There are many variations of French
braiding or plaiting, like the whole head plait straight down the centre of the head, placing the braid to one side or both and partial head French braids as in the images below. The difference between this type of plait
and the simple three-strand plait is that you are constantly picking
up more hair and adding it to the French plait (or 'braid'). To create another hair style plait variation you can reverse the directions below and have an 'inside out' braid. You
will need plenty of practice as with any hair plaiting it gets easier and faster as you do, if you are planning to
do this to your own hair a few muscles should be gained so that you can hold your arms up for the time needed)!
A side French braid can be glamourous or for school! This hair style from Paloma Garcia
Rebecca Woloszek a French braid used to hold back masses of curls in this hair style
Joharn Cuthbert combines a French braid with a top knot for this hair style
Tools and other items you will
- Covered elastic bands
- Paddle or similar brush to remove
- A little hair spray
- A clip to keep hair not being
plaited out of the way
- Possibly a few pins or grips or
odd pin if you have layers to secure any stray bits!
Simple French Braid
This is a single braid that follows
the curve of the back of the head. Your hair needs to be quite
long for this, a few layers won't matter as long as they reach
from the side of the head to the centre back and pass it by about
10cm. You will need to know how to do a basic plait to understand
the instructions. If you need some help with this first then return
to simple plaiting.
- Separate the front (including
sides) of your hair from the back. Some people prefer to separate
the top leaving only the sides to be added in later but this
is a little more difficult. Draw
the separated hair back to the crown of your head and divide
it into 3 equal strands.
- Do a quick left over center, right
over centre (as in the simple plait) to start.
- As you continue, add extra hair
taken from directly underneath each new section about to be
crossed over. Then go ahead and cross it over. The
amount of hair you pick up should be about the same each time.
- Your braid will naturally follow
the curve of the head as you pick up and include the new hair.
Keep going until you reach the nape and all of your hair has
- Finish with a simple plait and
secure with your covered band when you reach the ends of your
- Don't try to make the braid too
neat to begin with, master the technique then improve on the
- Try to keep your tension and section
size the same when working on neatness.
- Use your little finger to section,
this will allow you to hold the rest of the hair firmly whilst
picking up the new hair.
- For a variation, you can finish
the braid just above the nape and turn it under to form a roll
that can be pinned in place.
Side French Plaits
(as shown in image at top of page).
- Find your normal parting or create
a straight down the middle parting (if you have any shorter
pieces of hair that may not reach the center back if parted
to either side).
- From the crown to the nape separate
your hair into two halves.
- Clip one side out of the way and
begin to plait the other.
- Divide this side into three sections
at the front hair line and plait it as you would for a normal
French plait (see above).
- When you get as far as the nape,
remove the clip from the other side and use it to hold the plait
in place whilst you do the second side.
- Once you have both sides plaited
as far as the nape, combine the hair and plait as you would
for a simple plait until you reach the ends. Secure with a band.
- If your hair is shorter, then
secure with the band at the nape and tuck it under itself, holding
it in place with a few pins.
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