Master the Art of Hair Braiding with Easy-to-Follow Steps and Essential Hair Tools

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Braids are often thought of as an easy hairstyle, but they can be tricky to master. They require dexterous fingers and can be quite challenging to attempt on your own. It's not easy to create a perfect, full-centred braid when your arms don't bend in the right direction.

Nevertheless, braids are striking and classic, be it in the form of side braids, pigtail braids or high ponytail braids. It's a style that serves those on the red carpet as much as those on the couch at home. It's high time that those who are disabled at braiding finally find their calling. For this reason, we solicited the expertise of celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein for guidance on how to accomplish a basic braid.

Essential Products for Successful Braiding

Based on the sort of braid you desire to achieve, several products must be available prior to the actual braiding commences. The most important tool is the detangling brush, which ensures that hair strands are appropriately separated before braiding. "I prefer using a Sheila Stotts brush and the Wet Brush," affirms Rubenstein. "For my initial hair smoothing, I prefer utilizing a boar bristle Mason Pearson brush." Parting the hair with a tail comb is another useful tool, particularly if you want a smooth part or several braids.

Regarding hair ties, Rubenstein recommends Scunci for regular bands. "There are also tiny, clear, disposable ties from Goody that remain invisible once the braid is done," she suggests.

Achieving a polished and neatly woven braid can be effortless with the right products, according to Rubenstein. For a tighter finish, she recommends using Gorilla Snot, a robust hair gel that delivers an edgy look. To control loose strands, Rubenstein suggests prepping with a light mist of Unite's Ticky Light before starting on the braid. To add texture to your hair, use Oribe Dry Texture Spray before and after braiding. Don't be discouraged by the number of products mentioned, Rubenstein affirms that once you get the hang of a basic braid, you can easily venture into more intricate styles. If you prefer visual guidance, check out the tutorial videos in the links below.

Rubenstein advises that while braids can work on most hair lengths, it's a lot easier on hair that's shoulder-length or longer. Cleaning your sections before starting is also vital to avoid mess and confusion while braiding. If you're a beginner, it's advisable to practice on other people before braiding your hair yourself.

Mastering the Art of Braiding Hair

If you're a newbie braider working with long hair, starting with a low ponytail can make the process much smoother. This technique ensures that the hair around the crown stays even and avoids any clumpy sections that can form from uneven tension during braiding. You can always remove the elastic band after completing the braid.

However, there's no better way to improve your braiding skills than by practicing consistently. "Braiding is a skill that requires technique, especially when attempting more intricate styles," says our expert. "But with practice, you'll develop a natural rhythm and confidence."

Step-by-Step Guide to Braiding Hair

1. Brush hair to remove tangles, whether it's wet or dry. You may choose to spritz the hair with texture or flyaway-taming spray or apply a coin-sized amount of gel for a sleeker appearance.

2. Divide the hair into three equal sections starting from the nape of the neck.

Clariss Rubenstein

3. Cross the right section over the middle section in an overhand motion. The right strand now becomes the new middle section.

4. Cross the left section over the middle section. The left strand now becomes the new middle section.

Clariss Rubenstein

5. Keep braiding by repeating this motion while alternating left and right sides, taking the side sections and bringing them up and over the middle section.

6. Once you reach the end, secure with a hair tie of your choice. If you prefer a sleeker finish, apply a small amount of gel on top of your hair. Voila!

Video Tutorials on Braiding

Simple Braid:

French Braid on Your Own:

French Braid on Someone Else:

Former Senior Style & Beauty Editor

Maria Del Russo, former senior style and beauty editor for Insider Reviews, is a product fanatic and constantly tests new products and launches to keep her readers informed. She managed a freelance team of beauty and style experts who are also passionate about finding the best beauty buys in the market. Prior to joining Insider Inc., Maria freelanced full-time for beauty, sex, and wellness publications. Her writing is featured in popular publications such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Refinery29, Bustle, and Elle Magazine, among others. Maria collaborated with Pat McGrath, Dick Page, Orlando Pita, Sir John, and Mario Dedivanovic, among other top beauty artists, as a beauty editor at Refinery29. Her book, Simple Acts of Love, was published by Simon & Schuster under the Adams Media imprint in 2019. She is currently writing a memoir about her experiences with layoffs and love. In the meantime, Maria writes a newsletter about all kinds of relationships, including romantic, familial, and friendship, called "can't relate". Follow Maria on Instagram to keep up with her latest adventures @mariadelrusso or on Twitter @maria_delrusso.

Find out how our team of experts test and review products at Insider here. Learn how we test beauty and style products.

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