How to French Braid: Easy 5-Step Guide for Beginners

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Table of contents

  1. Empty
  2. Items Required:
  3. Step 1: Get Your Hair Ready
  4. Step 2: Section Your Hair
  5. Step 3: Crisscross the Sections
  6. Step 4: Add New Strands of Hair
  7. Step 5: Gather the Rest of Your Hair Into the Braid
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Final Thoughts

Empty

{"blocks":[{"key":"6ak9n","text":"French braids may look intimidating, but they're not as hard as they look. In fact, they're surprisingly easy to do! If you've already mastered the three-strand braid, you'll master the French plait in no time. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":211,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":211,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":211,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":211,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5kmq1","text":"This guide shows you how to French braid in five easy steps. You can do it to a friend or to yourself without anyone’s assistance.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Items Required:

{"blocks":[{"key":"973bk","text":"Brush/comb","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":10,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":10,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":10,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":10,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"b1e6m","text":"Hair elastics","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":13,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"cs8mr","text":"Hairspray (optional)","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":20,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"92n38","text":"Sea salt spray (optional)","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":25,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":25,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":25,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":25,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"12nng","text":"Dry shampoo (optional) ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":23,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":23,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":23,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":23,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 1: Get Your Hair Ready

{"blocks":[{"key":"9g1d1","text":"Before braiding, brush through your hair to smooth out any tangles and knots. For best results, start with unwashed hair. This is especially vital for individuals with fine or very soft hair. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":192,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":192,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":192,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":192,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7fhag","text":"Unwashed hair gives you the right texture and grip to do a perfect French braid. If you must shampoo your hair, apply sea salt spray or wash it with dry shampoo. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"cd2lo","text":"If you don't have dry shampoo, wash your hair normally but skip the conditioner. The conditioner leaves the strands too slippery, making it difficult to braid your hair. Blow-dry or towel dry your hair until it's about a quarter of the way dry. This gives you soft, beach-like waves when you take the braids out later.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":318,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":318,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":318,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":318,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 2: Section Your Hair

{"blocks":[{"key":"7n4dq","text":"Take a big section of hair from the top-center or the crown of your head, then divide it into three even sections. If you have bangs, you can either leave them down or gather them up with the braid. Do what you think looks best on you! ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":235,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":235,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":235,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":235,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 3: Crisscross the Sections

{"blocks":[{"key":"4d33a","text":"Once you've divided the hair into three sections, start a traditional braid. Hold the first two strands in one hand and the third strand in the other. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":151,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":151,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":151,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":151,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"1p17i","text":"Then, do a \"crisscross\" motion by crossing the top strand into the middle. Take the bottom strand and bring it over and into the middle. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":137,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":137,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":137,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":137,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5l92p","text":"Repeat this move several times, smoothing the hair down as you go. Make sure to pull the sections tightly so they won't come loose by the time you're done. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":156,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":156,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":156,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":156,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c76a3","text":"Add a gorgeous, \"no-effort\" effect by letting some of the shorter strands in front of your ears fall naturally out of the braids.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":129,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":129,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":129,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":129,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 4: Add New Strands of Hair

{"blocks":[{"key":"2sttv","text":"Scoop more hair from the left side of the head and include it into the crossover. Do this every time you work on another small piece of hair. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":143,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"fbtit","text":"Use your index fingers to pick up pieces of hair from below the crown. As you cross it over, make sure it's smoothened by a comb or your fingernail to avoid painful knots. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":172,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":172,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":172,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":172,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"19jor","text":"The less hair you grab, the more detailed and intricate the braid.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":66,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":66,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":66,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":66,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Step 5: Gather the Rest of Your Hair Into the Braid

{"blocks":[{"key":"1l21d","text":"As you reach your neck, continue a regular three-strand braid down the length of your hair. Keep going until you reach the end of the strands. Then, secure the end with an elastic band. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":186,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"9m2ta","text":"To make the braid look fuller and thicker, gently pull out the strands at the sides. This adds an appealing volume to your hair.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":128,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":128,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":128,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":128,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"d15be","text":"And that's it! You've now officially mastered the French braid. Not too bad, isn’t it? As a final touch, give your hair a spritz of hairspray to set down any flyaways that may have escaped from your braid.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Frequently Asked Questions

{"blocks":[{"key":"50j1c","text":"In this section, we discuss some of the web's most frequently asked French braid questions, along with some helpful tips and tricks!","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":132,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"bqli4","text":"What's the difference between a classic French braid and a Dutch braid?","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":71,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":71,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":71,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":71,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"72cp1","text":"The Dutch braid is sort of like the French braid's cousin. Instead of a descending braid, Dutch braids are tucked under to create an illusion of floating plants. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":162,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"b1h5c","text":"In terms of technique, Dutch braids are like the reversed or inverted version of the French braid. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":99,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":99,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":99,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":99,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"450lp","text":"In a French braid, you bring the outside strands over the middle section of the braid. The Dutch braid is the complete opposite; instead of over, you'll have to bring the strands under the middle section. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":205,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"273dj","text":"What's a French lace braid?","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":27,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":27,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":27,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":27,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"e5vkd","text":"A French lace braid is a one-sided French braid. Instead of adding sections on both sides of your head, you'll only add them from one side. This hairstyle is ideal for those who are growing out bangs or those who want the braids to frame their face.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":249,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"8s5pe","text":"When doing a lace braid, make sure to wrap it all around your head as you'll likely run out of hair near the side of your head. As you move further along the braid, it'll start to form a halo-like shape around your head. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":221,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"6b1a4","text":"How do you do a two-plait French braid?","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":39,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":39,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":39,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":39,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"3hvo1","text":"A two-plait French braid is quite similar to a classic French braid, but instead of a single braid down the middle, it's split into two to create a sort of ponytail-like braid.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":176,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"bd965","text":"Divide your hair into two right down the middle of your head. To prevent the strands from mixing with one another, clip one section away to one side. Then, pretend as if you're doing a classic French braid but with only one side of your head. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":243,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":243,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":243,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":243,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5ukhn","text":"Take a piece of hair around three to four inches above your temples, divide it into three equal sections, and start French braiding. Pull the braid down as you go to prevent loose strands. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":189,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":189,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":189,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":189,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"fj8fs","text":"Once you've reached the nape of your neck, tie it up with an elastic band and pull out the strands to thicken and add some volume to your hair. Repeat this exact same step to the other half of your hair.\n ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":203,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":203,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":203,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":203,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Final Thoughts

{"blocks":[{"key":"5bkc4","text":"The French braid is a glamorous last-minute hairstyle that anyone can perfect with enough practice. It's super easy to do and opens a world of styling possibilities. Plus, it protects your hair and structurally strengthens it! ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":227,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":227,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":227,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":227,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"75hd5","text":"Once you've mastered the French braid, we encourage you to try a hand with a double French braid, a lace braid, and a Dutch braid.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}