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French braids - they've been a staple hairstyle for as long as anyone can remember. Cute, fun and seamless, they're the perfect way to keep your hair out of your face while still looking put together. Despite their attractiveness though, French braids aren't necessarily easy to do, especially if you're new to the game of hairstyling or are taking them on yourself. In this tutorial, we'll explain French braids as a whole, how they work, as well as how you can get started with creating your own.
What are French Braids?
French braids, also commonly referred to as French plaits, are a type of braid that involves weaving the hair in a crisscross pattern. This results in a thicker, more textured braid that has a lot more staying power than your typical three-strand braid. French braids are often seen as being more complicated than regular braids, but once you get the hang of it, they're actually quite simple to do.
How To Do a French Braid
Now that we've gone over what a French braid is, it's time to learn how to do one. Here, we'll walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can get the hang of it in no time.
1. Brush Your Hair Out
Start with clean, dry, and brushed hair. This will help to ensure that your braid turns out sleek and smooth. If your hair is on the oily side, you may want to start with a little bit of dry shampoo at the roots to help absorb any excess oil.
2. Create A Center Part
Use a comb to create a center part in your hair. This will help to keep your braid nice and straight.
3. Gather A Section of Hair
Next, you'll want to gather a section of hair from one side of the part. The size of the section will depend on how thick or thin you want your braid to be. If you want a thicker braid, use a larger section of hair. For a thinner braid, use a smaller section.
4. Split the Section into Three Strands
Once you have your section of hair, it's time to split it into three equal strands. This is the same process you would use for a regular three-strand braid.
5. Begin Braiding
Now that you have your three strands, you can start braiding them together. The key to a French braid is to keep adding in new sections of hair as you go. To do this, take a small section of hair from one side of the braid and add it to the middle strand.
Then, take a small section of hair from the other side and add it to the middle strand. Continue this process until you've reached the end of your hair.
6. Secure the Braid
Once you reach the end of your hair, secure the braid with an elastic band. You can then gently tug on the braid to loosen it up a bit and make it look fuller.
7. Finish Off with A Hairspray
To help keep your braid in place, finish off with a light mist of hairspray. This will also help to tame any flyaways and keep your braid looking neat and polished.
Making The Most Out of Your French Braiding Efforts
While all you theoretically need in order to create a French braid is hair of a reasonable length and some dexterity in your hands, it's not always that simple. If you find that your French braids are coming out less than perfect, here are a few tips to help you get the best results possible.
Use A Tail Comb To Help Gather Sections
If you're having trouble gathering even sections of hair, try using a tail comb to help you out. This will allow you to be more precise in your gathering and make it easier to get even-sized sections.
Take Smaller Sections of Hair
When adding new hair into the braid, be sure to take small sections. The smaller the section, the easier it will be to incorporate into the braid without throwing off the entire structure.
Don't Be Afraid to Practice
Braiding is a skill that takes time and practice to perfect. If you're having trouble with your French braids, don't be afraid to keep practicing until you get it right. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
Consider Using a Texturizing Spray
If your hair is on the finer side, you may find it difficult to keep your braid from looking stringy or thin. In cases like this, it can be helpful to use a texturizing spray before you begin braiding. The Better Natured Beachy Texture Spray will help to add some extra grip and hold to your hair, making it easier to control and style.
Popular French Braid Styles
Look at you! You've mastered the art of the French braid. Now that you know how to do one, it's time to start experimenting with different styles. There are endless possibilities when it comes to French braids, so feel free to get creative and have fun with it.
Here are a few popular French braid styles to try out:
French Braid Bun
One of the most popular ways to wear a French braid is in a bun. To do this, simply braid your hair as usual and then secure the end of the braid with an elastic band. Next, wrap the braid around itself to form a bun and secure it in place with some bobby pins. Don't worry if a few strands come loose—this will only add to the messy, effortless look.
French Braid Crown
A French braid crown is a beautiful and romantic way to wear your hair. To create this style, start by making a center part in your hair. Then, begin braiding small sections of hair on either side of the part. As you braid, pull the sections of hair towards the center of your head so that they lay flat against your scalp. Continue braiding until you reach the back of your head, then secure the braids with an elastic band. Finally, gently tug on the braids to loosen them up and give them a more relaxed look.
French Braid Ponytail
This is a great style for those days when you just can't be bothered with doing your hair. It's also perfect for hot summer days when you want to keep your hair off of your neck. To do a French braid ponytail, simply braid your hair as usual and then secure the end of the braid with an elastic band. Next, take the braid and wrap it around the base of your ponytail to create a cute and unique look.
French Braid Updo
If you're looking for a more formal style, try a French braid updo. To do this, start by braiding your hair as usual. Once you reach the back of your head, secure the braid with an elastic band. Then, take a small section of hair from the underside of the braid and wrap it around the elastic to hide it. Next, begin pinning the braid in place so that it forms a loose updo. You can leave a few face-framing strands loose for a softer look or pull the braid back tightly for a more polished style.
French Braid Bangs
If you have bangs, you can incorporate them into your French braid for a cute and unique look. To do this, start by braiding a small section of hair at the front of your head, just above your bangs. As you braid, include a few pieces of your bangs in with the rest of the hair. Continue braiding until you reach the back of your head, then secure the braid with an elastic band. You can leave the rest of your hair down or style it into a ponytail or bun.
A waterfall braid is a variation of the French braid that looks complicated but is actually quite easy to do. To create this style, start by braiding a small section of hair at the front of your head. As you braid, allow some of the hair from the outside strands to fall down in between the other strands. This will create the "waterfall" effect. Continue braiding until you reach the back of your head, then secure the braid with an elastic band.
So there you have it! A detailed rundown of everything there is to know about and do with French braids. Now get out there and start braiding!