How to Do a French Braid

By Cosmetify Beauty Team - 5 months ago | Updated
Hair plaiting brown hair

Are you tired of the doing the same ol’ updo? Well, spice things up with a chic bit of braiding. The French plait or braid, which originated from Native American and African cultures, is a style of braiding that is said to date back almost 6,000 years.

It's more or less a simple three-strand braid, but instead of just continuing with only three strands, you gather more hair into each strand as you weave them together – confusing, I know.

That's why we've put together an easy step-by-step guide on how to do a French braid. With a bit of practice and some deep breaths, you'll see how easy it can actually be! Follow along to see just how you can achieve this stylish, versatile hairdo for yourself.

Hair Kit List

First thing's first you need the perfect styling tool kit to achieve the much-loved French braid, including:

A Brush

Make sure your hair is fully detangled before braiding. This paddle brush from ghd is perfect for people with longer locks as it helps tame unwanted frizz and smooth any larger sections of hair.

ghd Paddle Brush

ghd Paddle Brush

£21.95
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Hair bands

Bobbles, hair ties, hair bands - whatever you call them, you need a selection to stop your hair from unravelling. They help secure the end of your plait and can also be a super cute hair accessory.

Popband London Pastel Headbands

Popband London Pastel Headbands

£6.00
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A tail comb

Not only can a tail comb help you add a little extra oomph to your look, but it's perfect for separating your hair into a sharp, neat parting - especially if you're doing two or more braids.

Tangle Teezer Back Combing Hair Brush

Tangle Teezer Back Combing Hair Brush

£7.92
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Texturising spray

French braids are much easier on unwashed hair (result!) as it helps add texture and hold. If you have fine, silky locks add a texturising salt spray or gently spritz some hairspray for a bit of grip.

OUAI Texturising Hairspray

OUAI Texturising Hairspray

£10.00
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And last but not least you need plenty of patience! Nothing worth having comes easy and practice certainly makes perfect when it comes to hair styling.

How to do a French braid

So, how do you actually plait your hair? Well now you've got all your tools, it's time to get down to business...

1. Prep your hair

Fully detangle your hair, then brush it back from your forehead as you'll be braiding down the back of your head. If you hair needs a little extra texture, add in some hairspray at this point.

2. Section your hair

Begin by taking a three-inch chunk of hair from the top centre of your head and start a standard three-strand plait. For this three-strand plait you'll need to hold two strands in one hand and one in another. Cross the right strand over the centre strand and the left strand over the centre strand. Continue this step two to three times.

Top tip: The size of the section you start with will determine how big the braid will be. You can start with a small section but it will get thicker as you add hair.

3. Bring in more hair

Now it's time to start working in new hair.

Take neat sections of hair from the sides of your head and add it into the main strand before it crosses over the centre. Do this by taking a section of hair from the right and adding it to the "right" section of hair from the original braid. Pull this section over the centre section, so it becomes the new centre section. Repeat this for the left side.

4. Bring all of your hair into the braid

Once you've reached the nape of your neck and run out of hair to add into the French braid, simply plait the remaining strands into three strand braid.

5. Finish the braid

Take a hair band and tie your hair to stop it from unravelling and ruining all your hard work. Et voilà: a gorgeous French braid!

Double French Braids

Still struggling? Or perhaps you want to try your hand at a two french braid style? Well, take a look at this great step-by-step french braid tutorial by Amelia Gabs (aka EverydayHairInspiration) that will have you french braiding like a professional in no time!

This braiding style is super badass – no wonder celebrities like Beyoncé, Chrissy Teigen, Kim K and Hailey Baldwin have all been seen sporting a French braid look. Once you master the basics, you can up your game with a french braid crown, french braids into a ponytail or even french braids space buns.

But remember, to conquer the French braid you've got to go through a bit of trial and error. We promise it's worth it.

Want more hair styling tips? Take a look at our Beauty Hub, with top tips such as The Best Hair Root Touch Up Products for 2020.

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