The Everyday French Braid Tutorial

The french braid was my ultimate childhood hairstyle. I coveted them when I saw them walking the halls of my elementary school and was privy to them only on occasions such as dance recitals or wedding receptions. My mom didn’t know how to french braid, so she would take me to the local salon on such occasions. The french braids of my youth were tight, rigid and designed to stay in for 2-3 days. Finally, my mom taking a note from the “teach a man to fish parable”, bought me a DIY braid book that I instantly began studying in order to master my own french braid. I have memories of being in the back of the mini van with a laser sharp focus to each step on the page. This tutorial here is not the french braid of my youth.

This everyday french braid tutorial is everything you want in a summer hairstyle. It’s easy, looks effortless and is pulled off your next and from you face.

Step 1: If you have super fine, straight hair like I do, give it a little texture with hairspray and some backcombing. If you’re not familiar with backcombing, simply hold up sections of hair and take a comb or a brush and brush the hair down towards the scalp.

Step 2: Find three small, even sections of hair. There will be a left section, a center section, and a right section. I don’t like my hair pulled straight back, so I left my side part and started mine just below the crown of my head.

Step 3: Holding the center and right sections in my right hand and the left section in my left hand, I cross the right section over the center. I carefully take all three sections of hair, each still separated by a finger in my right hand (see image below). I use my left pointer finger to add a small section of hair to the existing left section of hair and then cross it over the center section.

Step 4: To repeat this for the right side, I carefully take all three sections of hair into my left hand and use my right index finger to take a small section of hair from the right side of my head and add it to the right most section of hair then cross it over the middle section. Repeat these two steps back and forth, alternating side to side, until all of the hair has been added to the braid.

Step 5: Once all of the hair has been incorporate into the braid, at the nape of your neck you will have all of your hair divided into three strands. Finish your french braid with a simple three strand braid.

Step 6: Secure the end of the braid with a rubber band. (I think this next step is the most important of all!) Carefully pull at the strands of the three strand braid to make them looser and appear fuller.

Step 7: I added pearl clips for a little something extra! (Here’s a whole round up of our favorite hair clips.)

Photography by Katie Jameson

(Top by Madewell)

  1. I love those little clips! I can actually dutch braid my hair better than a french braid which I find slightly odd since people say a dutch braid is harder.

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    • Jen Pinkston


      Oh that’s so interesting! We always called those inside out braids growing up!

  2. p.S. I also don’t see those clips in your original post

    • Jen Pinkston


      So these ones were an option you could select on the landing page for those other pearl clips, but they’re not available anymore! So sad because I love them!