How To French Braid Your Hair In Just 7 Steps

Photo: Svetography / Shutterstock
woman with a french braid

If you're looking to finally dedicate the time to learn how to French braid your own hair, you're in luck!

This step-by-step guide shows you just how to finally get the French braid down and help you if you get stuck. Now, grab your hair tie, brush, and let's get started!

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How To French Braid Your Own Hair

1. Brush out any kinks or knots.

If you're trying to get into the groove of French braiding your own hair, it's important to make sure you're tangle-free.

Aside from brushing your hair to get it prepped, you can shower and wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner (I typically use the Green Coconut & Activated Charcoal shampoo and conditioner by SheaMoisture).

It can be tough if you're braiding your own hair when it's knotted because your fingers will get intertwined in your hair and it can be a little discouraging. But if you brush your hair through, removing all the knots and kinks, you're totally ready to get started.

2. Section off your hair.

The key to getting a great French braid to look good is to make sure your hair is smooth and not full of knots. Rework this part of your hair several times until it's completely smooth.

Once you're happy with how your hair feels, section it off. This step is important! If your hair looks messy and ratted at the crown of your head, your braid will mimic that and look out of place.

Divide the top part into three small sections of hair as if you're about to do a three-strand braid.

3. Start braiding.

Start a regular braid by crossing the right strand over the middle strand, then the left strand over the middle strand. Or, cross one outer piece over the inner piece, then the other outer piece over the inner piece.

This part is the hardest part when learning how to French braid your own hair. You need to slide your index finger under a section of hair and add it every time you cross the middle section or hair.

The braid will work as if you're doing a regular braid, except you just add more hair in as you go. Continue like this until you get to the nape of your neck.

It's easiest to not look in the mirror at your reflection, instead closing your eyes so you can picture your hands sectioning off your hair behind your head. There are a ton of distractions that can catch your eye when trying to do a quick braid, and it may not turn out right.

So, just close your eyes and focus on the task at hand.

4. Brush as you go.

If your hair is on the longer side, it's best to brush it with your fingers as you pull a strand of hair over one another. Take as long as you need to go down your head.

If you're on the hunt for something to make your hair smooth and easier to work with, the Amika Hair Primer makes all the difference when it comes to combating those pesky knots.

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5. Pull it tight.

As you're bringing one section of hair over the other, remember to keep a good grip on the hair.

Another great tip is to make sure you're pulling your hair tight (not hurting yourself, of course) to help the braid keep its shape and not become loose throughout the day.

If you're braiding your hair wet, this will also give the appearance of beachy waves when you let your hair down for the day after it has dried.

6. Smooth out any flyaways.

As you make your way down your head, be sure to swipe your hand over the back of your neck and make sure you're not missing any lingering hairs.

When you have flyaways like this, it's much easier to add them into the mix rather than going back in after-the-fact and weaving it into the braid.

7. Bring the braid around to the front.

Finally, take the braid all the way down your back. It's easier to bring it around your shoulder and open your eyes to make it easier on your arms.

Sometimes, if you bring it around your shoulder too early, you will notice the braid shifting towards the side. Just be sure you can't go any further down the braid before switching it over. This will give you a nice clean finish.

To finish off, you can spray some hairspray in your hair to keep the baby hairs out of your face. This will also help hold your braid in place as you go about your day.

If you're braiding your hair while it's wet, don't be afraid to throw in a great hair treatment to help give your hair a boost!

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Shelby Slaughter is a freelance writer, entertainment reporter, news anchor, and multimedia journalist. Her writing has been featured in Martha Stewart, HelloGiggles, Business Insider, Byrdie, InStyle, and more.