Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,, times. Try not to braid your hair too tight! This will make the braid smooth and neat. Again, it will hang between the left and right strands.
A braid can add a fun accent to your hair and is great for when you have little time to devote to styling your hair. It takes practice to get a smooth and uniform braid. There are many different types of braids you can try. Take some time to learn how to braid your own hair using three common braided hair styles. To braid your own hair, start by taking a section of hair from the crown of your head and dividing it into three sections.
Begin braiding by crossing the right section over the center, then the left section over the center. Before you cross the right section over the center the next time, pick up a little more hair from the right side of your head.
Then secure the end of the braid with a hair tie. Expert Reviewed Why choose wikiHow? When you see the green expert checkmark on a wikiHow article, you know that the article has received careful review by a qualified expert. If you are on a medical article, that means that an actual doctor, nurse or other medical professional from our medical review board reviewed and approved it.
Similarly, veterinarians review our pet articles, lawyers review our legal articles, and other experts review articles based on their specific areas of expertise. This helps your braid stay smooth and neat. Brushing your hair before you start braiding will prevent knots from forming in your hair as your braid.
Don't start braiding your hair when it is wet. It will expand as it dries and may break in your braid. Avoid using lots of hair product when you start this process, but you can try a dry shampoo to help with texture if you need it. You can also mist on a little water or use a leave-in conditioner to help tame flyaways. Try using dry shampoo if you are having problems holding on to your hair. Clean, dry hair may be too slick to stay in place while performing the steps. The dry shampoo adds texture that helps you hold on to the strands.
Decide where you want your braid to fall. Before you can start your braid, you need to decide where you want your braid. The placement of your braid on your head can transform your hairstyle for many outfits and occasions. It can be convenient, casual, or elegant depending on where you place your braid. Pull your hair to either side to make a side braid.
Brush all of your hair to the side you choose to ensure there will be no bumps. This creates a more elegant, put together look that can accent an evening out or day at the office. Starting with a side braid can be beneficial if you are a beginner. It is easier to see and control what you are doing with a side braid. You can braid down the back in a low, unsecured ponytail. This gives a more elegant classic braid and is more relaxed and unstructured. You can also start by making a ponytail in the middle or on top of your head.
This will add stability to a back braid but is a more casual look. Divide your hair into three sections. Collect and hold your hair in your hands. Hold the section of hair on the left between your left thumb and forefinger.
Hold the section of hair on the right between your right thumb and forefinger. Let the center section hang loose for now. Start braiding by crossing the right section of hair over the center section. Grab the center section of hair with between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Pull on the sections of hair in both hands to tighten the braid.
This will ensure that the braid will be even with no gaps. If you have longer hair, run your fingers down the section of hair to ensure it does not get tangled as you go. Continue braiding the remainder of your hair. You should now rotate your left wrist to cross the left section of hair over the new center section of hair.
Secure the center section of hair between your thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Pull the sections of hair in both hands tightly to ensure that the tension on the braid is even as you go. Repeat the previous two steps. Do this until you reach the bottom of your sections of hair. Make sure to continue pulling your hair snug as you follow the braid.
If your braid gets too long while braiding down your back, pull your hair over your shoulder and continue the steps with the hair in front of you. Tie with a hair tie at the bottom. Make sure the hair tie is tight. If it is too loose sections of your braid will come out. Brush your hair thoroughly. This will make the braid smooth and neat. This will also cut down on tangling as you braid. It will be difficult to pull your hair into sections for a braid if it is tangled.
Smoother hair is easier to braid and this will prevent a messy looking style. Remember to avoid braiding wet hair or using too much product. If you are having trouble with your hair slipping out of the braid, you can apply a dry shampoo though.
Section off an area of hair at the front of the scalp on the top of your head. Use a hair pick or comb to pick up the section of hair at the top of your head.
The French braid is more complicated than the traditional braid because the braid starts at the top of your head, then incrementally adds hair from the rest of your head as you work your way down the braid. This first section should extend from your temples to the top of your head. You can also separate this section of hair by pulling your hair back along the side of your head from your temples to the back, using your thumbs.
