Braiding Help: How To French Braid

French braids look difficult to do, but with practice you'll be able to do this beautiful hairstyle yourself.

French braids look like they are difficult to do, but they're really just slightly different from regular braids.With a little practice you'll be able to give yourself and your friends this beautiful hairstyle.

All you really need to do a French braid are your hands and something to hold the braid when it's done.You may find a comb useful, especially a rat-tail, or long handled, type.If you are doing the braid on yourself, you may feel more comfortable looking in a mirror.However, since most of what you'll be doing will be behind you, you won't really be able to see anything.

It might be easier to start off doing braids for someone else, until you get a feel for what you're doing.


Make sure the subject's hair is tangle free.Using your fingers or a comb, gather a hank of hair from the center front, leaving any bangs free.Divide this into three roughly equal sections from side to side.You want to have enough hair to work with, but not so much that you have difficulty holding the three sections all in one hand.Work a simple braid once:choose a working section to start, either left or right; hold that section in the same side hand, and the other two sections in the other hand; cross the working section over the center, drop the working section, and transfer the center section to your other hand (the original working section is now the center, and the section that hasn't moved is now the working section); cross the new working section over the center, drop it, and pick up the center section with your free hand.If you have trouble finding the center, lift the braid up a little and it will be floating over the rest of your hair.Dropping the working section and picking up the center should happen almost simultaneously.

Before doing this again, you need to gather more hair.With the hand that's holding the working section, gather more hair from that side, about as much as you already have in that section.You can also hold both outside sections in one hand and use a comb to smooth the gathered hair into the working section.Make sure that you don't leave loose hair above the gather.Now cross the working section over the center, drop it, and pick up the center.That part should sound pretty familiar.Do the same with the other side:gather, cross the center, drop, and pick up the center.Continue in this fashion until all of the hair is in the braid.You can wrap a ponytail holder around it here, or finish it off with a regular braid.

Your arms are likely to get tired if you're doing this on your own hair.Let your hands rest against your head, and keep your arms as close to your body as you can.If your arms get really tired, hold both outer sections in one hand and let the other hang down at your side for a few moments.Beauty doesn't have to hurt!

After you've mastered the basic technique, you can start to experiment.Try taking more or less hair in each gather.Do a backwards braid -- crossing under the center section instead of over.Stop doing the French braid part way down and let the rest of your hair hang loose.Part your hair down the middle from front to back and do a braid on each side.Weave ribbons through the braid.The possibilities are seemingly endless.

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