How to french braid

You’ll finally be able to do all the pretty braids you’ve seen on Instagram once you master the basic braiding technique with this easy French braid tutorial!

How to french braid

Want to be able to master all the cool hairstyles of your dreams? The base to many of the awesome, new braided ‘dos is your classic French braid! Seriously, once you nail this guy down, you’ll basically be able to do any type of pretty plait you want. So, let’s start at the beginning—check out the step by step for a flawless French below.

How to french braid

1. Separate a small section of hair where you want the braid to start into three equally-sized strands. Cross the right section over the middle section so that the original right section is now the middle section. Cross the left section over the middle section so the original left section is now the middle section.

2. Next, starting on the left side, lift a small section of hair to the left of your braid. The key to keeping your braid uniform is to take a section that goes all the way from your hairline back to the braid, not just a chunk from the front.

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How to french braid

3. Add the new section to the left strand.

4. . and cross it all over the middle strand.

5. Repeat on the right side, adding more hair to the right strand.

6. . and cross it over the new middle strand.

7. Continue adding hair to each side before you cross over the middle strand.

8. As you braid, keep your hand close to your head. This helps keep the braid tight, so it won’t fall out during the day!

9. Once you reach the nape of your neck, add in the last two sections of hair—if you continue adding hair beyond this point, you’ll get a weird floppy bit at the base of the braid. Continue with a regular three strand braid down the length of your hair and secure.

How to french braid

Love the look of a French braid but not sure how create the hairstyle yourself? We asked Nathaniel Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist at Tracey Mattingly, how to French braid our hair on our own. Mattingly (who has tamed the tresses of Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, and Adele, to name a few) broke down the plaiting process in five easy steps.

How to French Braid Your Hair

"To make sure that your hair has some texture and hold to it, avoid thick conditioners—especially those with silicone in them­—that make strands slippery," Hawkins says. If you must shampoo, apply a sea salt spray (Hawkins loves the KMS California Hairplay Sea Salt Spray) after towel-drying to give the hair extra weight and texture.

Separate hair at the crown of the head into three equal sections. Take the section of hair from the left and cross it over in between the right and center sections of hair, as you would with a standard braid.

Use your index fingers to pick up pieces of hair below the crown from just outside the plaited area along the way (try to pick up half-inch sections of hair to keep the braid balanced) and pull them into the braid.

Weave the sections of hair under and over each other, just as you would with a standard braid.

Let layers in front of your ears fall out of the braid on their own, says Hawkins. To keep it from looking too messy, pin some of the longer layers into the base of the braid.

Leave about two inches of hair unbraided and secure with an elastic. Shake the braid a bit from the tail to loosen the look and make your hair look thicker.

Now you know how to French braid your hair your own hair in five easy steps. When you're done with the French braid, you can take the extra step of hiding the elastic tie if you want an all-natural look. To hide your elastic band, wrap a small strand of hair from the two-inch remains around the elastic so your braid appears to end seamlessly. Finally, mist a little hairspray over the whole look for a more secure hold, or let it hang loose and free.

How to french braid

Whether you need a quick way to keep your hair out of your face on a busy day or a glamorous look for a night out, braided hairstyles have always been a popular option. But the best part about a plait? With the right style, anyone can pull off a braid. From five-year-olds to 60-year-olds, college athletes to wedding guests, there’s a braid out there for everyone.

Recently, bubble braids have been the talk of the town, but two of the most traditional braided updo styles remain the French braid and the Dutch braid. But if you’re wondering exactly what the difference is — and how to master the two different styles — read on.

For those new to the braiding game, these advanced braiding techniques may seem intimidating, but this guide breaks down everything you need to know about the differences between the Dutch and French braids, so you can style not one, but two stunning looks for just about any occasion.

French braid vs. Dutch braid: What’s the difference?

Here’s the quickie version: Just think of a Dutch braid as an inverted French braid. The main difference is that with a French braid you’re crossing sections of hair over one another, and with a Dutch braid you’ll be crossing them underneath. That’s why the Dutch braid is frequently labeled as a “reverse French braid” or “inside-out braid,” thanks to this “underneath” technique. Neither one is easier per se, but if you’re a newbie you’ll probably want to start by practicing a French braid.

