The Everyday French Braid Tutorial

The French braid is such a classic hairstyle, and once you know how, it’s easy to do it yourself. Learn how to French braid with this step by step tutorial, for an effortless and chic style.

A French braid with pearl pins

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.

A Relaxed French Braid

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.

A women with a French braid touching the back of the hair

Learn How To Do A French Braid On Yourself

With a little patience and practice, you will be French braiding your own hair in no time with this easy tutorial.

This everyday french braid is everything you want in a hairstyle. It’s easy, looks effortless and is pulled off your neck and from you face. It stays put all day, is practical but looks effortless and at the same time, put together. French braids aren’t just for school girls!

Hair being sprayed with hairspray

How To French Braid Hair – A French Plait Step by Step Picture Tutorial

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.

Back combing the top of the hair with a rounded brush

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.

Braiding the top part of the hair

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.

Hands separating sections of the hair

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.

French braiding the middle of the hair

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.

Making a braid at the bottom of the hair

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.

Teasing the end of the French braid to make it fuller

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

Pearl pins to use in the french braid

French Braids Are Easy When You Know How!

Once you’ve styled a French braid once or twice, it will become second nature – just like riding a bike! French braids are always seen as quite a formal hairstyle, but it’s so easy to make them more relaxed and part of your everyday style.

Hair Accessories For A French Braid

I love the look of these decorative pearl pins, and you can accessorize this style so easily. The braid will stay in all day, so will easily take you into the evening – just fancy it up with some beautiful pins to give it that extra oomph!

Close up of the pins in the french braid

Top Tips on How To French Braid Your Own Hair

  • If you have fine hair, or want to give it some more volume, start with a little hairspray and a gentle backcomb at the top.
  • Secure the braid with a covered rubber band so that it doesn’t damage the ends of your hair.
  • Make the end of the braid appear fuller by gently teasing the bottom strands with your fingers.
  • Use pins to pretty up your braid!

Full length shot of a women in a yellow top with a french braid

Photography by Katie Jameson

(Top by Madewell)

Be sure to check out these other easy hair tutorials!

I’d love to hear from you if you have used this French braid tutorial and what you thought! Be sure to leave a comment and star rating down below!

How to French Braid Hair

The French braid is such a classic hairstyle, and once you know how, it's easy to do it yourself. Learn how to French braid with this step by step tutorial, for an effortless and chic style.
Active Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Keyword: french braid tutorial, how to do a French braid yourself, how to French braid hair
Yield: 1
Author: Jen Pinkston

Materials

  • 1 rubber hair band
  • hair clips

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I added pearl clips for a little something extra!

 

  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.

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/30/2019

      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

      05/30/2019

      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!