How to French Braid Hair

Learn how to French braid hair with this Howcast hair tutorial featuring celebrity hairstylist Jacqueline Bush.


My name is Jacqueline Bush and I'm an editorial in celebrity hairstyles. My clientele has included Faith Hill, Mark Ruffalo, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Krakowski. I want to be able to show you that hair isn't as intimidating or as hard as you think it is and I want you be able to have fun with it and do what your vision is with your hair. So, this is how you do a French braid. What I'm going to show you today is not the stereotypical French braid of just straight back, down the center. While that's great, the style right now is actually a French braid going to the side, French braids going straight back and under. It's a little bit more off center. So, I'm going to show you guys that so you'll know how to apply it better at home. So the first thing I've done is I've actually parted Monica's hair on the side already. I'm going to take a rat tail comb - it's called a rat tail comb because it has the very long tail - and the reason I'm using that is just because I can get a little more control. I'm going to go straight through just about an inch down, but you can make this section however big and small you want. It's not about being super precise. While I think that can look great sometimes - it just depends on your look - but for most people, especially for every day, a little more undone is better than trying to get to look so perfect and just spending so much extra time on it. So now what we're going to do - I'm going to get rid of my rat tail comb - so you guys can see that all you need are your hands. Now Monica's hair has quite a bit of product already so it's very, it's not too soft, it can do exactly what I want it to do, but if you're starting this at home, it's better to start with the hair a little damp, or, you know, if you want it more precise, you'd want to start with it wet or just put even a little hair spray in it, section by section to just get some more control. So I'm going to take my index finger and my middle finger - and I have this about inch thick, probably like two and a half inch long, section of hair - I'm going to take my index finger and my middle finger, and I'm just going to go right through the center so now I have three sections: A, B, C; three sections. I'm going to start with section C and I'm going to take that and put it over the middle section. I swapped that, so now section C is in the middle. Now I'm going to start with section A and put it over our middle section so now section A is in the middle. Now the next step I'm going to do is what makes it a French braid, not just a regular braid: we have this section, the section closest towards her face - I'm going to take that section, plus some additional hair, and I'm going to cross that back over our middle section. Everything gets crossed over the middle section. Now I'm going to do the same thing with this outside piece: I'm going to take a section of hair, I'm going to cross it over our middle section and we have a new middle section. And I'm going to repeat the same action. Now the amount of hair you grab depends on how big you want the French braid to be or how small you want it to be - that's up to you. So you just keep continuing this action for however long you want the braid to be, and I'm just going to continue just until right about here, and I'm just going to pin it underneath her hair. So I'm just going to take a pin and pin that in there. Now if you wanted to you could continue with that all the way around, you could pin it underneath, you could pin it on the side, you could do a lot of different things. So, as you can see, just to show you again, each time I crossed over the center, and from the outer sections I took that additional piece of hair, crossed it over the center, from the outer took the additional piece of hair, crossed it over the center, just taking more and more hair in - that's how the whole thing came together. And the last thing you'd want to do if you wanted to make it a little more undone - you could just pull it out a little bit. I always like to rough up the texture in the front, rough it up along the sides so it matches. That's the key: everything's got to blend. And that's how you get a French braid.

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