) must be picked up to keep their shape and size throughout this process.
Once you have divided your hair into three sections, cross one strand over the center section and the other on either side. This will add the first of many pieces that will thicken and fill out your French braid over time as you continue.
As you add more strands, be mindful that when counting them, they should go underneath rather than over the middle section – this differentiates French braiding from regular three-strand braids and will prevent your braid from becoming uneven or lopsided.
An effective texturizing spray or wax will help smooth away any flyaways or frizz that might arise during styling, giving your finished product a much smoother, more polished appearance than would be achieved without extra TLC.
As soon as your hair nears its end or you run out of strands to grab from either side, complete a three-strand braid using elastic to achieve an elegant French braid that appears more complex than it is.
Grab a section of hair.
Start by taking a small section of hair at the crown of your head, using your fingers to divide it into three equal sections (as cleanly as possible). Hold one unit with each hand: place one between your thumb and another finger (one on either hand); hold onto both teams in turn with both index finger and thumb for storage.
As you continue your braid, one side may become significantly more significant than the others due to insufficient new hair being added to it. To address this, take more generous strands from one of your sides that has ample hair while taking smaller ones from those that may soon run out.
Before crossing either the left or right section over the center, add a small chunk from that side into the strand being moved over – this will ensure that all braid strands have uniform sizes.
Once each side has run out of hair on one side, switch back to regular braiding by crossing one of the side sections over the middle section and starting a regular braid.
Once your braid has reached the end, secure it with an elastic hair tie covered by your chosen material to match your hair color for a subtle yet sophisticated appearance, or add some vibrancy and flair with something vibrant and colorful!
To make your braid more polished, smooth it with your hands to reduce bumps or ridges, and spritz it with hairspray to add hold and shine.
Beginning to style dry, unbraided hair can be challenging. To facilitate the process, consider lightly spraying it with texturizing spray or massaging in some gel or mousse for additional control and shaping. Slightly damp hair also tends to hold its shape better than dry tresses.
Next, it is essential to comb through and untangle your hair to make partitions easier and reduce friction and strain on your hands while braiding. Untangling also allows hair products, like smoothing cream, to penetrate more efficiently into its structure and absorb through more easily.
Beginning your French braid by gathering a small section of hair from the center top of your head. Divide this section into three equal parts using your fingers, and start crossing these over each other to form the braid. Ensure that each side contributes equally so the final product doesn’t appear uneven.
As you add hair to the right section, cross it into the middle before adding more to the left area. Continue adding new strands from both sides and crossing them over until you reach a point on your head parallel with your ears where there is no more room to add hair.
As soon as you’re ready to begin your second braid, grab a smaller section from the lower portion of your head. Braid this into the left and middle sections by pulling tight so they don’t lose shape.
At some point, once your braid has wrapped around the back of your head, tie it off with a clear hair tie or leave your locks loose as desired.
If you are still learning how to braid, lower your braids on your head near your ear for easier management and practice without taking as long. This may allow for faster braid completion rates!