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How to French Braid Your Own Hair – Home Braiding Instructions

Mastering the art of how to french braid your own hair can be a challenge at first. There are many ways to braid your hair, but a classic French braid is one of the most common and popular ways. Typically the best way to learn how to french braid your own hair is by watching videos or a step-by-step guide.

Example of a french braid

This french braid tutorial will offer an easy-to-understand explanation to learn how to french braid your own hair and the technique of french braiding.

What You Need When Making French Braids

Braiding hair doesn’t technically need any special tools to be done correctly, but they can help! Some tools that can help the braiding process along include:

  • A brush
  • Fine tooth comb
  • Hair ties
  • Hair binders
  • Hair spray
Example of tools you might want to use

Braiding your own hair goes a little bit smoother when you have the tools to guide the hair correctly. These tools will mostly help keep hair out of the way until it is needed or help you to part your hair into sections.

Differences Between French Braids and Other Braids

Before jumping into how to create a classic french braid, let’s take a look at what sets it apart from other braids.

A french braid is a type of traditional three-strand braid, but not every three-strand braid is a french braid. A traditional braid, or classic braid, is the standard braid that immediately comes to mind for everyone. It is the easiest braid to create and is the first one that most people learn how to make.

A classic three-strand braid

The main difference between the two is that a french braid begins at the scalp, whereas a normal braid typically starts at the head’s end. Also, more hair is added to the braid as it’s created, whereas a normal braid doesn’t grab hair along the way.

Dutch braids are a common type of braid confused with french braids because they both start at the scalp and use three strands of hair. However, the difference between the two is how the braid is formed. Dutch braids are created by pulling the sections beneath the center strands, rather than alternating over.

A dutch braid example

A more complex braid is the fishtail braid. While the fishtail braid is created with only two strands, it’s far more complex and time-consuming to create because it uses smaller sections. With this method, you braid tight sections rather than loose ones.

A partial fish tail braid

How to Create a Standard French Braid

Step 1: Part Your Hair Down the Center and Take Hold of Two Small Sections

Using a fine tooth comb or your fingers, you will want to start by parting your hair into two sections with which you can easily start the braid. Also, you will want to take two sections from the top of your head, so you can work your way down as you create the french braid.

Step 2: Cross One Section Over the Other Section

Next, start the french braiding by crossing one parted section over the other parted section. From this step, you will be passing the strands back and forth until the braid is complete. It also doesn’t matter which side you start on, so if you’re more comfortable starting with the left strand or the right strand, do whatever is most comfortable for you.

Step 3: Hold the Crossed Sections in One Hand and Grab Another Section With the Other

By holding the two sections in one hand, you can easily grab the next section of hair to add to the french braid. Then, you will add this new section into the braid and repeat.

Step 4: Swap the Sections Into Your Other Hand and Grab the Next Section

Now, transfer the sections into your other hand and grab another section of hair to add to the braid.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 2 Through 4 Until the Braid Is Complete

Keep this criss-cross rhythm going until you reach the end of your hair length. This braid is a great option for those with more hair both in volume and length.

Keep braiding until you reach the end of your hair

Step 6: Secure Your French Braid With a Hair Tie

Once you’ve completed your single french braid, you will want to tie it off with a hair elastic or even clip it up into a bun.

A fabric tie is recommended most to prevent breakage

How to French Braid Your Own Hair on Both Sides

If you’re looking to kick it up a notch, you can create two french braids or a set of french braid pigtails. In order to french braid both sides of your head, you just need to follow the same steps as above, but twice.

An example of braid pigtails

Step 1: Part Your Hair Down the Middle, Then Part Those Sections in Half

It’s easier to start with one french braid at a time on either side of your head. So, on only one half of your head, you will part your hair down the middle and start braiding.

Step 2: Take Two Sections and Begin a French Braid

Using the same technique as a single braid, you should start from the top of your head and criss-cross the parted section over one another. Work your way down as you pass the sections back and forth and add additional sections.

Make sure to tie off the first braid before starting on the second one to avoid unraveling it.

