Braided styles are a trendy way to show off your individual style, but many women struggle to braid their own hair. For beginners, intricate braids may look intimidating, but with our expert tips and tricks you'll be able to tackle all types of braids with ease. Check out our top 6 favorite types of braids and you'll be braiding like a pro in no time.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Braids
Many women love the look of braided hairstyles but don't know how to replicate the look themselves. Next time you're in the mood for an elegant braid, follow our essential tips and tricks to perfect any type of braid you can imagine.
Learn the Basics
First things first, you'll need to know how to do a standard 3-strand braid, as this is the backbone of most braided styles. To do this, pick up a chunk of hair and split it into 3 even pieces. Begin the braid by crossing the left section under the middle section, then cross the right section over the middle section and continue this process until you've reached the end of your hair. Once you know the basic mechanics of a braid, you'll be ready to move onto more intricate styles.
Keep Your Sections Clean
Clean, even partings and sections are the key to a flawless-looking braid. Unless you're going for a boho chic style, you're going to want to make sure you have a rat tail comb on hand while you're braiding to keep flyaways tamed and your hair smooth. As you're braiding your hair, you'll want to ensure that your hair remains smooth and free of tangles for the cleanest finished look. This is especially important when you are doing a French or Dutch braid from the scalp to ensure they come out smooth and sleek.
Go Slow at First
While you may be tempted to rush through your braid, have the patience to slowly and deliberately move through your sections for the best-looking braids. This is especially important for beginners since you won't have the dexterity yet to quickly and accurately braid your hair. Remember, practice makes perfect, so be sure to practice the correct mechanics to build the dexterity you need to give yourself flawless braids with ease.
Step Away from the Mirror
While it may seem counterintuitive to avoid looking in the mirror, for beginners, it can help you learn the mechanics of braiding more easily. In the mirror, your motions become inverted, which can cause confusion when you're braiding. It is easy to confuse your sections and cross over the wrong sections when you're looking in the mirror, so try practicing the movements without watching yourself closely in the mirror when you're just starting out.
Fake Fullness and Volume
For those of you who have thinner hair, you can fake voluminous hair by lightly teasing your hair prior to braiding it. This trick is especially helpful at giving you big, bombshell crown braids. You can also spray in some dry shampoo or texturizing spray as you're braiding to give your hair more grip and texture as you're braiding it.
6 Different Types of Braids to Try Today
There are so many types of braids to try, the possibilities are endless! Check out our top 6 favorite types of braids to try out on you or a friend today.
1. French Braid
French braids are a timeless classic that adds instant elegance to your hair. Also known as "invisible braids," French braids can be incorporated into up-dos, or styled on their own, either in the middle or on both sides of your head.
To do a French braid, begin by taking a large section of hair from the top of your head at your hairline. Since you will be incorporating hair slowly into the braid, either begin in the middle of your head to do a single French braid, or in the middle of your first section if you are doing 2 French braids.
After gathering your first section, split it into 3 even pieces then take the left side, cross it over the section and combine it with the right side. Then, take the right side and cross it over the middle. Begin incorporating more hair by adding a piece of hair from the hairline of the right side, combining it with the current right piece and crossing it over the middle to the left side. Repeat the process on the left side and until you reach the nape of your neck to finish the braid.
Don't worry if your braid doesn't look like it's coming together at first, it will take about 4 to 5 sections for you to see the braid taking shape since French braids are inverted Dutch braids and don't sit on top of the hair.
2. Dutch Braid
Dutch braids are sleek, modern braids that can be used in a variety of different looks. This is the braiding technique used to achieve cornrows and can be a great face-framing addition to up-dos and half-up styles.
For a trendy Dutch braid style, split your hair down the middle for 2 Dutch braids on either side. To begin the braid, pick up a section of hair from the hairline in the middle of your section. Then, split the braid into 3 even sections and begin the braid by crossing the left section under the middle section. Then, cross the right section under the middle section.
Begin adding hair by picking up a piece of hair on the left side, incorporating it into the left piece and crossing both pieces under the middle section. Repeat this process on the right side and until you get to the nape of your neck to finish the braid.
3. Waterfall Braid
Waterfall braids add a whimsical flair to your hair and look amazing paired with cascading curls or waves. While waterfall braids look tricky, if you have mastered the French braid, you should be able to do a waterfall braid with ease.
To begin a waterfall braid, start by taking a section of hair at the front of your hair where you'd like your braid to begin and split it into 3 even pieces. From there, you will take the strand farthest away from your face and cross it over the middle. Then take the strand closest to your face and cross it over the middle.
Begin incorporating hair into the braid by adding a small section of hair to the back section, then cross this new piece over the middle. Drop the front piece or clip it away to avoid confusion as these dropped pieces are what will create the waterfall effect. After you do this, take a small section behind the front section you just dropped and cross it over to the back and repeat the process until you have finished your waterfall braid.
4. Fishtail Braid
Of all the different types of braids we've gone over, fishtail braids are by far the easiest to achieve. These braids are the perfect accessory to a carefree, boho chic outfit and are incredibly beginner-friendly.
To begin a fishtail braid, pick up the section of hair you want to braid and split it into 2 even pieces. From there, you will take a small section on the outside of the right section and cross it under the middle to join with the left side. Then, take a small piece on the outside of the left section and cross it over to the right side. Continue this process until you complete your braid. The smaller the sections you take, the more intricate your braid will look.
5. Halo Braids
Halo braids are a beautiful and elegant style that give off strong Greek goddess vibes and add instant sophistication to any outfit. These braids are done using the Dutch braid method, beginning at the nape of your neck and continuing all the way around your head to create a halo effect.
To begin a halo braid, start at either the nape of your neck and begin Dutch braiding your hair up and around your hairline, continuing until you have created a complete circle around your head with the braid. Braid the remaining hair and secure it onto your head with a bobby pin to finish your halo braid.
6. 3-D Braid
3-D braids look amazing on a long, high ponytail and will make you instantly feel like Wonder Woman. Of all the different types of braids we've gone over, the 3-D braid is by far the most complicated, but don't let that intimidate you! With a little practice, you'll be able to tackle this braid like a pro in no time.
To begin, split your hair into 4 even sections. Then, pull the outer right strand over the inner right strand and under the inner left strand. Then, take the outer left strand and weave it under the inner left strand and over the inner right strand. This is how you will begin the braid. Repeat this process until you have completed your braid. Make sure you take your time with this braid when you are just getting started, as all the different sections may confuse you at first.
Braided styles will give your hair an instant makeover, and by following our tips and tricks you can accomplish all types of braids with ease. Whether you like fun and flirty fishtail braids, or trendy and edgy 3-D braids, you can now put all of your newfound braiding skills to the test on your next night out.
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