Brush this section of hair back from your face to smooth it out. Divide the section at the front of your head for braiding. Split the hair into three sections, holding the hair high on your head. Hold one section in one hand and two in the other, keeping them separated by your index finger. It is often helpful to hold two sections in your left hand and one in your right hand.
Make sure your hold is firm on the three sections. Cross the right section over the center section to start. Cross the left section over the section that is now in the center, as if you were doing a traditional braid. This is the start of your braid. It should begin high on the crown of your head and look like a traditional braid. Pull the sections tight to make sure the tension on the braid is even and that it is not too loose.
Continue your braid on the right side. You will do this by taking small sections of hair and adding them to the right section of your divided hair. Pick up a small section of hair from the right side of your head, immediately below the braided section. Add the new hair to the section of hair that you are holding in your right hand.
Then cross this right section over the center section of hair. Pull the section tight at the end of each cross over to ensure that the braid stays neatly defined with even tension. Continue your braid on the left side. This will follow the same method you used on the right side.
Pick up a small section of hair from the left side of your head, just below the braid. This section should be parallel to and the same size as the section you picked up on your right side. Add it to the hair that you are holding in your left hand. Cross it over the center section of hair. Repeat this process, alternating between left and right sides. Continue to pick up extra hair before crossing the sections into your braid.
This incorporates the hair not already in the braid, creating a cohesive braid. Make sure you take even strands on each side of your head.
This will ensure that your braid will be even and straight in the back. The braid should follow the center of your head, from the front hair line to the nape of the neck. If you have longer hair, run your fingers down each the section of hair to ensure that tangling does not occur as you go. Braid your remaining hair. You will use a traditional braid once all the hair down to the nape of your neck is incorporated into the three sections you started with.
When you have no more hair to braid, tie the end with a hair tie. If you have long hair, you will need to bring your braid over your shoulder to complete it.
Try variations of this braid. You can do pigtail french braids by splitting your hair into 2 sections with a hair pick and braiding them individually. You can also braid from your part down the side of your head. This is called a french lace braid. This removes tangles and makes braiding easier.
If you don't have longer hair, you can use hair extensions to make this braid easier. Make sure there are no tangles or knots in your hair before you start the braid. Use a regular hair brush or comb to do this step.
It is much simpler to do a side fishtail braid when you are first learning. The multi-layered construction makes it difficult to do behind your back when you are not familiar with the process. Part your hair into two sections. Use a hair pick or comb to part your hair down the middle, dividing it into 2 large sections at the base of your skull. Grab the right section with your right hand and the left section with your left hand, letting the middle section hang free for now.
In your right and left hands, hold the strands so that you're grasping them against your palm with your middle, ring and little fingers, keeping your index fingers and thumbs free. Cross the left section over the middle section. With the index finger and thumb of your left hand, grab the middle section of hair.
Using the index finger and thumb of your right hand, grab the left section of hair that's grasped against your left palm. The original left-hand section is now the middle section. Cross the right section over the middle section. In your left hand, shift the strand that's between your index finger and thumb so that your other fingers are holding it secure against your palm. Use your left index finger and thumb to grab the section of hair that's being held against your right palm but not the one being held by the thumb and index finger.
The original right-hand section is now the middle section. Typically, step 4 and step 5 in this braiding technique are called a "sequence" or "stitch. Continue braiding in this manner. Keep using the "free" index finger and thumb of one hand to grab the "back" section of hair held by the other three fingers against the palm from the other hand.
Tighten the braid as you go, and keep the tension even for all 3 sections. It's best to gently pull down on the braid as you weave. Any time a strand changes hands, tug gently on the hair so that the plait moves upward, tightening it. Repeat until you run out of space to braid, leaving about 1—3 inches 2. Use a non-rubber elastic to tie off the end of the braid. You might have to wrap it around the hair several times. These can damage the hair and be difficult to remove at the end of the day.
Whenever possible, use a ponytail holder that is the same colour as your hair or that is translucent, so that it blends in with your braid. This can make a braid look more natural, and get people to concentrate on the braid itself, rather than on the holder.
