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The French braid is hardly new, but it seems that this style only grows in popularity with each passing year. Whether it’s inspired by TV characters (we’re looking at you, Daenerys Targaryen) or just an ongoing need for a pretty hairstyle, the French braid remains a go-to for women everywhere.
Here, stylist Liana Zingarino of New York’s Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon gives you step-by-step instructions for how to French-braid your hair like a pro.
1. Prep Your Hair.
“Begin by smoothing hair, using a blow dryer and large round brush,” Zingarino says. This creates a smooth surface that’ll be easier to handle and braid. Note: You can totally leave your hair as-is if you like the look of your natural texture.
2. Begin at the Front.
“Start by brushing all hair to the back of the head,” she says. “Next, take an inch-wide section, right where a middle part would land, and separate into three strands. Weave the right strand over the middle strand, and then the left strand over that strand to create a three-strand braid.”
This is the process you’ll continue, but with one small change …
3. Continue Down the Back.
“Next, continue as before, but before you cross the right side section over the middle section, pick up a quarter-inch strand of hair directly next to the right-side strand and add it in as you cross the hair over the center strand,” she says. “Repeat on the left side, adding an additional quarter-inch strand of hair to the strand on the left before crossing it over the middle strand. This process should be continued all the way down to the nape.”
Adding an additional strand each time you cross the side piece over the center is apparently what makes the braid “French,” you see. If you find it hard to handle all of the moving parts, it takes some getting used to! Just try and keep all three strands pulled taut the entire time in one hand, and use your other hand to incorporate the extra new piece each time you cross one side over the center.
4. Finish the Tail.
“Once all hair is in the braid and no additional hair can be pulled from the side, continue a regular three-strand braid all the way to the end of your hair. Finish by securing with an elastic.”
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