Hair Styles: Plait

A description of how to make three kinds of plait: the rope, the scrunch and the French plait. The normal plait and variations are included.

A plait is a fairly simple way to keep long hair neat and out of the way. It does not need to look simple, however. Below are some variations, which could make the style spectacular and beautiful.

First, for the sake of clarity, let's have a look at how a normal plait is made:

1. Gather all the hair at the point where you would like the plait to be, as you would for a pony tail. This could be either at the back or the side of your head.

2. Divide the hair into three sections.

3. Take the section on the right side and cross it over the middle section.

4. Take the left section and cross it over the section, which is now in the middle.

5. Again take the right section and cross it over the middle.

6. Continue until the end or until you feel that they plait is long enough.

* You will notice that each section that you cross over the middle section, in its turn becomes the middle section.

* The middle section is never handled. Only the left and right sections are crossed over the middle to become the middle section in their turn.

** For long hair an interesting effect can be achieved when plaiting only a little and leaving the rest of the hair free in a type of a pony tail.

** Instead of over the middle section, try crossing the left and right parts under the middle section for a different look.

** Fasten the hair on top of your head, for a ponytail and then plait it.

1. The Rope

When you have made this plait correctly, it should look a little bit like a rope.

1. As above, decide where you want the plait and gather the hair there.

2. Divide the hair into four sections, instead of three.

3. For clarity, the sections from left to right are labled a,b,c and d.

4. Take section a and cross it over section b.

5. Section c is crossed over the section, which is now in the place of b.

5. The remaining section is d, which goes under the section closest to it, which is in the place of c.

6. Continue in this way until you reach the end of the plait.

* It is important to remember that no section of hair crosses over or under more than one section at a time.

* The first sequence is followed throughout, so it should not be too complicated to keep your head and remember what goes under and what goes over.

* All the variations from the normal plait would also work for the rope.

2. The Scrunch

The effect of this plait is a kind of scrunched up look.

1. The first step is the same as for the previous two plaits.

2. Divide the hair into two sections.

3. At the rightmost side of the right section, take about a fifth of the hair.

4. Cross it over the rest of the right section and add to the left section.

5. Follow the same procedure for the other side. Take a fifth of the left section, at its leftmost side.

6. Cross it over the left section and add it to the right section.

7. Continue with this until the end of the plait.

* All mentioned variations apply.

3. The French Plait

1. Divide the hair into five to seven layers from the top of the head to the base of the neck.

2. Divide the top layer into three sections, and all the other layers into two sections each.

3. Begin with the top layer and cross the sections over each other as for a normal plait. Cross the left section over the middle, and do the same with the right section. Do this only once.

4. Take the left section of the second layer and add it to the left section of the first layer.

5. Continue the plate by crossing the whole section over the middle section.

6. Do the same with the other side. Add the right section of the second layer to the right section of the first layer.

7. Cross the whole right section over the middle section.

8. Continue in this way with all the layers until they have all been added to the plait.

9. Finish by plaiting the hair that is left in the normal way.

* An interesting variation is the 'Jewish plait', which you achieve by following the procedures above, but crossing the sections under each other instead of over.

* The remaining hair can be fastened at the base of the neck to leave a pony tail hanging free.

* You can also form a bun with the hair at the base of the neck. Either push it underneath the end of the plait at the base of your neck, or if your hair is very long, make a bun at the base of your neck and fasten with pins.

* A more complicated variation is starting the plait at the base of your neck and making the bun on top of your head.

With some practice, it can become easy to make the above plaits yourself. However, for the first few tries it may be a better idea to get someone to help you. Also remember that getting it 'just right' takes practice, but the most important part of playing with your hair is having fun. When it stops being fun and starts being frustrating, stop and rest. Give it another try when your arms and mind have had a break.

© High Speed Ventures 2011