The French Braid Technique

Ah, the classic Frenchie. Despite its name, the origins of the French braid are widely disputed. Greeks and Africans are often credited as the first to use this styling technique. The earliest evidence is from the Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range in Algeria, where rock art from almost 6,000 years ago depicts women wearing this style of braid. The hairstyle was then seen in Greek art, particularly on the kouros statues. Though we may never know who wore it first, one thing we know to be true is that the French did not create this timeless plait.

So how do you create a French braid? Unlike a regular braid, you begin this braid by separating a section of hair into three smaller sections near the crown of your head. Then follow this pattern: Left strand over the middle strand, right strand over the middle strand, repeat.

Before you cross the next strand over, be sure to add another piece of hair from each respective side of the braid. Continue like this until reaching the nape of the neck, at which point you’ll finish the braid as you would doing a basic three-strand braid. The end result should be smooth and tight against your head and incorporate all of your hair. Follow along with the above step-by-step video tutorial to practice.

For a neater look, try to stay consistent with the amount of hair you add into the French braid each time you start the pattern over. Then again, a bumpy, undone French braid can also be very stylish. (Serena van der Woodsen anyone?) Tie the end off with a cute ribbon or hair tie, and you’re done

Tip: To have fun with the look, play around with the exact amount of hair you leave free (you don’t have to braid all the way to the bottom!).

The Dutch Braid Technique

It may look harder, but if you can do a French braid, you can do a Dutch braid, too. To start a Dutch braid, separate your hair into three sections near the crown of your head (same as a French braid). Then, follow this pattern as seen in the video tutorial above: Left strand under the middle strand, right strand under the middle strand and repeat, while adding more strands of hair from each side as you go. Finish the braid as you would a French, and continue until the nape of the neck. Finally, tie off the ends of your hair. The end result will look like a thick 3-D braid floating on top of your hair.

And in case you’re wondering, the Dutch braid is not only often confused with the French braid, but also with cornrows. But the main difference between cornrows and the Dutch braid has to do with the weaving technique. With Dutch braids, you cross your strands under while holding the hair at an angle to create height. However, with cornrows — which also pass under — the braiding is done much tighter. The end result is a different appearance, one that is a bit flatter against the scalp, due to the fact that each and every portion of the hair is braided to the middle of each braid.

Tip: To create Dutch or French braid pigtails, a.k.a. a double braid, create a center part and section off one side of hair before focusing the braiding technique on the other. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Whichever braid style you’re attempting, just remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to try out these two different looks on yourself, friends or even an old doll. The fun really beings once you get the hang of it since there are a ton of beautiful ways to style braids: crown braids, double Dutch, buns, fun accessories, messy strands pulled out for a casual look — the styling options are endless.

How to french braid for beginners is today’s topic! A french braid is a beautiful braid and it´s very practical as an everyday hairstyle, for working out or running or whatever you are doing, as the braid keeps the hair out of your face!

You can do french braids as a double braid or a single version down the back of your head. It’s such a classic and timeless braid and if you have second or third-day hair, then this braid is definitely a braid to try!

This post is all about how to french braid for beginners!

How to french braid

When you have mastered the normal 3 strand braid, then a french braid is the next one to try!

A french braid may look difficult to do, but it’s actually very easy to achieve! You may not get it on the first try, but with a bit of practice, you will get it in no time! Practice is key!

If you are looking for heatless waves, then french braid your hair overnight and in the morning you will have nice waves!

For heatless waves I would recommend doing a single braid down the back of your head, to get bigger waves. But if you want smaller waves, then definitely try the double french braid.

If you have fine hair or very soft slippery hair and you need more grip in your hair for braiding, then try out a styling powder! It’s linked down below and it will give you so much grip and volume in your braid!

Down below is an easy step-by-step tutorial to follow that breaks down the french braid for beginners.

Things you will need to create a french braid

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How to french braid for beginners

How to french braid for beginners step by step

Time requirement: 15-20 Minutes

Skill level: Medium

Step by step guide for beginners

Step 1: Take a section of hair and part it into 3 equal sections.

