A Step-by-Step Guide on How to French Braid Your Hair

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to French Braid Your Hair

Image Source: Jenny Strebe

The moment you learn to tie your shoelaces, you’re deemed fit by the all-holy hair gods to try a three-strand braid. The next level-up after that is equally classic, if not one degree trickier: the french braid.

This over-under plait has been woven throughout history — from ancient Sparta dating back 6,000 years to Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” album cover — and for good reason: DIYing the look is ridiculously simple, even for people with little to no hairstyling skills All it takes is a little know-how, and that’s where Jenny Strebe, hairstylist and founder of Aiir Professional, comes in.

Before you begin, though, there are a few micro-steps to keep in mind. We’re breaking it all down for you here.

Tips Before You French Braid Your Hair

First, know that most braided hairstyles work best on relatively dirty hair (that extra grit means more texture but less slip). Then, to make for the easiest weaving, you’ll want to brush out any tangles or knots using a wide-tooth comb.

“This will prevent hair from getting tangled up in your fingers as well as help create clean-looking sections,” Strebe says. She also suggests running a smoothing cream or paste through hair to create a more polished look and to keep any flyaways at bay.

Dutch Braid Vs. French Braid

There are plenty of iterations of the french braid (and lots of things you can do to further elevate the look, like throw it up in a ponytail or weave in a few hair accessories) but there’s a key thing that differentiates it from similar styles, like dutch braids: how you criss-cross each plait. With french braids, you cross the sections of hair on top of one another, whereas with dutch braids, you cross the sections underneath one another. So while the results may look alike, the process is not one in the same. (That’s also how dutch braids got the nickname “reverse french braids.”) Which one you like best, then, is up to personal preference.

How to French Braid Your Hair

Now that that’s settled — on your mark, get set, go check out this full step-by-step photo tutorial on how to do an effortlessly cool french braid at home. One thing to note: while the below utilizes a model for demonstration purposes, you can still follow the steps on your own by looking in the mirror as you create each section. It’s not as easy as lacing up your kicks, but yeah, it’s way more fun.