How to Braid for Beginners

Practice your three-strand braiding on a ponytail first.
Practice your three-strand braiding on a ponytail first. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Braids are one of the oldest and most versatile hairstyles. Unlike ponytails, braiding neatly contains hair, preventing tangles. Every style of braiding, from the most basic to the dazzlingly elegant, has its roots in the standard three-strand braid. Mastering this basic style can seem daunting for a beginner. Continuous practice will slowly increase your skill and confidence level, allowing you to attempt advanced, intricate styles of braiding.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair brush
  • Non-rubber hair elastic

Brush your hair thoroughly and secure your gathered hair into a ponytail with a non-rubber hair elastic. Braiding a ponytail lets you focus entirely on the act of braiding, rather than anchoring and integrating the hair. As you become more comfortable with your braiding skills you can start braids at the nape or higher.

Separate your ponytail into three equal sections A, B and C. Hold B and C apart with your index finger and thumb.

Cross C over B to form an X. Hold this crossover with your ring and index fingers, while maintaining control of section A.

Cross A over C. Gently pull the pleat snug for a tighter braid or leave it relaxed for a looser style.

Cross B over C. Always cross strands in the middle of the braid. Secure each pleat with your fingers before beginning the next crossover.

Repeat the process until only a few inches of unbraided hair remain. Wrap a non-rubber hair elastic around the ends several times or until tight. Leave at least 3 to 4 inches of unbraided hair or your braid will appear tapered.

Tips & Warnings

  • If keeping track of the sections is difficult, tie a different colored ribbon around the end of each section and remove them before securing the elastic.

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