Braiding hair is a commonplace yet delicate activity. Some braids add personality, others bring utility. However, it is the evergreen French braid that truly weaves beauty into the ordinary.
Fixing your hair can seem like a burden, an opportunity, a ritual, a relief, or simply a mundanity, depending on what you are experiencing in your life. Through these various moods and seasons, braids are the all-weather companions we rely on, sometimes without even realizing it. And If you have French braiding skills in your corner, nothing can stop your mojo and mood from shining.
This article details how to French braid and explores the various types of French braid variations that you can try if you want to revamp your look or just add that classic pizzaz to your everyday self-care routine. Let’s get French braiding!
1. What is a French Braid?
A French braid (or what is also called French plaits in beauty circles) is a type of braided hairstyle that relies on using three equal sections of hair strands. These separated hair-strand sections are then brought together and intermingled into a braid from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck, trapping the hair dissections firmly.
2. Historical Origin of the French Braid
To a layperson, the nomenclature of the French braid seemingly carries the hint of its origin being somewhere in France. But ironically, the history of French braids and the genealogy of their origin can’t be traced back to France. In reality, France can’t take any kind of credit for the “French” braids, despite being inextricably linked to them in the name.
The very origin of the French braids is shrouded in mystery and remains unclear to this date. However, on its own, the practice/process of braiding hair can be traced as far as the Greek civilization thanks to the evidence from Greek sculptures and statues.
Interestingly, Greeks were not the only ones practicing braiding techniques. There are also other cultures, communities, and groups practicing braiding, including braiding practices among people of the African continent and of African descent. Lastly, in the Indian Subcontinent, the Sung Dynasty is believed to have engaged in braiding practices that may be attributed some similarity to the French braid, particularly the braids worn by the women of the upper class in the Sung Dynasty.
3. Steps to Master the Classic French Braid
Before you can go exploring the many variations of French braids, it is imperative to master the classic style. Follow these easy steps to French braid like a pro!
3.1. Step 1- Brush Your Hair Real Good
This may seem too basic but it is a rather essential step. This allows you to avoid any kind of bumps and empowers you to get rid of tangled-up hair. If you want to achieve a smooth finish to your French braid, this is where it all starts. and this has the added advantage of getting rid of bedhead-tousled hair.
3.2. Step 2- Sectioning and Segmentation
Now gather your hair in one all-encompassing portion from the frontal part of your head. Subsequently, divide them into three sections of approximately equal girth. You will have your hair sub-divided into three separate chunks/strands.
3.3. Step 3- Nail that Strand Alignment
Then bring the left strand of your hair over the middle strand of your hair. Make sure to hold all the strands with a firm grip in their new positions and keep them secure. Next, perform the same steps with the right strand. This means now, you have to cross the right strand of the hair over the middle strand (this was the left strand). Again you must not let the strands become loose.
3.4. Step 4- Trapping Hair Systematically
Keep holding the hair strands with one hand, then grab another section of hair from the left side. Use your free hand for this. Then cross it over the middle segment of the hair along with the leftmost strand of the hair. Perform the same motion on the other (right) side/segment of your hair.
3.5. Step 5- Roping and Inter-sectional Alignment
This step is all about repetition. Steps 4 and 5 should be alternated all the while ensuring that you keep all the hair secure in your grasp. Once you run out of hair, you are almost there.
3.6. Step 6- Securing the Final Knot
You have to deal with the rest of the hair as you do with the basic braid hairdo. Follow the universal method by crossing the right strand of hair over the center strands and the left strand over the center sections of hair successively.
4. Types of French Braids: An Overview
4.1. Classic French Braid
The classic single or double french braid keeps going in and out of fashion. This is a perfectly utilitarian hairstyle that can be worn out on casual occasions. Even though French braids aren’t that hard to do, they can still prove to be challenging to do on your own, on your own hair and head. In such situations patience with yourself is necessary. We align with the wise people here, and they say practice makes perfect. Or you can check out this 7-step guide on French braiding your own hair right now and get a head start.
