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How to Make a French Braid

Learn how to do a French braid from professional hairstylist Joy La Rosa in this Howcast hair tutorial.


We're going to talk a little bit about the differences between traditional French braid and then what I would call a reverse French braid, also known as a Dutch braid or an inside out braid. The main difference is the French braid, when you're braiding the hair all of the braid is inside of the hair and you can just see the seams almost to the braid. With the Dutch braid or the inside out braid, the braid is on the top of the hair. You can see the braid; you can see where it folds under and all of that.

So we're going to start and I'm going to show you how to do just the French braid. The funny thing about it is we all know how to do one type so you may not have ever known that the other existed but it does. So we're broadening our skills. So I'm going to take a section of hair here in the front and we're doing just a French braid so I'm going to break it into three sections. They all start off the same. When you're doing it a French braid what makes it an actually French braid is your outside sections you're actually pulling it over the top of your center section and vice versa. So top goes over, bottom goes over the middle section and you'll do that the whole way. And the bottom will go over the top in the middle and then the top goes over the top of the middle strand. So now I'm going to pick up a little bit of hair here. And I'm going to go over the top of that middle strand. So now you're going to take a section from the top and incorporate it in your top braid and you're going to cross it over the center. So we're just incorporating over the center. Incorporating over the center. Incorporating over the center keeping our braid tight as we go along. Incorporating over the center.

So the reason you would choose to do a traditional French braid would be if you wanted to keep the braid really flat and tight against the side of the head. Sometimes we like to do this if we want to exaggerate the shape another part of the hair style. So maybe you would keep it really flat and then you would have this big toss and play on the other side that would keep this really flat to the head. Or maybe you would have it really flat and then you could kind of do a bouffant, top hat, or something fun with a larger shape. It's just an interesting way to kind of play up shapes. You would also do this type maybe if you wanted to do some smaller braids on the side of the head like cornrows style. Now I've incorporated from the bottom and then over the top of this strand. Last section, over the top of that middle strand, so now I'm out of sections so I will just continue braiding down the hair.

And sometimes when we talk about a French braid or an upside down French braid the biggest way is how you hold your hands and you can see that pretty clearly with how you braid just a regular braid. So I'm going over the top, over the top, over the top. If I were doing the other one it would be underneath and you would really see that clearly. Put a clear rubber band at the top to secure the ponytail. So this is the French braid.

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