Braids have been in vogue for centuries and were worn by both women and men in some countries. The braid is still popular but has undergone a lot of transformation. The classic braids, where all the hair is gathered at the back of the head and is plaited down the center, and even the pigtails, where the hair is parted in two and braided on either side of the head, are still in use. Over a period of time, many variations emerged in different parts of the world and, for easy reference, were named after the country from which they originated. Hence we have the French, English and the Swedish Braid. Here, we look at the French braid which is currently one of the most popular styles. It is fairly easy to master and after trying it out on someone else a few times, you will be able to braid your hair quite well yourself. There are variations mostly based on individual preferences, and you can learn them as you go along, or try out a few of your own. If you want, you can seek the help of a hairstylist, so that you learn the correct technique.
French Braid Hairstyles
Method Of Braiding
- The first step is to ensure that you have the necessary aids and implements to do the French Braid. Keep a wide toothed and a fine toothed comb handy. A rat tail comb, which has a long handle that ends in a point, is very handy to separate the strands easily. Some water in a spray bottle will help if you are braiding hair that is wavy or curly, as this kind of hair holds better when damp. Fine hair might need the use of a bit of styling cream or gel before braiding.
- First, you need to remove the tangles by using a wide toothed comb or a brush. Gather all the hair, up high at the back of the head.
- Divide it into three equal portions and comb each portion till smooth. You start by crossing the right hand section over the middle section. The original right section now has moved in as the middle section.
- Now cross the left hand section over the middle section. This results in the left hand section moving into the position of the middle section. At each stage pull the sections away from each other to make the braid taut.
- Continue doing this procedure with the right and then the left hand alternately, ensuring that at each stage you pull the braid tight, until you reach the end which you secure with a hair ponytail holder or an elastic band.
- This three-strand is the most basic of all styles and because it is simple to do, most people prefer it. A bit of hair spray will help in keeping the hair in place. If you prefer a more casual and carefree look, try pulling out a few strands and let them fall around your face.
Tips About Braiding
Once you have understood the basic technique of braiding, you will, with practice, find it easier to handle the hair in your hands and pick up speed in braiding, and also perfect the art so that the braid looks even and neat. When you have mastered this, you can try working each of the three sections separately.
- After combing the hair back and smoothing it with a hairbrush, take three individual sections and create separate braids with them. You can then braid the three small braids into one single big braid.
- Another variation is to cross each section of hair under, instead of over the next section. This completely alters the weave of the braid.
- You could separate the three main sections into smaller ones using the rat tail comb and use the same technique in braiding. The more the strands the more the braid gets a better woven look.
- If you want a tight braid, you should keep your hands, holding the sections of hair, close to the head. For a looser, wispier braid keep the hands a little away. This is called ‘underbraiding’.
- The French Braid can look stunning if you stop braiding at the hairline and then tie the remaining hair into a ponytail.
- You can dress up the braid by tucking dried flowers, beads, pearls or crystals into the braid from the top right through to the end.
Once you have mastered the basic technique of doing the French braid, you can try variations that you think would suit you well. Few styles can beat a good French braid, which is practical, looks stylish and which you can do yourself at home. It is suitable for all occasions.