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How To Braid Your Own Hair

how to style a standard braid

I’ll admit, even as a editor and a self-proclaimed guru of all things beauty-related, I’m not the best when it comes to styling my own mane. While I’ve perfected wand curls and the messy bun, I don’t usually stray far from what I already know how to do, especially given my typically hectic schedule.

With my social calendar put on pause and with me working from home for the foreseeable future, however, I’ve used my spare time to seriously step up my styling game—especially when it comes to braided hairstyles.

Thanks to a bit of research (and a few Tik Tok hair tutorials), I’ve discovered tips, tricks, and easy plaited looks to make braiding my own hair easier than ever before. Searching for easy ways to braid your own hair? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know, plus eight of my favorite looks to try.

How do you braid your own hair easily?

Always prep.

You wouldn’t do a full face of makeup without priming your skin first, right? The same goes for styling braids. When it comes to braiding, the way you prep your mane can make or break your final look. Use a boar bristle brush to rid your mane of knots and snarls before you begin braiding.

Before you begin braiding, it’s important to know your hair type and concerns. If you’re dealing with frizz, use a frizz-fighting product like Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Anti-Frizz Serum. This formula absorbs into the hair and manages frizz and smoothness.

If you’re working with thick, plentiful locks or natural curls, apply a dime-size amount of hair gel like Biolage Styling Gelee All Purpose Styling Gel to add body, shine, and control with a firm hold.

Start with day two hair—or fake it.

Freshly shampooed hair tends to slip and slide easily when crafting plaited hairstyles. That’s why we recommend beginning with second-day hair for the best results. If you want to create a braided look fresh out of the shower, the right texturizing products can help you fake day-two strands. Use a texturizing spray like L’Oreal Professionnel Tecni.Art Next Day Hair Dry Finishing Spray to give your hair texture and light hold.

Use hairspray before and after.

Tired of getting halfway through your style, only to discover that you have pieces of hair sticking out? It happens to the best of us—particularly those of us with layers. That’s why we swear by hairspray for keeping the ends of your layers in check. Simply apply a few spritzes of hairspray like Redken Triple Pure 32 Neutral Fragrance Hairspray throughout your hair before and after you complete your style. This will give your strands more grip as you create your braid while also keeping your look in place throughout the day.

Don’t forget to pancake.

Looking to add a bit of volume and fullness to your braid? Try the pancaking technique. Starting at the top of your braid and working your way down, use your thumb and pointer finger to pull the sides of the braid gently. This trick works particularly well if you have fine hair that needs a boost.

Practice, practice, practice!

Learning to braid your own hair is a lot like riding a bike.While you may not get it perfectly on the first try, the more you practice, the better at it you’ll become! Looking for easy braided hairstyles to get you started? Read on for nine of our favorites you can do at home.

The Best Ways To Braid Your Own Hair

Three-Strand Braid

Everyone has to start somewhere, and a classic three-strand braid is the perfect choice for beginners. Cassi Pinder, L’Oreal Professionnel artist and brand ambassador, breaks down how to style a standard braid with ease.

Photo Credit: @blowup_by_laura_e_ilaria

Mini Accent Braid

When you’re learning the ropes of braiding, start small! Take a one-inch section of hair anywhere on your mane and create a three-strand accent braid. Add a bit of texture, and you’ll have a simple, bohemian hairstyle in minutes.

Photo Credit: @helenavazpereira

French Braid Pigtails

Ahh, French braid pigtails, what would we do without you? Whether you’re looking for an easy braid to wear while you’re lounging around the house or practicing for when it’s finally time to go out again, this classic, easy-to-do hairstyle is a staple. Click here for our guide to creating the perfect French braid.

Photo Credit: @smolinstravel

Dutch Braid Pigtails

Think of Dutch braids as reversed French braids. Instead of crossing the three sections over each other like a traditional French plait, you cross them under—it’s that simple!

Reverse Braided Ponytail

Looking to add a little oomph to your basic ponytail? Give a reverse braided ponytail a try. Start by flipping your hair over. Pick up a small section of hair at the nape of your neck and divide it into three even sections. Craft a classic French braid and continue the technique until you reach your crown. Secure the remaining loose hair with a hair elastic or a scrunchie. If you need extra hold, use a few bobby pins and a few spritzes of high-hold hairspray like L’Oreal Professionnel Tecni.Art Infinium 4 High-Hold Hairspray to lock your look in place.

Photo Credit: @ashleyhoffy

Accent Fishtail Braid

Once you’ve got the steps down pat, fishtail braids are super easy to achieve. To create an accent fishtail braid, begin by gathering a 2-inch section of hair on either side of your head. Divide the section into two even segments. Take a small strand from the left half of the hair and pull it over to the right. Then, repeat the process with a piece of hair from your right section. Repeat these steps until you’ve reached your ends. Secure your look with a hair elastic and then pancake your braid to complete the look.

Photo Credit: @saripaints

Half-Up Braid

When it comes to simple braided hairstyles that make an impact, we put half-up ponytails at the very top of our list. From half-up fishtail braids to cornrows, there are tons of ways to make the look yours. If you’re looking for braided half ponytail inspiration, click here for a roundup of some of our favorite looks.

Photo Credit: @braidsbunsandbeauty

Waterfall Braid

If you’re searching for a plaited look that is sure to impress your Instagram followers, look no further than the waterfall braid. A waterfall braid might look intimidating at first, but don’t shy away just yet! Click here for our step-by-step guide to creating the perfect waterfall braid every time.

Half-Up Rope Braid

Gather two, 2-inch sections of hair near your temples and bring them towards the back of your head. Working with one side at a time, split the section into two even segments. Wrap the pieces of hair around each other to create a rope braid. Repeat these steps on the other side and cross both sections over each other to create a half-up look. Then, use bobby pins and a few spritzes of hairspray to hold your look in place.

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