French braiding is one of the most versatile and timeless hairstyles that creates an intricate, impressive look. It’s a practical way to get hair off your face and neck while securing it neatly and elegantly. Learning how to French braid your own hair allows you to create a variety of stylish looks from pigtails to updos for any occasion.
Benefits of French Braiding Your Hair
Here are some of the key benefits of French braiding:
- Achieves an intricate, impressive woven effect
- Classic and feminine hairstyle that is always in style
- Secures hair neatly off the face and neck
- Long-lasting style that keeps hair contained
- Versatile for different occasions from everyday to formal events
- Practical protective style that prevents breakage
What You Need To French Braid Your Hair
Before French braiding your hair, make sure you have the right tools and products to make the process easier and optimize results:
Use a natural bristle brush or detangling brush to smooth out knots and tangles before braiding. This minimizes frizz and breakage.
Use clips to section off the hair you aren’t working with. This keeps the working area neat and manageable.
Clear elastic bands are perfect for securing the ends of braids neatly.
Leave-In Conditioner or Hair Butter (Optional)
Applying a leave-in conditioner or hair butter makes textured, curly, or coily hair slicker and easier to grip while braiding.
Dry Shampoo (Optional)
Spraying dry shampoo at the roots adds texture and grip for braiding slippery straight or fine hair.
Straightening Iron (Optional)
Smoothing and straightening very curly or coily hair with a flat iron can help achieve neater, tighter French braids.
How To French Braid Your Own Hair
Follow these step-by-step instructions to master French braiding your own hair:
Step 1: Prep Your Hair
Start by thoroughly detangling damp or dry hair with a brush to remove knots, tangles and shed hair. Use a comb to evenly distribute any leave-in treatments or styling products from roots to ends.
For a wet, glossy French braid, apply gel through strands and allow to dry slightly before braiding.
Step 2: Part Your Hair
Create a straight parting where you want the braid to start. For pigtail braids, part down the middle. For multiple braids, create multiple straight parts. For a French braid ponytail, braid hair from the top of your head without a part.
Avoid zig-zag or uneven parts to keep braids neat and even.
Step 3: Start Braiding
To French braid pigtails:
- Start at the crown and separate a small section of hair above one ear into three equal strands.
- Cross the right strand over the middle strand.
- Then cross the left strand over the new middle strand.
- Take a small section of hair from the right side of your head and add it to the right strand.
- Keep adding hair as you braid down from the crown towards the nape of the neck.
- Finish with a regular braid down the length of the hair.
To French braid a ponytail:
- Start at the very top of your head and separate a small section into three pieces.
- Cross the strands over each other 1-2 times.
- As you braid, keep adding in small sections of hair from the sides to incorporate into the braid.
- Braid normally down the length of the hair.
Step 4: Finish and Set Your Braids
Mist hair with strong hold hairspray to keep braids locked in place all day or night. For extra polish, apply a pea-sized amount of anti-frizz serum or hair wax to hands and sweep over braids to smooth flyaways.
Use bobby pins to neatly secure any short loose strands at the end of braids.
Tips for French Braiding Success
- Practice patiently! French braiding is a skill that takes time to master.
- Work in front of a mirror and use close-up magnification mirrors to see what you’re doing.
- Start with damp hair for better grip and control.
- Add styling creams or oils to make hair more slippery.
- Don’t pull too tight. Braid snugly but not painfully.
- Keep arms relaxed and elbows lowered to gain dexterity.
- For double French braids, braid one side at a time.
French Braid Styles To Try
Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, try these cool variations:
- Inside-out French braid – Braid underhand instead of overhand.
- Waterfall braid – Incorporate strands by dropping rather than crossing them.
- Fishtail braid – Alternate crossing small sections for a fishtail effect.
- Pancake French braid – Loosen and pull braid wider for volume.
- Lace braid – Braid small sections and cross in a lace pattern.
Learning how to French braid your own hair allows you to create elegant hairstyles anytime. Have patience with yourself as you practice this valuable skill. Experiment with different braiding techniques and make French braids your go-to style for a practical and pretty look.
With the right tools and step-by-step technique, you can master French braiding your hair. So grab your brush and hair ties and start braiding today!