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Perpetually polished and impeccably put-together, we all envy the near mythological elegance of French women. Geography aside, there’s one classic element of French style you can steal right now: their hair. More specifically—the French hair style of choice—the French twist. Intimidated? Don’t be! Anyone can create this timeless updo—as long as they follow 8 simple steps. Quickly brush up on your braiding skills, then grab a few bobby pins and click through for a foolproof how-to that will have you saying ‘ooh-la-la’ to your reflection in no time.
Updos always work best with some ‘stick’ in your hair. What does that mean? You’ll want to use hair spray, such as the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Fine Control Hairspray, to prep your hair.
Once you’ve prepped your hair with a few quick spritzes of hair spray, you can move on to styling. Begin by pulling up the front of your hair as though you’re doing a half-up do, and twist the section for a rolled effect. Pin the roll in place at the back of your crown. After pinning the top of the roll down, you should be left with something ponytail-esque.
Have you been practicing your braids? Thankfully, for this hairstyle, you only need to be familiar with a traditional, 3-strand braid—which you’re probably capable of weaving in your sleep. Right beneath the pin you placed in the previous step, braid the “ponytail” and secure it with a small hair elastic. This is a cool look in and of itself, since braids are oh-so-trendy, but it isn’t quite French enough yet. Keep clicking to take it there.
Brush your remaining, unbraided hair to the right side of your head, smoothing as you go. Use more hair pins to secure your side swept hair slightly off center, allowing your braid to dangle over it. If your hair underneath feels too slippery, spraying with more hairspray should do the trick.
Take hold of the tail of your braid with one hand, then pull the pinned hair back to the left side of your head, covering the braid. The tail will be popping out, but don’t worry—it’s by design. In fact, it’s the key to mastering this tricky twist.
Here, even for the hair-style-challenged, is the ah-ha moment. Wrap your hair around the braid, creating a croissant-like twist, or roll. And oui, that’s the origin of the name!
Don’t stop just yet. Continue wrapping your hair around the braid until you reach the tail, then secure together with an elastic. The twist will be loose, but once you’ve completed this step, the rest is a fait accompli.
Now, it’s time to take care of the twist’s tail. When everything is said and done, it shouldn’t be visible. So, simply tuck the tail of the braid/ponytail combo under the twist at the nape your neck and pin it in place. It doesn’t have to be perfect just yet, once it’s pinned you’re free to adjust the twist (and flatten the tucked area) with the help of more pins. Remember, with this style the nape should be as smooth as possible.
Almost done! Starting at the top of your now hidden braid, use large pins to secure the twist, gently tucking hair into the twist as you go. Although the pins should be enough to create a tight hold, it never hurts to finish your hairstyle off with a little extra hairspray. Before calling it a day, spray your updo with the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray for added shine and staying power.
And that’s it! The result: a French twist that’s worthy of even the most famous Parisian women—and one that’s sure to have your friends inquiring about when you returned from Paris. Voila!
Next: How to Get French-Girl Bangs
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