Step 2: Take the top strand and cross it over and into the middle.

Step 3: Take the bottom strand and bring it over and into the middle.

Step 4: Now pick up a small section of hair next to the top strand. These 2 are going to be put together.

Step 5: Add the hair you just picked up to the top strand.

Step 6: Cross the top strand over and into the middle.

Step 7: So pick up a new section of hair next to the bottom strand.

Step 8: Add the hair you just picked up to the bottom strand.

Step 9: Now cross the bottom strand over and into the middle.

Step 10: Pick up some hair next to the top strand and add it to the top strand. Then cross the top strand over and into the middle. (Step 4-6)

Step 11: Pick up some hair next to the bottom strand and add it to the bottom strand. Then cross the bottom strand over and into the middle. (Step 7-9)

Step 12: Repeat steps 10-11 until you reach the nape of the neck, then braid the hair like a normal braid.

How to french braid

The French braid is such a classic hairstyle, and once you know how, it’s easy to do it yourself. Learn how to French braid with this step by step tutorial, for an effortless and chic style.

How to french braid

The french braid was my ultimate childhood hairstyle. I coveted them when I saw them walking the halls of my elementary school and was privy to them only on occasions such as dance recitals or wedding receptions. My mom didn’t know how to french braid, so she would take me to the local salon on such occasions.

A Relaxed French Braid

The french braids of my youth were tight, rigid and designed to stay in for 2-3 days. Finally, my mom taking a note from the “teach a man to fish parable”, bought me a DIY braid book that I instantly began studying in order to master my own french braid. I have memories of being in the back of the mini van with a laser sharp focus to each step on the page. This tutorial here is not the french braid of my youth.

How to french braid

Learn How To Do A French Braid On Yourself

With a little patience and practice, you will be French braiding your own hair in no time with this easy tutorial.

This everyday french braid is everything you want in a hairstyle. It’s easy, looks effortless and is pulled off your neck and from you face. It stays put all day, is practical but looks effortless and at the same time, put together. French braids aren’t just for school girls!

How to french braid

How To French Braid Hair – A French Plait Step by Step Picture Tutorial

Step 1: If you have super fine, straight hair like I do, give it a little texture with hairspray or a texture spray and some backcombing. This is my favorite texture spray for this tutorial. If you’re not familiar with backcombing, simply hold up sections of hair and take a comb or a brush and brush the hair down towards the scalp.

How to french braid

Step 2: Find three small, even sections of hair. There will be a left section, a center section, and a right section. I don’t like my hair pulled straight back, so I left my side part and started mine just below the crown of my head.

How to french braid

Step 3: Holding the center and right sections in my right hand and the left section in my left hand, I cross the right section over the center. I carefully take all three sections of hair, each still separated by a finger in my right hand (see image below). I use my left pointer finger to add a small section of hair to the existing left section of hair and then cross it over the center section.

How to french braid

Step 4: To repeat this for the right side, I carefully take all three sections of hair into my left hand and use my right index finger to take a small section of hair from the right side of my head and add it to the right most section of hair then cross it over the middle section. Repeat these two steps back and forth, alternating side to side, until all of the hair has been added to the braid.

How to french braid

Step 5: Once all of the hair has been incorporate into the braid, at the nape of your neck you will have all of your hair divided into three strands. Finish your french braid with a simple three strand braid.

How to french braid

Step 6: Secure the end of the braid with a rubber band. (I think this next step is the most important of all!) Carefully pull at the strands of the three strand braid to make them looser and appear fuller.

How to french braid

Step 7: I added pearl clips for a little something extra! (Here’s a whole round up of our favorite hair clips.)

How to french braid

French Braids Are Easy When You Know How!

Once you’ve styled a French braid once or twice, it will become second nature – just like riding a bike! French braids are always seen as quite a formal hairstyle, but it’s so easy to make them more relaxed and part of your everyday style.

Hair Accessories For A French Braid

I love the look of these decorative pearl pins, and you can accessorize this style so easily. The braid will stay in all day, so will easily take you into the evening – just fancy it up with some beautiful pins to give it that extra oomph!