Set the braid with hairspray optional. Hairspray or spray gel can help your braid from developing flyaways as the day goes on. If you decide to use hairspray, make sure to use it before adding any hair ornaments. Use a shine serum along your braid to give it some extra glow. Rub a bit between your hands and then run along the length of the braid. Add embellishment to your braid optional. Tie a colorful ribbon in a bow at the end of your braid for extra flair. You can use tulle, grosgrain, or ric rac, all of which can be found in a variety of colors at your local fabric store.
Use a cute hair pin or brooch to pin near the base of your braid, or to hold back your bangs. Play with traditional braids to create other styles.
Traditional braids are easy to incorporate into other styles. You can braid a tiny accent braid that hangs loose, or you can pin your accent braid to create a headband.
You can also dress up a ponytail by braiding it into a traditional braid. You can braid all or part of your hair, so experiment to see which styles you like! Comb out any knots. French braiding can be particularly tricky if your hair is tangled, so take a few minutes to remove knots with a brush or wide-toothed comb. Part out your starter section. For a traditional French braid, this is probably the front section of your hair, that's closest to your forehead and temples.
You don't have to start a French braid at the top of your head. It's the easiest way to learn, but theoretically you could start a French braid anywhere.
Just make sure you're including the hair above your ears in your starter section if you decide to move down the head. You can create multiple French braids on your hair using several parts. If you have short hair, it may be easier to make two medium braids rather than one large one. Separate your starter section into three equal sections. These three strands will make up the beginning of the braid. The real trick to French braiding is keeping your three sections evenly sized as you braid.
Give yourself a solid head start by making sure your strands are equal to begin with. Make sure the strands start from the same row of hair, rather than staggered areas. Keeping the three strands close together will also be helpful. Hold the three strands in your hands. Grasping the strands correctly will help you braid neatly and quickly. Though you might find another way that's more comfortable for you, here's a basic beginning grip: Grasp the left strand in your left hand.
Grasp the center strand between the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Grasp the right strand between your right palm and the last three fingers of your right hand. Move the right strand to the center. Here's how to shift the right strand without completely losing your hold on the braid: With the last three fingers of your left hand, grip the left strand between your fingers and your palm.
This should free up your left thumb and index finger. With your left thumb and index finger, reach over the center strand and grab the right strand. You should now have two strands in your left hand and one in your right hand. Move the left strand to the center. This will be the same process as the previous step, mirrored.
With the last three fingers of your right hand, grip the right strand between your fingers and your palm. This should free up your right thumb and index finger. With your right thumb and index finger, reach over the center strand and grab the left strand. You should now have two strands in your right hand and one in your left hand.
Add hair to the right strand. Up until now, you've done a regular braid. This is where the "French" part of the process comes in. It might take you a few tries to get it right, but it's easier once you're comfortable with the grip. Let go of the center strand, and allow it to hang between the left and right strands. You should be able to tell it apart from the rest of your hair — it'll be slightly elevated above the hair that hasn't been braided yet.
Grip the left strand between the last three fingers of your left hand and your left palm and grab the right strand with your left thumb and index finger.
Your right hand should now be free. Using your right hand, pull up a small section of unbraided hair from the right side of your head.
Slide your thumb against your scalp just below the section, gathering a small section of hair. Grab this new section with your left thumb and index finger to add it to the right strand of the braid. Pick up the center strand of the braid again. Grab it with your right hand, and move it to the right, making it your new right strand. The section you added hair to, between your left thumb and index finger, is the new center strand.
Add hair to the left strand. This process will be just like the previous step, but using opposite sides: Let go of the center strand. Again, it will hang between the left and right strands.
Grip the right strand between the last three fingers of your right hand and your right palm. Grab the left strand with your right thumb and index finger.
Your left hand should now be free. Using your left hand, pull up a small section of unbraided hair from the left side of your head. Slide your thumb along your scalp in the same manner you did on the other side of your head, gathering the same amount of hair to add to the left section. Grab the new section with your right thumb and index finger to add it to the left section of the braid.
Grab it with your left hand, and move it to the left, making it your new left strand. The section you added hair to, between your right thumb and index finger, is the new center strand.