Once you have conquered the single braid technique, it is easy to upgrade to a double french braid or even boxer braids that are popularly fashioned as Dutch braids. These are super easy and super effective hairdo options that heighten even the personal experience of styling your hair. Hence, it’s a plausible advancement to learn How to Dutch Braid Your Own Hair Elegantly and diversify your hairstyle arsenal.
4.2. French Braid Pigtails
French braid pigtails can be created by dividing the hair into two sections of hair from the middle section. Then, you do French braid hair on both sides of the hair, but instead of plating the rest of the hair, you tie off your hair into two pigtails.
If you are looking to impress at casual gatherings and geeky college fests or simply trying for a fierce look this can be your go-to hairdo. The best thing about French Pigtails is that they also help in the management of voluminous hair. If you struggle to manage your hair, this is your respite.
4.3. French Braid Bun
When it comes to the French braid bun, this hairstyle can be worn out on special occasions or when you just feel the urge to look classic yet elegant. the french braid bun is a completely spectacular hairstyle that appears absolutely beautiful. It is made with a combination of both a bun and French braids.
There are tons of ways to play with this hair look, it’s totally up to the mood of the person who’s doing the french braid bun. Whether it’s the upside-down braid with a high bun for a chick look or it is the french crown braid with a lower soft messy bun for a more romantic setting.
4.4. Side French Braid
A person who’s a beginner in doing French braiding hair looks can definitely go for a side french tail. It’s one of the easiest hairstyles to create yet it looks extremely pretty. Since this braid is spun comparatively lower than the original actual French braid, it will be less painful for your arms and cause way less soreness to your arms.
Once done, it’s on you to leave gently pull your hair or tie them into a ponytail, bun, or half-updo. You can then secure the braid with bobby pins and a rubber band.
4.5. French Braid Ponytail
Another simple yet elegant version of French braiding is when you combine it with your everyday ponytail. This hairstyle works perfectly for professional environments or workspaces and adds a sharpness to your persona. All you need to do is make a French regular braid hair in front of your head and then tie up the leftover hair into a high ponytail.
Of course, you can add variations to this hairstyle by playing around with the thickness of the braids or the height of the ponytail. While a thin braiding and high ponytail might end up looking cheerful and playful, the same with thick braids and lower ponytails will create a smart yet timeless look.
These were some of the french braiding hairstyles that can be made to change your daily appearance looks. Now, we’ll talk about some more things that should be kept in mind while doing French braid hairstyles to ensure you don’t damage your hair and enhance your braiding experience to the fullest.
5. Lifehacks and Tips for French Braiders
5.1. Hairfall is a Thing of the Past
Many people face hair fall issues while French braiding. The continuous falling out of hair ends up with people being annoyed with the process and leaving the idea of hairstyling. Well, here is the solution to that. You can try braiding wet hair, as it is comparatively easier to have a grip on semi-wet hair rather than on completely dry hair, it is said that hair is on its best behavior while they are semi-wet or damp.
So, it becomes easier to add hair to the french braid hair with lesser effort. You can later secure the look with hair ties.
5.2. Say Goodbye to Neck Pain
To avoid literal neck pain and arm soreness while doing French braid hair, it is advised that once you reach the ear, tilt your head forward. This ensures that braids aren’t too tight and prevents hair fall, which is a literal nightmare, and who wants that?
5.3. Fix Those Braids That Loosen Up Involuntarily
Then there are times when the braids end up becoming limp and lifeless creating a loose braid. The problem here is that the hands are not directly on the scalp, which naturally creates space in the hair. The solution is to keep your hands as close as possible to your head while braiding.
People face this problem of loose braids, especially towards the end of the braid. An easy solution to that can be to gather hair with a firm grip and keep all the hair together. This may take a little more effort than before but this will make sure that your braids won’t loosen up in the end. To secure the braid, you can seek the help of rubber bands so that it doesn’t loosen up on its own.
5.4. Be Consistent
Section of hair plays an important role when it comes to a clean look of french hairstyle, if the sections are uneven on a greater scale the overall hairstyle might appear wonky and won’t give a clean look. To insure a clean look, you just need to stay consistent and continue braiding with a consistent amount of hair you pick each time.
Read more hairstyling content from us at 15 Super Easy and Classy Different Types of Braids.