How to french braid

Top Tips on How To French Braid Your Own Hair

  • If you have fine hair, or want to give it some more volume, start with a little hairspray and a gentle backcomb at the top.
  • Secure the braid with a covered rubber band so that it doesn’t damage the ends of your hair.
  • Make the end of the braid appear fuller by gently teasing the bottom strands with your fingers.
  • Use pins to pretty up your braid!

How to french braid

And here’s the video of the french braid tutorial for a little more detail!

Be sure to check out these other easy hair tutorials!

I’d love to hear from you if you have used this French braid tutorial and what you thought! Be sure to leave a comment and star rating down below!

How to french braid

By bekathwia Becky Stern Follow

How to french braid

How to french braid

How to french braid

If you’ve already mastered the three-strand braid without looking in a mirror, it’s time to crack the technique for French braids (in name only, seen for millennia throughout history). They look complex, and up until now you may have been mystified as to how to keep track of all that hair with just two hands, but I promise they’re not as hard as they look!

French braids are extremely comfortable to wear, since they distribute tension and weight evenly over your head. They are incredibly practical for securing your hair, especially short hair around your face. In this lesson, you’ll try French braiding each half of your hair at a time, so it’s easier to see what you’re doing in a mirror.

How to french braid

Begin by parting your hair down the middle and securing one half with a clip or elastic, as we’ll just work with one half for now.

This Instructable is part of my beginner braids series. If you like this lesson, try the rest!

To keep up with what I’m working on, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and subscribe to my newsletter.


To get started learning to braid, you really just need some hair, a mirror, and dexterity in both hands. Everything else here just enhances your results!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.

Step 1: Three Strands and a New Addition

How to french braid

Grab a section of hair at the front, as you did in lessons two and three.

How to french braid

Divide it into three sections and start a crossing-over braid. Complete a stitch or two.

How to french braid

The next time you’re getting ready to cross over the section closer to your face, grab an additional bit of hair from your scalp nearby.

How to french braid

How to french braid

Incorporate it into the braid section and cross the whole thing over to the center position.

How to french braid

Step 2: Add Some From the Other Side

Now you’re going to the same thing on the other side, near your part.

How to french braid

Use your fingernail or a comb to scoop up a neighboring section of hair to become part of the braided section as you cross it over.

How to french braid

How to french braid

Then do it again on the side closer to your face! Smooth the sections as you go, either with your fingers or a brush.

How to french braid

It’s ok if it doesn’t look neat; since when was anybody’s first attempt perfect? (Or second, for that matter?) We’ll reflect and improve upon your technique later in this lesson.

Step 3: Repeat Along the Way

How to french braid

How to french braid

How to french braid

Continue braiding along the side of your head, adding hair to each section as you go.

How to french braid

Braid until you run out of hair to add, then braid whatever hair remains. Secure the tail with a small elastic, or criss-crossed bobby pins if your hair is super short.

Step 4: Compare and Reflect

Now braid the other side! This time, try to keep the sections held more taut, and add smaller sections of hair at a time than you did the first time.

How to french braid

Compare the two braids. What’s the difference in the overall appearance, and how did the size of the sections affect the proportions of the braid?

How to french braid

Keep practicing your French braids until you get the hang of it! Try making one French braid down the center of your head. If you have an uneven hairline at the neck, like me, you might prefer a Dutch braid, which is better at hiding that extra bit of hair that always seems to stick out.

This Instructable is part of my beginner braids series. If you liked this lesson, try the rest!

A classic French braid is similar to a basic 3-strand braid, except instead of bringing all of the hair together at the nape of the neck, French braids start higher up at the crown and more hair is added in as the hair is braided.

Believe it or not, learning how to French braid your own hair is actually a lot easier than you might think – all you need is an expertly crafted and easy-to-follow guide. So, ahead we’ve put together a really simple how-to, so you can perfect your technique! Trust us, after reading our 6 step French Braid tutorial, you’ll be able to French plait like a total pro.

Just scroll down to discover the secrets to braiding your own hair, now!

Use a Dry Shampoo.