Continue braiding in this pattern. You will run out of new hair to add into the braid when you reach the nape of your neck, at which point you can finish with a regular braid. To keep the braid looking as neat as possible, create parallel lines on each side of your head as you gather sections of hair.
This helps keep your sections about the same size as you finish your braid. Do a basic braid on the rest of the hair. Continue doing a regular three-strand braid with the hair that's still loose. Use a hair tie the same color as your hair, or one that is translucent so that it blends in. Avoid rubber bands, which can damage your hair and be difficult to remove. Hairspray or spray gel can help your French braid from developing flyaways as the day goes on. If you're going to add extra embellishment to your hair, hairspray it first.
This will prevent flaky residue from getting on your barrettes or ribbons. Using shine serum will help to keep your hair looking smooth and soft, if it has the tendency to be rough and dry looking. For some extra flair, tie a colorful ribbon in a bow at the end of your braid. Adding a pretty brooch or multiple hair pins along the braid is a great way to add a bit of glam to your look. Separate your hair into two even sections. A fishtail braid looks like it's made of several small strands, but surprisingly there are only two primary sections.
For a neat braid, use a fine-toothed comb to make a straight part down the middle of your head, from forehead to nape. For a more tousled, Katniss Everdeen-inspired look, just part your hair with your hands and separate into two sections that seem somewhat even. You can fishtail your hair when it is either wet or dry. Pull a small strand of hair from the left section into the right section. Once you get this grip down, you'll be able to do it for the whole braid.
Hold the right section of hair in your right hand. Drop the left section and let it hang loose. Because you're only working with two sections, you don't need to worry about it mixing with another part of the braid. Using your left hand, pull up a small strand of hair from the leftmost side of the left section. That is, from the side of the left section of hair that's closest to your ear. Grab the small strand of hair from the left section with your right hand, incorporating it into the right section of the braid.
Hold the left section of hair in your left hand again. As you pick it back up, you can run your fingers through the section to smooth out any knots and tighten up the braid. Pull a small strand of hair from the right section into the left section. This is just like the previous step, but mirrored. For a more intricate-looking braid, pull up smaller strands of hair.
For a quicker braid, grab larger sections. Hold the left section of hair in your left hand. Drop the right section and let it hang loose. Again, because you're only working with two primary sections, there's no need to worry about mixing strands. Using your right hand, pull up a small strand of hair from the rightmost side of the right section or the part closest to your ear. Grab the small strand of hair from the right section with your left hand, incorporating it into the left section of the braid.
Hold the right section of hair in your right hand again. Repeat this pattern till you run out of hair. Keep alternating sides and adding strands until you get to the end of your locks.
Try to keep the small strands that you pull into the main sections as evenly sized as possible. Tie off the braid with a hair elastic. Take care not to tangle any hair in the elastic. Choose 1 that is wrapped in fabric to minimize the risk of damaging your hair.
Separate the hair into five equal sections. A five-strand braid looks a little more intricate and elegant than a standard three-strand braid, and it's easy to do once you get the process down.
When you're first learning, consider pulling your hair into a ponytail and starting the braid there, so you're working with a stable base. It's easiest to braid a five-strand braid when your hair is wet or greasy from going a few days of being unwashed.
This will help to keep the sections together, and prevent fly-aways from getting tangled up in other strands. Hold the strands with both hands. It's easiest if you hold the two leftmost strands in your left hand, and the two rightmost strands in your right hand, allowing the center strand to hang loose.
Numbering the strands can help you keep them straight.
And if it feels like you were absent the day they taught braiding in school, don’t freak, because we’re going back to the basics today and breaking down every . The braiding ninjas on YouTube may make braiding your own hair look seamless, but for those of us with less-than-stellar skills, it can be hard enough to do a traditional side braid. To make braiding your own hair easier (and less intimidating) we sought the help of experts, or "braidologists" as we like to call them, to offer up their must-know tricks. Braiding your hair takes only about two minutes of your time—and the only styling tools you need are a brush and a hair band. When you have little time to style your hair (or your daughter’s), a braid is an easy and quick solution, as you’ll see in this video.