The Editors
Updated on February 23, 2024

Looking for that pretty, complicated braid you’ve seen but can’t quite decipher? We’ve got you covered. The four strand braid, while intricate, is super easy to do once you get the hang of it. Tips and how-to’s are sprinkled.

First of all, let`s define what 4 strand braid types exist. There is a basic 4 part plait, also called flat. It is the easiest to conceptually understand. However, the result of such a 4 piece braid can differ, all depends on the way you interweave the strands during the braiding process. For example, you can make a transverse four strand braid, a chain-like or a slide braid.

The second main type of 4 section braided hairstyles is called a rope plait. It is also surprisingly easy and, compared to the flat braid, has a rounded, 3D effect. And we cannot fail to mention the French four strand braid and its reverse Dutch variation. They are for pros, but practice makes perfect. Be patient, and you will be able to try them as well in a while.

How to Do a Four Strand Braid

In order not to frighten you, we will leave the Dutch and French complicated braids for dessert, and start from a tutorial of a simple flat plait with 4 strands. Piece of cake, just follow the step-by-step guide carefully!

Step 1:

Four-Strand Braid: Step 1

Brush your hair first. Since it is a four strand plait, split it into 4 equal sections.

Step 2:

Four-Strand Braid: Step 2

Take strand 1, bring it under strand 2.

Step 3:

Four-Strand Braid: Step: step 3

Then place it over strand 3.

Step 4:

Four-Strand Braid: Step: step 4

Bring strand 4 over the new strand 3. Do not switch sides.

Step 5:

Four-Strand Braid: Step: step 5

After taking strand 4 over the new strand 3, place it under strand 2. Repeat steps 2-5: take strand 1, place it under strand 2 and over strand 3, then place strand 4 over strand 3 and under strand 2.

Watch the video below for a better understanding how you can master different types of a 4-strand braid:

After you practice with the pattern for a while, you’ll probably want to try to include your 4 strand braid into a new hairstyle. Here are ideas for you.

1. Unique Flat Braid

Because this style can often come out thick and wide, it makes a great flat braid. The main steps for this look are to create a loose side ponytail, separate out hair for the pony wrap, make a simple thin accent braid, and actually complete a braid out of four strands (one of which is already braided).

2. Elegantly Accented Updo

This 4 strand braid makes a pretty headband accent for a full, twisted bun. To create the braid, pull some strands from the hairline. The first strand goes over strand 2 and under strand 3. The fourth strand goes under strand 3 and over strand 2. Just think “over under” then “under over” and repeat.

3. Stunning Side Braid

Probably our favorite side braid ever. Not joking! So, here’s the trick for getting the accent braid in the middle: it has to be strand number 2. Once you make your tiny regular braid and secure it, be sure to position it as strand 2 for the main braid.

4. Creative Four Strand Braids with Twist

With 4 strands, you can still do a lot of your favorite 3 strand fancy hairstyles. So, waterfalls and headband styles will still work. The top 4 strand brand was created first, dropping the bottom initially to incorporate with the next braid and twist below. This is a great option for medium length hair, or when you want your hair down.

5. Four Strand Waterfall Braid

A four strand braid is heavenly when mixed with other types of braids. This one is pretty complicated! Here, we’ve also got a waterfall braid that wraps around and a fishtail braid. For the waterfall plait, you grab strand 1 from the top and drop strand 4 below, while strands 2 and 3 will form the pattern.

6. Headband Accent Braids

If you’re still struggling with how to do a four strand braid, it might be easy to start small, that way you’re not worried about what your whole head of hair looks like. So, make two flat side braids and finish your hairstyle with a messy low bun.

7. Flowing Four Strand Waterfall

This pretty version is really fast to create. The hard part is just getting the tension right, and that takes practice. Strands 1 and 4 are fanned out very loosely, while strands 2 and 3 are kept tight so that they look more like a rope or string.

8. Four Strand Dutch Braid

A 4 strand braid can also be created dutch style, meaning a french braid that pops up. The technique is a little different. You’ll want to cross strand 1 under strand 2, over strand 3, and then under strand 4. Pulling from the other side, you also cross under to start (instead of alternating the direction of each start).

9. Pretty Wrapped Pony Braid

An easy way to learn how to braid 4 strands is to NOT try a french or dutch braid right off the bat. Start with a pony tail, and you’ll have much less work to do! Plus, it looks really cute (especially when you incorporate an accent piece and a pony wrap).

10. Messy Bun Braid Updo

Buns with braids are the cutest hairstyles imaginable (whether for a prom party, a night out or just a normal day). Adding a four strand in the mix just takes it over the top. To get the braid that pops out and hide the incorporation of the top pieces, do it dutch style.

11. Four Strand Crown Braid

This four strand braid has an accent in a lighter color. Some options are to find a highlight that you have and braid it, or, if you have no highlights, you can add in a ribbon or a thin silk headscarf. Then create the braid with loose tension on the big sections of hair and tight tension on the accent.

12. Wavy Bohemian Braid

Four stranded braids have an easy, bohemian appeal, especially when braided loosely. This braid was fanned out every step of the way to create really cute, intricate loops. For easy breezy styling, curl or wave the rest of your hair. Such fancy hairstyles look especially amazing with flowy dresses!

13. Four Stranded Low Pony

While this style for girls looks pretty complicated, it shouldn’t take too long since the top braid is small. To make it easier, separate the hair at the hairline that you’ll work with and put the rest of your hair in a bun or clip out of the way.

14. Florette and Side Braid

If a 4 strand braid just isn’t enough for you, then go all out by adding a florette, which is formed by pulling up on a loose braid so it curves. For this look, you need to divide and conquer. First make the accent braid, then the full long braid, and then the florette.

15. Tucked Under Braided Updo

Four stranded updos can be as funky or sleek as you want. This style is suitable for a formal night out. Create a french braid with four strands, leaving out some wisps to curl in the front. Complete the braid and secure, tucking under and pinning in place.

16. Chic Updated Mod

For a sixties mod look that has an updated take on retro, add a four strand headband braid around the base of the bouffant. The bun is optional.

17. Low Headband Braid

This hairstyle with 4 strand braid plaiting is pretty easy to create. Part hair in the middle or in a shallow side part. Then create two four strand braids that pull from the hairline. Continue each to the nape, one at a time, and then secure together.

18. Four Strand Messy Updo

To get the beautiful updo you see in this photo, you’ll need to braid hair across the nape. Start at one ear with four large sections of hair, then braid across, continuing to add in large sections of hair all the way around. To make sure the look stays in place, braid with a tight tension and later pull at the loops to fan them out.

19. Side Headband Braid and Messy Bun

This pretty messy side bun shows off face-framing highlights with a four strand braid. The accent is made from a regular three strand braid, so be sure to create that first and position it as the second strand in your 4 strand plait. You can then keep the tension loose with the other three sections as you are braiding.

20. Dutch Four Strand Braids

Two 4 strand braids that criss cross in the very beginning is an interesting idea of a hairstyle for every day. This style is great for showing off thick, full hair.

Now that you’ve been inspired by our favorite four strand braids, you understand that this is not a set look, but actually a really versatile style. You can basically do whatever you want with it and mix it with just about any other hairstyle. Have fun!

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