A Quick Guide To Braid Hairstyles
Braids never go out of style and as a hairdo, it always makes you look fresh – whether you’re working out at the gym or rushing around town attending meetings. Here’s why braids work for troubled tresses, plus, a how-to rundown on popular styles like the box braid and the Dutch braid.
Braids – the perfect protective ‘do
When you braid hair, strands and ends are tucked away. This means that even though your hair is exposed to elements like friction and humidity, it’s less likely to be damaged.
The right foundation for braids
The key to any hairstyle starts with making sure that your hair is in good condition – you’ll have a hard time pulling off a braid when you’re fighting frizzy or damaged hair.
It’s also worth remembering that braid hairstyles tend to pull on your hair and scalp, which means that it is important to ensure your scalp is healthy.
So before you attempt these braids, choose a shampoo that’s designed to care for both your hair and scalp, so you can show off your new style in the best way possible.
Familiarising yourself with the basic braid will help you pick up other braid hairstyles, with ease, such as the Dutch braid, as it incorporates the same fundamental steps while taking in smaller strands of hair to give the appearance of ‘tighter’ and ‘smaller’ braids.
How to braid hair:
- Gather your hair into a ponytail and divide the ponytail into three equal sections: left, centre, right.
- Cross the right strand over the centre so that the right strand is now in the centre.
- Next, cross the left strand over the centre strand, making it the new centre strand.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you reach the ends of your hair. Secure with a hair tie. Voila! You now have a finished hair braid!
A classic style, the Dutch braid is known by many names, including the “reverse French braid” (a French braid is a straightforward three-strand braid where you add in hair to each section as you form the braid). In fact, the techniques for the two braids are exactly the same, except that for the Dutch braid, you cross the strands under, not over. If you’ve got shorter hair, consider doing a double Dutch braid instead.
How to do a Dutch braid:
- Cross the right strand under the center strand.
- Cross the left strand under the center strand (which was the right strand originally).
- The strand of hair that was originally in the center will now be hanging to the side; gather this strand with some underlying hair, and begin the procedure again.
- Once your braid reaches the nape of your neck, you can continue braiding the leftover hair strands, before securing your braid with a hair tie.
A classic and timeless style, the French braid is simple to achieve with practice.
How to do a French braid:
Gather enough hair starting from the top of your head and start braiding.
Divide hair into three equal sections, right section in right hand, left in left hand, and the middle section between thumb and another finger of either hand.
- Cross right section over middle section, then repeat with left section, making sure each section is tight so hair doesn’t come loose.
- Add hair to each section as you go along. Before repeating the cross-overs, gather a little extra hair and add it to the sections.
- Continue adding hair and crossing sections until all hair strands are gathered. At the end, complete with a basic braid and secure with a band.
The fishtail braid is great way to keep hair in place and looking stylish all day.
How to do a fishtail braid:
- Decide the section of hair you want to do a fishtail braid with, tie with a band to form a ponytail and to prevent it from unravelling before splitting it in half. Hold a section in each hand.
- Take a small subsection of hair (the smaller the subsection, the more fishtail-like your braid will be) from the outside of the ponytail in your right hand, cross it over the top, and join it with the left section. Do the same with the left section.
- Continue this process till you reach the bottom. Then secure the ends with a hair tie.
The box braid
Named after the box-shaped sections of hair used to create each braid, box braids are commonly used as a protective hairstyle to prevent hair breakage, shedding and tangling. Box braids are also extremely versatile – add personality to your look by sectioning your hair in a different way, adding hair extensions and hair accessories or trying a new braiding technique. The best part? These braids are easy to care for and can be left in for 8 to 10 weeks.
How to do a box braid:
- Start by using the pointed end of a rat tail comb to separate your hair into even box-shaped sections
- Next, braid each section using the three-strand braid technique.
Now that you’ve got the know-how to do braids, try them out for yourself and switch up your look! Be patient though: practice makes perfect.
Whatever look you choose to try, maintaining a healthy scalp is key to feeling confident. When you braid your hair, it also leaves your scalp exposed. This means it’s important to make sure your hair and scalp are 100% dandruff-free by using a shampoo and conditioner with a proven dandruff-fighting formula like Head & Shoulders.
Try Head & Shoulders Supreme Moisture or Supreme Smooth shampoo and conditioner. Made with moisturising Argan Oil, and with long lasting anti-dandruff protection, the Supreme range protects your hair and scalp from the first wash. Nourishing hair from root to tip, it ensures your scalp is healthy and dandruff-free, and you can flaunt your smooth, shiny braids with confidence!