I’ve been super busy with work and travel that I have not had time to do much else other than keep my house in some sort of order. I had a request a few weeks ago to put up a french braid tutorial by a friend and I have been thinking of what the best way to explain it would be while I have been busy with other things. I think I came up with something that might help her but am not confident that it makes sense or is easy to understand, so any additional feed back or tips that anyone has to break it down in an easy to understand way, please comment below so she can learn how to french braid and add hair style variety to her elementary school age daughter’s hair.
I am going to start with numbered pictures for visual help and then explain the numbers below the picture for additional explanation of each frame:
1. Start out by sectioning a portion on top of the head. If you are creating a standard french braid that is going to go down the center of the head grab the bangs section of hair to start with. Separate this hair into three equal sections (mine are shown with Yellow, Blue, and Pink lines so that you can follow the pattern down through the braid)
2. Take your strands and start a traditional three strand braid. In the picture above I crossed yellow over blue and pink over yellow. Keep your strands separated within your fingers.
3. Add additional hair from your loose hair (see the white line) closest to your braid on each side and combine it the end strand of your braid. In picture three you will see the white strand added into the blue strand on the left side.
4. Repeat step three on the right side. You will see in picture four the white strand added into the yellow strand on the right side.
(Tips: I find it easier to add hair to each side and then braid instead of add and braid and then add and braid for each individual side. Also until you get used to your finger placements you can always let go of the strand you are adding hair to and just pick it back up with the loose hair you are grabbing. Remember to pull tightly so your hair doesn’t come loose and fall out while braiding)
5. Now that you have additional hair added in on both the left and the right sides (in this case from the pictures above white strands on the left added to the blue strand and white strands on the right added to the yellow strand) do another stitch of your braid just like you would with a normal three strand braid. Cross blue over pink and yellow over blue. This results in having the pink strand on the left side, the Yellow strand in the middle and the blue strand on the right side.
6. Repeating steps 3 and 4 all the way down the head. Picture six shows loose hair (white strand) from left side of head being added to the left strand (yellow) and loose hair (white strand) from the right side of the head being added to the right strand (pink). Once loose hair is added on both sides stitch your braid pink over blue and yellow over pink resulting in Pink Left strand, Yellow middle strand, and Blue right strand.
7, 8, & 9. Continue down the head repeating steps 3 and 4
10. When you get to the nape of the neck, make sure you continue to pull tight so that there is not a loose clump of hair at the nape of the neck when the braid is finished. Be careful not to pull or yank any baby hairs while working in this area. Once you gather the remaining hair and add it to your braid and it is tight you should end up with just three strands of hair for your braid with nothing else loose.
11. Continue to regularly braid with the three strands until you run out of hair and fasten the braid with an elastic band which will keep the entire braid in place. Feel free to spritz your hair with hairspray to help maintain any fly away hair. My daughter especially likes to have her hair braided wet and she will wear it in a french braid one day, sleep in it, and then take it out to have crimpy-wavy hair the next day. Two looks created with one braid.
12. the finished french braid with the strand colors the whole way down for you to follow the path of the hair.
Just practice, practice, practice, practice and continue to practice until you get comfortable with your fingers. Your technique will steadily improve as you get used to adding and pulling the hair tightly. Practicing with wet hair helps keep the braid tight and easier to grasp the strands. Its simply a regular three strand braid just adding in hair with each end piece until you run out of hair to add and continues into a normal three strand braid.
You can give your french braid different looks by:
- starting higher up on your head or lower down on your head.
- placement in the middle or the sides
- using an over hand technique of braiding (by adding strands on top of each other while braiding) will create a smooth flat braid down the head
- using an under hand technique of braiding (by adding strands under each other while braiding) will create a braid that sits on top of the head instead.
- adding small amounts of hair or larger amounts of hair when adding in the loose hair
- tie a ribbon or string in your hair before braiding near the roots and you can add texture or color to your braid
- Roll the bottom portion of your braid into a bun and create a french braid bun
- Add clips or fancy rubber bands to change the look, etc.
overhand vs. underhand: over hand braiding creates a braid that is smooth against the head while under-hand braiding creates a braid that sits on top of or popped out from the head
overhand: lays smooth on head
Under-hand pops out from the head (sort of like 3-D)
The French Braid – easy, simple, classic, keeps your hair out of your face and great for any age