How to French Braid Hair

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If your hair is long enough there are tons of different hairstyles you could try out. If you want one that doesn't require any hair products, just some patience and practice, the French braid might be something for you. The French braid is a classic and stunning hairstyle. The learning curve is steep and practice is essential, but the results are worth it.

Difficulty:
Challenging

Instructions

  1. French Braid Someone Else's Hair

    • 1

      Begin by applying a styling gel, mousse or pomade to clean, damp hair and blow drying the hair as smooth as possible. A French braid in hair that hasn't been washed that day and already has hair products in it also works well.

    • 2

      Remove tangles from hair before beginning the French braid. Take a 3-inch-long by 1-inch-wide section of hair just above the forehead or behind the individual's bangs.

    • 3

      Divide the section into three even pieces. Place the left section between the left index finger and thumb, place the right section between the right index finger and thumb, and let the middle section lie flat against the head. Pull the right section over the middle section and deposit it between the left index and middle fingers. This will begin to form your French braid.

    • 4

      Lead with the right middle finger and cut about a 1-inch-wide section of hair straight across the head, starting at the hairline and moving toward the middle section. Collect the middle section and pull all of the hair tight. The line of hair you collected for your French braid should lie flat and smooth.

    • 5

      Twist your left hand clockwise and move the section in between your left index and middle fingers to your right index and middle fingers. Pull the sections in your right hand and let the section in your left hand go.

    • 6

      Lead with the left middle finger and cut about a 1-inch-wide section of hair straight across the head, starting at the hairline and moving toward the dangling section. Scoop up the dangling section and pull this now-bigger section to the left, hooking it with your middle finger. Continue to make sure each section of your French braid is smooth and has equal tension on it for a uniform look.

    • 7

      Twist your right hand counterclockwise. Extend the left index finger and hook the section of hair between the right index and middle fingers. Pull it to the left and let the section in your right hand dangle.

    • 8

      Continue the slice, twist and shift process until the entire French braid is complete. Remember to always hook the section of hair between the index and middle fingers, not the thumb and index finger. Keep the tension taut but not too tight.

    • 9

      Braid a tail when you've come to the base of the neck, and tie off the ends with a covered rubber band. Add a bow or barrette when appropriate, or hide the tail by tucking it under the shaft of the French braid. Fix with a bobby pin or two.

    How to French Braid Your Own Hair

    • 10

      Take a 3-inch-long by 1-inch-wide section of your hair just above the forehead or behind your bangs. Divide the section into three even pieces which will start off your French braid.

    • 11

      Wrap your left thumb around the left section, palm facing front, fingers sticking straight up. Mimic the same posture on the right side, and let the middle section lie against the head.

    • 12

      Make a soft fist around the left section of hair, turning your hand so that your fingers rest on the head. Bring the section of hair in your right hand across the middle section and hook it with your left index finger.

    • 13

      Lead with the right thumb and cut about a 1-inch section of hair straight across the head, starting at the hairline and moving toward the middle section. Collect the middle section and pull all of the hair tight. The line of hair you collected in each section of your French braid should lie flat and smooth.

    • 14

      Make a soft fist with the right hand, fingers facing your scalp. Reach the right index finger over the middle section and hook the section of hair that's in your left fist. Pull it out gently, keeping a firm grip on the French braid sections in your right hand.

    • 15

      Let the section in your left hand dangle. Lead with the left thumb and cut about a 1-inch section of hair straight across the head, collect the middle section, then pull all of the hair tight. Turn the fist so that your fingers face your scalp.

    • 16

      Extend your left index finger to hook the section of hair that's in your right fist. Continue until the French braid is complete.

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