Braiding Your Own Hair: Three Methods

  • Divide your hair into three equal sections and braid it in the traditional manner. To lengthen your braid, loop these segments over one another in a predetermined pattern.
  • Construct a French braid by adding strands of hair to the existing three sections.
  • Make a fishtail braid by dividing your hair in half down the middle.
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    You should probably brush your hair. This aids in keeping your braid in tidiness and style. [1]

    • You can use a comb or brush, but brushes are better for smoothing out your hair.
    • If you brush your hair before you braid, you won't end up with knots in your hair.
    • You shouldn't begin braiding wet hair. As it dries, it will expand and potentially break your braid.
    • To get started, you should avoid using a lot of hair product, but if you really need some texture, a dry shampoo is a good option. Use a leave-in conditioner or mist your hair with water to tame unruly strands.
    • If your hair isn't staying put, dry shampoo may help. Freshly washed and dried hair might be too slippery to stay in place while you're in motion. This is because the dry shampoo provides texture, which aids in retaining the strands. [2]
    • Preparing your hair by washing, conditioning, and drying it will help the braid last longer. [3]
  2. 2

    Choose the ideal location for your braid. Choosing the location of your braid is the first step in braiding. Adjusting where on your head you wear your braids can completely change your look and make them work with a wide variety of outfits and events. Depending on how you style your braid, it can be either practical and casual or formal and sophisticated.

    • Create a side braid by pulling your hair to one side. Make sure there are no lumps by brushing all your hair to the side you intend to wear it. For a classier, more put-together look that's perfect for date night or the office, try this.
    • If you're just getting started with braiding, you might want to try a side braid. A side braid allows for greater visibility and precision.
    • You can wear a low, loose ponytail in the back and braid down the middle. This creates a classic braid that is both looser and more refined.
    • Making a ponytail in the center or on top of your head is another option to begin. Stabilizing a back braid with this is a simple way to switch up your style.


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    Separate your hair into a minimum of three sections. [4] Hold your hair in your hands. [5]

    • You'll part your hair down the middle, and then to the left and right.
    • Grab the left side of your hair with your thumb and forefinger.
    • Grip the right side of your hair between your thumb and forefinger on the same hand.
    • For the time being, let the middle part dangle loosely.
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    You can now start your braid. First, cross the right side of your hair over the middle. [6]

    • Once the right side is crossed over the middle, you can hold it in place using your left forefinger and middle finger.
    • Use your left thumb and forefinger to grab the middle section of hair.
    • Tighten the braid by pulling on the individual pieces of hair with both hands. If you do this, the braid will turn out nice and tight.
    • Make sure the longer hair is not getting tangled by running your fingers down the section as you work.
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    Braiding the rest of your hair is the same procedure. Turn your left wrist so that the left side of your hair crosses over the new middle section. [7]

    • Wrap your right forefinger and middle finger around the middle of your head of hair, then grab the left side and twist it behind your ear.
    • Hold the hair in the middle with your left thumb and forefinger.
    • Make sure the braid is being pulled evenly by pulling the sections of hair in both hands tightly as you go.
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    Do what was done in Steps 1 and 2 again. Repeat this process until you've reached the ends of your hair sections. [8]

    • Moving down the length of your hair, cross the right section over the new center, and then the left.
    • As you move along the braid, keep your hair taut.
    • Your braid may become too long as you work your way down your back; if this happens, simply pull your hair over your shoulder and proceed with the braid in front of you.
    • Use a hair tie to secure the bottom. If you wear a hair tie, check to see if it's snug. Pieces of your braid will fall out if it is too loose.


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    Completely brush your hair. This will result in a neat and smooth braid. Since this will reduce tangling, braiding will be easier.

    • If your hair is tangled, you may find it difficult to separate it into sections for a braid.
    • Having smooth hair makes it less likely that your braids will look haphazard.
    • It's important to keep in mind that braiding wet hair or using too much product can damage it. However, if your hair keeps falling out of the braid, dry shampoo may help.
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    To do this, separate a small section of hair from the top of your head's frontal scalp. [9] Gather the hair on top of your head with a hair pick or comb.

    • The French braid is more involved than a standard braid because it begins at the crown of the head and gradually incorporates hair from the rest of the head as it descends the braid.
    • This initial piece should cover your entire head, beginning at the temples and ending at the crown.
    • To part this area of hair, you can use your thumbs to pull hair along the side of your head, starting at the temples and working your way back.
    • Putting this strand of hair behind your ear will help keep it out of your face and looking great.
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    Separate the front area of your head so it can be braided. Divide your hair into three sections, and then hold each section above your head.

    • Keep the index finger between the pieces you have in your hands as you hold one in one hand and two in the other.
    • Holding two pieces in your left hand while holding one in your right can be very useful.
    • Get a good grip on the three parts.
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    You can now start your braid. To begin, you'll want to flip the right half over the middle.

    • In the same way as a regular braid, bring the left half across the middle.
    • In this step, you will begin your braid. It should look like a traditional braid and start up near your temples.
    • To ensure an even and snug braid, pull the sections tight.
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    Braiding on the right side must be continued. To do this, divide your hair into sections and add small pieces to the appropriate one.

    • Take a small piece of hair from your right side of the head, just below the braid.
    • The new hair should be added to the section of hair in your right hand. Then, drape this side of hair over the top of your head.
    • To keep the braid clearly defined and evenly tensioned, pull the section tight at the end of each cross over.
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    Maintain the left side of your braid. The procedure for this is identical to the one employed on the right.

    • Grab a sliver of hair from the back of your head, below your braid, on the left side. The size and shape of this piece should match that of the piece you took from the right.
    • Include it with the locks in your left hand.
    • Wrap it around the middle of your hair.
  7. 7

    Alternate between the left and right sides in this manner. Gather more hair before you begin crossing it into your braid.