Give your hair texture and grip by spraying some dry shampoo all over the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.

This step will help your braid stay in place longer, especially if you have fine or very soft hair.

Section Your Hair.

To create your French braid, begin by taking 2-3 inches of hair at the top of your head, and dividing it into 3 equal sections.

How to french braid

Start Braiding.

Take your right section of hair and cross it over your middle section (this will become the new middle section of hair), then cross the left section of hair over your ‘new’ middle section.

How to french braid

Weave in Hair as You Go.

Repeat this weaving process, picking up hair from the sides of your head, and adding them to your left and right sections as you continue to braid.

Do this until you reach the nape of your neck.

How to french braid

Swap to a Three-Strand Braid.

Once you’ve reached the nape of your neck, take the remaining hair and plait it into a classic 3-strand braid.

Secure the plait by tying it with a hairband.

Spray and Secure.

To ensure that your French braid stays put all day long, finish the look with a generous mist of the VO5 Invisible Ultimate Hold Hairspray.

If you have any stray flyaways, smooth the hair down with your hand after you use the hairspray to lock your strands in place.

How to french braid

Credit: Verity Jane Smith

And you’re done! You now know exactly how to French braid your own hair. Amp up the look by adding a blinged-out hair accessory or try putting your own twist on this classic braid.

How to french braid

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to French Braid Your Hair, Because the More You Know

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The moment you learn to tie your shoelaces, you’re deemed fit by the all-holy hair gods to try a three-strand braid. (Them’s the rules.) Then, the next level-up after that is equally classic, if not one degree trickier: the french braid.

This over-under plait has been woven throughout history — from ancient Sparta to Taylor Swift’s Evermore album cover — for good reason: DIYing the look is ridiculously simple, even for people with little to no hairstyling skills. All it takes is a little know-how — and that’s where Jenny Strebe, hairstylist and founder of AIIR Professional, comes in.

Before you begin, though, there are a few micro-steps to keep in mind. First, know that most braids work best on relatively dirty hair (that extra grit means more texture but less slip). Then, using a wide-tooth comb, you’ll want to brush out any tangles or knots to make for easy weaving. “This will prevent hair from getting tangled up in your fingers as well as help create clean-looking sections,” Strebe said. She also suggests running a smoothing cream or paste through hair to create a more polished look and to keep any flyaways at bay.

Now on your mark, get set, go check out this full step-by-step to creating an effortlessly cool french braid at home. It’s not as easy as lacing up your kicks, but yeah, it’s way more fun.

How to french braid

In order to become a skilled hair braider, you absolutely MUST know how to properly French Braid! Today, I’m going back to basics and giving you an updated, step-by-step on how to french braid! Do you prefer french braid or the dutch braid??

My Model For French Braid!

With all the crazy that’s happened in 2020, I must say, I’ve been loving the fact that Brooklyn and Bailey have been home more often (plus it means I have more heads of hair walking around to use for hair tutorials)!

Items Needed: Brush, hair elastics, hairspray .

Time Requirement: 5-10 minutes

Skill Level: Easy

French Braid

How to french braid

watch the full tutorial:

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How to french braid

Cute Girls Hairstyles

About Mindy McKnight

Mindy McKnight, YouTube’s favorite mom, launched the highly-successful website in late 2008 and the subsequent CuteGirlsHairstyles YouTube channel one year later. While Mindy’s hairstyle tutorials started as a hobby, their family channels have over 12 Million subscribers with videos being viewed more than 2 Billion times in nearly every country worldwide.

Mindy is currently ranked as YouTube’s top mom-focused channel with over 5.5 million subscribers, generating 13 million monthly views. The Cute Girls Hairstyles family has received local, national, and global attention through various media outlets including ABCNews’ 20/20, Good Morning America, TODAY, Anderson LIVE, Katie, and The View. Mindy’s teen twin daughters Brooklyn & Bailey have taken after her and launched a digital career with over 5 Million YouTube subscribers of their own, as well as the completion of a 16-city concert tour for their original music, and a wholly-owned new mascara product launching in May 2018.

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the number one most requested product by y’all in 2020 is coming out with this group of products!