Step 3: Repeat on the Other Side of Your Head

Next, part the other section of hair down the middle and repeat the process. Once the second braid is complete, tie it off with a hair tie, and you’re done! You should now have two french braids or a set of french braid pigtails.

A young girl with French pigtail braids

Why You Should Learn How to French Braid Your Own Hair

French braiding is one hairstyle that will keep the hair out of your face while still looking cute! Whether you’re working out, hunched over loads of paperwork, or traveling, french braids are the perfect hair solution for anyone with long hair who needs to keep it out of their face while looking presentable.

This type of braid is great for both work and travel!

Another reason learning how to french braid is a must is that it’s a great way to achieve beach waves without heat! With wet hair, you can braid your hair and leave it to dry overnight, and wake up with amazing volume and waves with no hassle.

How to Curl Hair With French Braiding

The best way to achieve curls through braiding is by starting with wet or dampened hair. However, you can also achieve curls with dry braided hair! This method often uses heat tools, so come prepared with a heat protectant spray or leave-in conditioner before starting.

Unlike working with damp hair, you will want to avoid brushing your dry hair before braiding. Using a curling gel or cream can also help enhance natural curling patterns. If you already have curly hair, remember to work with your curls!

The looser the braid, the more relaxed the curls or waves will be. So, if you want to achieve more firm and bolder curls, you will want to braid your hair more tightly. You can also speed up the process by running a hair straightener over the finished braid.

How to Braid Your Own Hair When Your Hair Is Wet

Braiding hair can be a pain when you get hair wet, as the strands will weigh more and be more prone to tangling. However, there are ways to braid hair out of the shower.

Most people go for a traditional braid, like the classic three-strand braid, but you can spend the time on more complex braids.

It is often recommended that you only braid with dry hair, as it will be easier to work with your hair and because hair is more fragile when wet. However, with enough time and care, you can easily braid your hair when wet.

If you prefer to braid your hair this way, the first step is to be mindful of how much stress you’re causing and avoid using any clips or metal tools. Hair ties are also not recommended because they can become easily tangled in the hair.

Step 1: Towel Dry

Braiding messy, sopping wet locks will not be easy nor recommended. Instead, remove as much excess water as possible before you start braiding.

Step 2: Detangle and Brush Your Hair

You can use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to remove any knots or tangles in your hair.

Step 3: Section Your Hair and Comb the Sections Once More

Taking the thin end of a thin comb or a pick comb, you will want to section out your braid strands. Then, before braiding, run your comb or brush through each section again to ensure all tangles are removed. Now, you can begin the braiding process!

Step 4: Braid, Then Secure at the End

Continue braiding until you either reach a point that you want to stop, or until you reach the end of your hair length. Then, using a soft fabric tie, you can safely secure the end of your braid.

Tips to keep in mind when braiding this way include using a leave-in conditioner to soothe and moisturize your locks. Also, avoid braiding overly tight, as you want your hair to be able to dry properly and breathe, while also avoiding potential breakage.

How to Enhance a French Braid

After some practice, you’ll notice how easy it is now to french braid your hair. Now, you can start playing around with ways to enhance your beautiful french braids!

Tip 1: Add Volume

You can add volume if you gently pull the weaves in the braid. This way, you can make the weaves bigger to increase the volume. And don’t worry about a few loose strands. That looks good too!

Looser weaves will look more casual and relaxed

Tip 2: Spice up Your Braid With Accessories

If you think a french braid is a bit too classic and boring for you, think again! Try experimenting with scarves and hair beads or rings to create a wonderful Boho look. All you need to do is slip any accessories into the section of hair you’re working with and continue braiding!

Ribbon and scarves are easier to add into braids

Tip 3: Try Adding Styling Products Before Braiding

Whether you’re braiding with wet or dry hair, there are products you can use to boose volume and texture. If braiding with wet hair, then you can try adding mousse to boost the volume of your hair.

Texture spray can add to a more relaxed braided look

If braiding with dry hair, you can add oils to improve the sleekness, or use sea salt spray to boost the texture of your hair.

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