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French braids are one of the most classic kinds of plaits—but creating one can be challenging. One thing’s for certain though: the French braid won’t be going out of style any time soon. Whether you’re going to work or having a girls’ night out, a French braid is fit for just about any occasion. So, if you want to learn how to create this type of braided hairstyle, you’re in the right place. We’re sharing step-by-step instructions for French braiding hair along with styling tips to take your French braid to the next level.
Follow our step-by-step tutorial below to weave a classic French braid.
Get the look by following these simple steps:
One of the most stressful parts of braiding is encountering tiny knots that cause you to have to start all over. To save yourself time and effort, remove any tangles with a brush before you begin braiding.
To give yourself enough length to work with, gather three small sections of hair at your hair line. Hold the right section in your right hand, the left section in your left hand, and the middle section between your thumb and forefinger of either hand.
Begin your braid by crossing the right section over the middle section, followed by the left section over the right section, which is now really the middle section. Be sure to smooth each section as you go to prevent any lumps and bumps forming along the way.
With each new stitch, add a little more hair into your braid. This is what will give your French braid that woven look.
Continue this back and forth process all the way down to the ends of your hair. When there’s no more hair to add to your braid, you can simply weave a traditional three-strand braid. Once you reach the ends, fasten your braid with a miniature elastic.
When you have the directions in front of you, French braiding seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Now all you have to do is practice, practice, practice and you’re sure to get the hang of it!
If you want to learn how to make your French braid look even better, keep scrolling for a few super-simple ways to perk up your plaits.
Fuller-looking braids are totally gorgeous. If you want to add the look of volume to your French braid, use your fingers or a rat tail comb to gently tug at each weave of your braid. When pulling, be sure to not tug too hard, as this can cause your braid to actually unravel. If in the process a strand or two pops out of place, don’t stress it! Slightly undone braids are in these days. What’s more, if you only want to pancake (that's what this technique is actually called) some weaves and not others, that’s totally OK, too. Remember: effortless, undone braids are super-chic and of the moment.
If you love all things boho and you’re looking for ways to add a touch of glam to your French braid, pick up a pack of hair rings from your local beauty store. To incorporate these small rings into your French braid, slip one around a few strands before moving between each stitch. What you’ve probably only seen on your favorite celebrities and famous beauty gurus can now be part of your everyday hairstyling routine, too!
One of the best ways to create a truly eye-catching French braid is to weave it on hair with lots of texture. That’s because the added grit and texture can add a major dose of modern cool girl appeal. Just spritz on the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo before styling.
Mastered your French braiding technique and want to try something new? Check out our article, How to Create a Skeleton Braid, for a tutorial on a more intricate ‘do.