French braids are three strand braids that take one new section from each side as they are braided. It is similar to a Dutch braid hence called as an inverted braid. The braiding unlike normal braids, remains inside the hair hence projects an interwoven complex design.
However, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Once you get a hang of it, is actually quite easy and effortless. With a little practice you can do a French braid in minutes without even needing a mirror. It is a go to hairstyle, if you haven’t washed your hair for long or just want a secured and protective hairstyle. It is a perfect style for gym and outdoor activities if you don’t want your hair to get in the way.
Whether you have long or short hair, there is a French braid hairstyle for you. Here are the basic steps that you need to follow after which you can customize your looks as per your preference.
Basic steps for a French braid
Braiding is not rocket science. You need to know at least one type of braiding if you are really into hair care and styling. French braids work perfectly for going to school, party or professional environments. Here are some of the basic prep and steps you need to follow to get the perfect outcome every time. The essentials you need for a braid are just a comb as per your hair thickness and a hair tie.
1. Prep your hair
Any kind of weaving works best with textured hair. The grip is better and the hairstyle will last longer. The problem with freshly washed hair is its smoothness. The hairstyle will simply slip and become loose quickly. These braids work best on second or third day unwashed hair. Even if you wash your hair every day, try using a hair texturising spray or dry shampoo. This will provide ample of grip and tightness to the weave. You can also oil your hair and try the braid if you have coarse hair.
2. Create a parting of your liking
Use a rat tail comb if you are planning to do multiple braids. Part your hair in the middle or side as per your preference and habit. Then clip away the side you will plait later. This will not allow the hair from the other side to accidently mix with one side and confuse you. Parting and clipping away also provides a neater result and less tugging at the end. The hair will also be less tangled if you section the hair properly.
3. Divide the hair into three strands
The crucial part of French braiding is taking three equal strands. Take three hair strands from the crown of your head and divide them into 3-4inches approximately. The hair strands must be in your grip at all times and even while weaving never let them go or get loose. You might make the braid loose or have to start over again.
4. Start braiding
Start with a regular three strand braid. Take the left strand over the middle and then the right strand over the middle. Bring the middle strand which is now in the bottom to the left but add some hair from the left side. Take same amount of hair as the strand. Again bring that strand on the top. Do the same thing with the right strand by adding some hair from the right strand. Use your thumb to bring the strand in the bottom or the middle strand to the top after you have added hair to both strands.
5. Finish with a normal braid
After you have reached the nape of your neck you will probably run out of hair to add to your braid. We suggest finish the French braiding just a few inches above the nape. This will ensure the braid will not look shaggy or loose after you are done with it. From towards the nape use the three strand braiding technique to make a normal braid. Secure it with a scrunchie or rubber tie. If you have layers in your hair or just want to control the flyways then use a hair spray to lock down the style.
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French braids tips for different hair types
Different hair texture, length and types will give different results for obvious reasons. Hence while plaiting your hair remember your hair type will make it look unique for you. So don’t aim for perfection, just enjoy the process and appreciate the style. Here are some tips and tricks to make French braiding easier for your hair type-
1. French braid for fine or thin hair
If you have fine and thin hair then it’s better to tease it a bit. Use volumising products or add texture with hair spray. After you are done with braiding pull the plaits a little bit for a lived- in effortless look.
2. French braid for natural hair
If you have denser and thicker hair then you shouldn’t focus on putting too much tension on your hair. It can cause soreness on your scalp. You don’t have to make the braid too tight for a snatched look. Use a hairspray or gel for sleekness. You can also use bobby pins to secure the braid if necessary for natural hair.
3. French braid for straight and thick hair
For more texture and fuller looking style try braiding on dry hair. Wet hair is weaker. You might break your hair while braiding and add tangles. So always dry and brush your hair thoroughly before starting to weave. Use serums if necessary to make the hair shiny and sleek looking.
4. French braid for curly hair
Although plaits look better with textured and unwashed hair, curly hair is also great for braided hairstyles. They naturally have that volume and texture for great looking hair braids. Weaving also makes natural or curly hair more manageable, safe from tangling and breakage. The hairstyle also stays longer. Curly hair is braided with better control when wet or slightly damp. After conditioning your hair try a leave- in spray or a curl cream to keep the moisture intact.
5. French braid for short hair
There needs to be enough tension between the strands to keep the braid intact. If the hair is too short or has choppy layers then braiding would be a challenge. If you have very short hair then you can try adding hair extensions and always take clean section to braid securely.
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French braids are that timeless and chic hairstyles that always look stylish. The criss- cross pattern gives an elegant look to the hair. If you master the French braiding technique then all other braiding will become easier to handle. There are several variations and hairstyle with French braids. So start braiding and practice till it becomes effortless.