The Editors
Updated on January 17, 2024

Learning how to French braid is like learning how to ride a bicycle: once you master this essential skill, you will easily use this pretty and practical hairstyle for any occasion. If you still don’t know how to French braid your own hair, we are here to correct this wrong.

Follow the video tutorial to learn how to make one, double and front French braid and read on for more hacks and visual guides:

Prep Your Hair for Braiding

You must have heard the idea that you need greasy hair to be able to braid it. There is some truth to it, as shampoo day hair is (hopefully) very soft and sleek and will slide from your hands while braiding. However, you should not necessarily wait for hair to become greasy to French braid your own hair; just spray it with a hairspray or texture spray to make it more obedient.

If your hair is fine and straight, tease your hair to get more volume at the roots: working in sections, insert the comb into your hair about an inch away from your scalp and push it down. Then, gently brush and smooth the top layers so that they have no visible tease.

If you plan a braided hairstyle for a special occasion, consider crimping your hair or getting some hair extensions to get a thick and voluminous French braid.

How to French Braid on Yourself

Those who already know how to do French braids make the process seem super easy – you just grab new hair at the sides and braid with it, they say. If you are a beginner, such a recommendation may drive you crazy, as it seems impossible to hold and grab new hair at the same time.

Let’s break down how to put your fingers to the best use:

  • You may hold three strands keeping one strand between your index finger and a thumb, and the other two – in your fist (let them lie in the loop between the index finger and a thumb and secure them by pressing a middle finger, a ring finger, and a little finger, or just one little finger if you find it more comfortable).
  • To cross the strands and place the side strand from one hand to another, let your index finger work as a hook to grab onto it and pull it to the center (you may bend the index finger to hold the stand or use three fingers and hold your strands as you would hold a pen). Then, let loose the strand that was in the middle.
  • You do not need to hold the side strand, to which you will add new hair from the sides; you can let it fall and blend with the rest of your hair. Thus, use your thumb as a tail comb to separate an even chunk from the side to add it to your braid. Let it rest in your fist while you grab an opposite side stand with your index finger. That’s when you can release the middle strand that it left, getting a free hand to repeat the same process from another side.
Woman Showing How to French Braid Your Own Hair

Train the process of placing strands from one hand to another and grabbing new hair from the sides several times. Then, train to create the most popular French braid hairstyles we describe step-by-step below.

One French Braid Tutorial

A single French braid is timeless; however, the latest trend is to keep it a bit loose, pulling at the sections while braiding. After you learn how to French braid, making it tighter or looser won’t be a problem.

Loose French Braid Hairstyle

So, here is how you do this step by step:

Step 1: Take a chunk of hair at the front of your head and separate it into three strands.

Step 2: Cross them as in a classic braid once, placing the side strands over the middle one.

Step 3: Continue braiding, adding new hair from the sides to the side strand before crossing it over.

Step 4: When you reach the nape of your head, gently pull at the sections to loosen the braid. Then, continue braiding a classic three-strand braid with the remaining hair.

Step 5: When you reach the tips, secure the braid with an elastic and pull at the lower sections to loosen them too.

Pro tips: Hold your hands very close to your scalp for the braid to be even and not fall apart. Another mistake is to start the braid as a half-up, half-down hairstyle: you do not need to grab hair from the sides into the first chunk you separate.

French Braid Step by Step Tutorial

French Braid Pigtails Tutorial

French braid pigtails make a comeback now, with many celebrities embracing the hairstyle during the quarantine. Whether you choose to wear double braids as a baldly cute hairstyle to work, the way to blend graying hair in transition, or a protective hairstyle to wear at home, it might be the best time to learn how to do French braid pigtails on yourself.

Pigtail French Braids Hairstyle

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Make an even middle parting all across your head. Secure one part with an elastic or a clip: you will start working on it only after you finish braiding the first braid. You may separate the face-framing pieces from the very beginning too; if your pigtails are tights, you will not be able to pull them without ruining the hairstyle.

Step 2: Take the front chunk of hair and separate it into three strands. Then, cross them as in a classic braid once, placing the side strand over the middle one.

Step 3: Continue braiding, adding new hair from the sides to the side strand before crossing it over.

Step 4: Braid close to your ear. When you reach the nape and have no hair to add in, there is no need to hold your hand up anymore; bring it to the front and continue braiding a classic three-strand braid with the remaining hair.

Step 5: Secure the braid with an elastic and pull at the sections if you want them to look looser and more voluminous.

Step 6: Repeat the same process to braid a similar French braid at the other side of your head.

Pro tips: You may start with a small section and have a pigtail braid that starts with the intervening of thin strands; or, take a bigger chunk (like we did), and the braid will look as if it actually starts at the top, not already at the front of your hair. Whatever style you prefer, make sure this first chunk is directed diagonally from the beginning of your middle parting. Hold your hands very close to your scalp to make the braid tight and even.

Pigtail French Braids Step by Step Tutorial

Front French Braid with a Low Bun Step by Step

Another popular way to French braid on yourself is braiding a front French braid. You can use it to hide the bangs or pull the hair away from your face. After you make a front French braid, you can pin it under your hair, bring it up to the high ponytail, or pin it next to the low bun, as featured below.

Front French Braid into a Low Bun Hairstyle

Here is a step-by-step tutorial that will help you create the hairstyle:

Step 1: Separate about an inch of your hair from the side parting to the opposite ear. Clip the rest of your hair for it not to interfere while braiding.

Step 2: Take the section that is closest to the side parting and separate it into three strands. Then, cross the side strands over to the middle as in a traditional braid.

Step 3: Continue braiding, moving to the side and adding new hair to the side strand before crossing it over into the middle.

Step 4: When you have no more hair to feed in, finish by braiding a traditional three-strand braid. Pull the loops to the sides and secure the end with an elastic.

Step 5: Create a low ponytail out of the remaining hair. Pull at your hair a bit to add volume; then, pin the end of your braid to the ponytail base.

Step 6: Twist the ponytail into a bun and secure it with an elastic and bobby bins. Then pull it to the sides to add volume and intended messiness. Style the front pieces to add a finished look to the hairstyle.

Front French Braid and a Low Bun Step by Step Tutorial

The first try to make a French braid may not be your best one – the strands may fall loose and the unwanted loops near the nape may appear. Don’t get discouraged – practice makes perfect! The secret is to grasp your hair firmly and braid it tight even if you aim at a loose braided hairstyle.

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