Many mothers would love to braid their daughter’s hair into beautifully intricate, feminine styles but shy away from, what they feel, is a daunting task. Braiding has been used by women for thousands of years as a way to keep hair neat, out of the face and generally, out of the way. This can be an especially functional hairstyle for school aged, young girls. In the elementary school classroom, children finger paint, have water tables, run on the playground and can have rest time right beside a child with lice. Hair that’s braided stays clean, neat and free of “hitchhikers” and if you follow the steps in this article, can be quite an easy and even enjoyable task.
The first step to braiding is to NOT do it on clean, dry hair. Dry, freshly washed hair will pop out of the braid, literally, as soon as you put it in. The key is to braid wet hair, whether it’s clean or dirty. If the hair is clean, spray it with hairspray or smooth in a silicone hair product. The main idea is to keep the hair heavy to avoid fly-aways. The 3 braids below are in order of difficulty, easiest to hardest.
This braid is non-traditional in that it only involves 2 strands of hair rather than 3. As it’s name implies, this braid begins at the temple and continues down the recipient’s hairline to the nape of the neck. Begin with one 2 inch section of hair beside the ear. Divide the hair into 2 sections and keep separated. (Let’s call them section 1 and section 2) While holding these apart with one hand, take your other hand and grasp a 1 inch section of hair from the hairline, add to section 1 and then twist over section 2. You should still be holding 2 pieces of hair with your first hand Again, take another 1 inch section of hair, lower this time, from the hairline and add it to section 1 and then twist it over section 2. You will continue to take pieces of hair from the hairline, adding them to section 1 and then twisting them over section 2. Continue until you reach the nape of the neck, hold down with a clip and do the Temple Braid down the other side of the face. When both sides of the face have been braided, you can secure the 2 braids into a pony tail or bun at the nape of the neck.
Basic French Braid
At the crown of the head, take a large section of hair, approximately 4 inches wide, divide into 3 sections: left, middle and right. Cross the left piece over the middle and then cross the right piece over the middle and they will essentially switch places. This is a basic braid, for a french braid we are going to be bringing sections of hair from the sides of hairline and continually adding them to the original braid down the middle we just started. While still grasping the original middle braid, take a piece of hair from the left side of the face, add to the left piece of the braid and cross it over the middle then take a piece of hair from the right side of the face and add it to the right piece of the braid then cross it over the middle. Continue this all the way down the back of the head. Secure at the end of the braid with an elastic.
A rope braid looks absolutely intricate and exactly like a heavy duty rope. It is fairy easy but the hair definitely needs to have some gel or silicone applied before hand to keep frays from occurring. Pull the hair into a low ponytail and divide pony into 3 sections: left, middle and right. While holding the left and middle pieces in your left hand, use your fingers on your right hand to twist the right piece to the right. Twist until the section is fairly taut. Take that piece and pull it over the middle and left pieces until it becomes the new left piece. Now take the new right piece and twist it with your fingers to the right until taut, then take it and pull it all the way to the left and make it the new left piece. Continue this all the way down but ALWAYS twist the right piece to the right. The rope braid will only work this way. Secure at the end of the rope braid with an elastic.
Please see the attactched pictures and websites to get an idea of what each of these braids looks like. The key with braids is to practice and practice often. The more you try your hand at braiding, the better you will get. Good luck and happy braiding!