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Braiding Basics: How to Braid Your Hair

Updo & Bun Hairstyles

Braiding Basics: How to Braid Your Hair Braiding Basics: How to Braid Your Hair Braiding Basics: How to Braid Your Hair

From the fishtail to the French, braids aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Whether you prefer to wear a traditional plait or something a little edgier, there’s a braided hairstyle out there for everybody who’s looking to spruce up their beauty look. Want to get in on the woven action but have no idea where to start? We’re here to help you kick off your newest obsession with the steps and hairstyling products needed to create our five favorite braids. That’s right, we’re sharing how to do a Dutch braid, how to do a French braid, and more. Follow (and weave) along!

HOW TO DO A TRADITIONAL BRAID

Classic and simple, this braid is the easiest to master. With three strands and an overhanded weave, you’ll be able to transform your hair into a super chic ‘do.

What you’ll need:

Hair brush

L’Oréal Kids Burst of Sweet Pear Tangle Tamer for All Hair Types

L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Fine Control Hairspray

Clear elastic

Get the look:

Step 1: Start by brushing your hair

Nothing’s worse than trying to make braid magic happen only to be disrupted by a head full of tangles! Carefully brush out your hair, starting at the ends, to ensure there are no knots in sight.

Step 2: Divide your hair into three even sections

Whether you want to do a low or high ponytail braid, you’ll split your hair into three sections: a left, right, and middle. Hold the left section in your left hand and the right section in your right hand.

Step 3: Cross the left section over the middle section

Start crisscrossing your strands, moving the left section over the middle section. Once you cross the left section over, it will be the new middle section.

Step 4: Cross the right section over the new middle section

Now, cross the right section over the middle. You can probably see where this is going—the right section will become your new middle section.

Step 5: Continue the pattern

Keep going, left-right-left-right. Make sure to pull the sections tight to prevent flyaways and keep your braid from coming undone.

Step 6: Tie it all together

Once you’re getting close to running out of hair, tie your braid off about an inch from your ends. Finish the look with a spritz of hairspray.

HOW TO DO A FRENCH BRAID

Love traditional braids but want to amp it up a bit? Use the same left-right-left-right technique, only this time be sure to add in extra hair with every back and forth weave.

What you’ll need:

L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Bold Control Hairspray

Clear elastic

Get the look:

Step 1: Start at the crown of your head

Gather the topmost section of hair at the crown of your head and divide it into three sections.

Step 2: Make your first weave

Just like with a traditional braid, cross the left section over the middle section, followed by crossing the right one over that middle.

Step 3: Add the French technique

Instead of continuing to create a traditional braid, you’ll want to pick up new sections as you go, incorporating them into each new weave. Remember to pull tightly as you work your way down your head.

Step 4: Secure your plait

Grab a clear hair elastic and secure your French braid, then spritz on some hairspray. Gorgeous, right? Oui, oui!

HOW TO DO A DUTCH BRAID

Similar to the French braid, you will pick up pieces as you go to bring this braid to life. Unlike the French braid, however, instead of weaving overhand, you’ll add every new section of hair under the middle strand. Although the process isn’t that much different, the end look definitely is! Hello, inverted braids!

What you’ll need:

L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray

Clear elastic

Get the look by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Start at your crown

Divide the top layer of your hair into three equal sections.

Step 2: Begin your underhanded weave

Cross the left section of hair under the middle section, making it the new middle section. Then, bring the right section of hair under the middle section, which will make it the new middle section.

Step 3: Incorporate more hair

Keep braiding your hair, crossing the sections on either side underneath the middle strand, but each time you do so, add in a little more hair from the bottom layer of your mane.

Step 4: Repeat

Continue the same pattern all the way down, stopping about an inch from the ends of your hair.

Step 5: Tie it off

Twist a hair tie around your ends and gently pancake your braid for a blogger-worthy end look.

HOW TO DO A WATERFALL BRAID

Prefer to wear your locks down but love the look of braids? Look no further than a romantic waterfall braid!

What you’ll need:

Brush

Clear elastic

Bobby pins

Curling iron or L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray

Get the look:

STEP #1: GRAB YOUR BRUSH

This is another braided hairstyle where knots and tangles just won’t do, so grab your brush and tame your tresses. While you’re at it, part your hair. We love this braid with a side part!

STEP #2: ANCHOR YOUR BRAID

To start your braid, grab a section of hair at the front of your head that’s about two inches wide. Split the section into three smaller pieces and braid as if you’re starting a traditional braid.

STEP #3: BRAID SOME MORE

Now, it’s time to get to what makes this braid resemble a waterfall. First, incorporate a little more hair into the right strand and cross it over the middle strand. Then, let go of the left strand and grab a new piece of hair to replace it. This should create the cascading effect that distinguishes the waterfall braid. Next, move the new left strand over the middle strand. And that’s your first stitch!

STEP #4: REPEAT

Repeat step three, guiding your braid in a horizontal line across the back of your head as you go. This may take a bit of practice, but keep at it! Once your braid wraps around your head, secure the ends with a clear elastic. You can also use bobby pins to hide your ends under the top layer of your hair for a more seamless look.  

BONUS STEP: CURL YOUR STRANDS

There’s no rule saying you can only pair a waterfall braid with curls or waves, but it is an amazing combination! If you’re up to completing one more step, use a wide barrel curling iron to create loose, carefree waves, or a smaller curling iron if you want to end up with thin ringlets. You can also opt to create heat-free waves with a wave spray.

HOW TO DO A FISHTAIL BRAID

Three strands not really your thing? You can get a killer braid with two, too!

What you’ll need:

Rat tail comb

Clear elastic

L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

Get the look:

Step 1: Create a side part

Using a rat tail comb, create a side part and bring all of your hair around to one shoulder.

Step 2: Start braiding

Using the two thick sections of hair created by your side part, take a small chunk of hair from the outer section and cross it over to join the other side. Then, take a small chunk of hair from the outermost edge of the side you just added to and cross it over to your other section. Repeat this process all the way down to the ends of your hair. Secure your braid with a mini clear elastic.

Step 3: Pancake your plait

Fishtail braids look especially gorgeous when they’re slightly undone, so gently tug apart your braid starting at the ends and working your way toward the top.

Step 4: Add the final touches

For an extra romantic feel, pull out a few face-framing tendrils for extra effortless appeal. Once your braid looks just right, seal everything in place with a spritz of hairspray.

Next, move on from the basics to something a little more advanced. Here’s How to Create a Beautiful Crown Braid.