How To French Braid Hair

how to french braid hair
(Photo Credit)

Braiding hair works best when you’ve added styling gel, mousse, or pomade to clean, damp hair. After adding the hair products you will want to

blow dry it and brush it out as smooth as possible. Braiding hair that hasn’t been washed or already has hair products in it will work as well.

Once the hair is ready, here is how you braid it:

  • Begin by separating the hair into three even sections. This works best if the hair is tangle free. Hold the left section between your left index finger and thumb and hold the right section between your right index finger and thumb. Leave the middle section hanging free between the other two sections.
  • Keep a firm grip on
    the left and right sections. With your right middle finger grab the middle section of hair and pull it underneath the right section. The right section now becomes the middle section and the middle section is now the right section. Hold it firmly in your hands.
  • Next, use your left middle finger to grab the middle section and pull it underneath the left section of hair. The middle section has now become the left section and the left section is now the middle section. Pay close attention to the smoothness and tension of the braid as you continue. If hair falls loose, you may have to start from the beginning.
  • Continue this pattern of pulling the hair to the right or left until you achieve the desired braid length. To make the braid tighter and more compact, pull the middle section into a horizontal line as you pull it to the right or left. For a loose, more elongated braid, just continue to shift the middle section from the right to the left and let it remain in a vertical line.

  • Once you have achieved the desired length, tie off the end with a covered rubber band, bow, or barrette.

Braiding the back of your own hair can be a little tricky, though the steps are very similar.

  • It is easiest to style the front of your hair first, including bangs and tendrils. Once that is complete, divide your hair into three even sections.
  • You will want to grab your right and left sections with a thumbs-down fist and leave the middle section hanging over your spine.
  • Extend your left index finger and grab the right section of hair. Pull it across the middle section and release it from your right hand completely. Grab the middle section of hair with your right hand in the thumbs-down fist and pull it to the right.
  • Extend your right index finger and grab the far left section of hair (i.e. the original left section), pulling it over the middle section. Release the left hand hold on it entirely. Grab the middle section with your left hand in the thumbs-down fist. Try to keep the tension as even as possible in all sections for best results.
  • Continue this back and forth process until the braid is complete. Tie off the ends with a covered rubber band, bow, or barrette.

Additional Resources and Further Reading

‘Hair Braiding Basics’ at

‘How to French Braid Hair’ (with video) at

‘How to Braid Hair’ at