    • Doing so makes use of the hair that isn't already part of the braid, making for a more uniform braid.
    • Separate the hair on each side of your head evenly. Then your back braid will be nice and even and straight.
    • Your hair should be parted down the middle, and the braid should extend all the way back to your neck.
    • If your hair is particularly long, you should detangle it as you go by running your fingers down each section.
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    Wear the rest of your hair in a braid. Once you've divided your hair into three sections and added the remaining strands from the crown to the nape of your neck, you can braid it like a traditional braid.

    • If you run out of hair while braiding, just secure the last few strands with a hair tie.
    • In order to finish a braid on long hair, you must bring it over the shoulder.
    • Change up this braid in different ways. To create pigtail french braids, part your hair in two at the crown with a hair pick.
    • You can also create a side braid that starts at your part and winds down your head. Specifically, this is what is known as a french lace braid.
  9. 9



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    Take your time and properly brush your hair. By doing so, tangles can be avoided and braiding is simplified. [10]

    • Longer hair is ideal for this braid style. This braid requires longer hair, but if you don't have any, you can always use extensions.
    • Before beginning the braid, make sure your hair is smooth and free of any knots.
    • To complete this step, grab a regular brush or comb.
    • When you're just starting out, a side fishtail braid is a good option because it's less complicated. The complex design makes it challenging to pull off behind someone's back if you aren't already familiar with the process.
  2. 2

    Separate your hair into halves. Make a deep side part in your hair using a hair pick or comb, dividing your hair into two sections at the nape of your neck. [11]

    • To ensure a uniform appearance in your braid, it is important to maintain consistent section sizes.
    • As an option, you can brush through each of these parts until the hair is sleek and organized.
    • When compared to French and traditional braids, which divide the hair into three sections, this method is unique.
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    Start braiding. For this type of braid, you will separate your hair into small sections, pulling about half an inch of hair from the perimeter of each section. [12]

    • To do this, pull out a small section of hair from the front, outside of the right side of your head.
    • You can part this smaller piece of hair from the larger one on the right using your index finger.
    • Take this shorter piece of hair and wrap it around the larger piece of hair on the right, then tuck it behind the left.
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    Turn to the left and repeat the process. Both the left and right halves need to be held in your left hand and right hand, respectively. [13]

    • Once you've joined the individual ends of the outer strands together, you'll have just two strands left.
    • Don't rush this braid for the best results. Instead, proceed slowly and carefully so as not to lose the finer hair strands.
    • In contrast to traditional braids, in which three strands are held steady at all times, this one only requires two pieces, which you hold steady while you create the third strand. [14]
    • Use thinner strands of hair for a more complex braid.
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    Carry on with the braiding process after completing the previous one. Flip the card over as you go. [15]

    • Traverse the thin, right-hand edge closest to your face and merge it into the main body.
    • Join this section to the one you're holding in your left hand.
    • Just cut across the thin left side and into the thick of things.
    • Combine this narrow left side with the broad right one.
    • Take care to snug up the strands. This is the best way to guarantee a neat and tidy braid.
    • Braid your hair until it's completely done.
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    Braid your hair and then use an elastic to hold the end in place. A thicker, colored variety is available, but small, clear elastics work fine too. [16]

    • As a final touch, give the braid some texture by gently stretching out the braided sections so they look fuller. [17]
    • Take care not to loosen the braid too much, or strands will start to fall out.
    • If you want your braid to look more unkempt, run your fingers along it and pull out a few strands to make it look like it's floating. [18]


Question New
  • Question

    How do you braid your own hair into a French braid?

    Laura Martin
    Asserted by: Laura Martin
    Certified Beauty Expert
    Cosmetologist in the state of Georgia, Laura Martin holds a valid license. As of 2013, she has also been teaching cosmetology in addition to her work as a hair stylist since 2007.
    Laura Martin

    You can help wikiHow out by allowing access to this premium response from an acknowledged expert.

    Incorporating your own hair into a French braid can be challenging. You'll be using the same technique as when performing the procedure on another person; however, you'll be working in an area where you have limited visibility and will have to rely instead on feel. For a smoother, more professional look, keep your hands close to the scalp.
  • Question

    Is braiding bad for your hair?

    Laura Martin
    A. Martin, Laura
    A Qualified Professional in the Beauty Industry
    Georgia has recognized Laura Martin as a qualified cosmetologist. Since 2007, she's worked as a hair stylist, and as of 2013, she's also taught the trade.
    Laura Martin
  • Question

    What are the steps to making a fishtail braid?

    Laura Martin
    Martin, Laura
    Certified Beauty Expert
    The state of Georgia has officially recognized Laura Martin's expertise in the beauty industry. Since 2007, she's worked as a hair stylist, and since 2013, she's taught the trade.
    Laura Martin

    Please help wikiHow out by paying to view this carefully curated expert response.

    To create a fishtail braid, part the hair down the middle and peel off small sections from each side to add to the other side. It's most aesthetically pleasing if the cuts are made from the perimeter.
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Ndeye Anta Niang

Written in conjunction with:

Curator of Hair and Expert Braider

Ndeye Anta Niang helped write this article. New York City-based hair stylist Ndeye Anta Niang is also the master braider and founder of the mobile braiding salon AntaBraids. Box braids, Senegalese twists, crochet braids, faux dread locs, goddess locs, kinky twists, and lakhass braids are just some of the African hairstyles that Ndeye has mastered over the course of her 20 years of experience. Ndeye is the first woman from her African tribe to settle in the United States, and she is teaching the art of African braiding to the younger generations. So far, this article has been viewed 1,526,059 times.

Co-authors: 44

Updated: Friday, October 25, 2022

Views:  1,526,059

Categories: Braids

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