Picture of How to French Braid Your Own Hair
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I have long hair. It can get in the way. Consequently, I keep my hair up in a french braid much of the time, and also braid it each night before bed to reduce tangling.

I've made a couple of approaches to this: I have this video, below; I have a Pinterest-style series of pictures on the first step; and I've done a step-by-step. If I were you, I'd start with the video. It gives the fullest picture. But if you need more help, the step-by-step is worded a bit differently.

I'd love if you'd comment on this to tell me which approach is most useful (or if I should keep trying several ways to do it). And of course, if you have any questions or clarifications, I respond to comments!

The video below is an overall lesson and demonstration, with voiceover and captioning:

If you need more help, continue on to read the step-by-step!
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Step 1: Get a bit of hair from each side of your head

Picture of Get a bit of hair from each side of your head

Step 2: Cross right over left

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It doesn't have to be right over left, of course. But for the purposes of this Instructable, it's much easier to say right and left than "this one" and "the other side".

Step 3: Transfer to right hand

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Transfer both strands to your right hand. Keep them separate.
My technique: grab the original strand between index finger and curled middle finger. Then take the next strand by grabbing between curled index finger and thumb. This allows you, in the next step, to rock your hand forward and release the first strand.

Confusing? See the video below. I'll show you first how your hands will move (with nothing in them to braid), then on some scrap pieces of cloth. If it looks difficult, practice first! You will be doing this on the back of your own head.

Step 4: Add hair from the left

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Pick up some hair with your left hand. I do this by sliding my index finger under both some hair not yet in the braid and the bottom-most lock of hair. (This hand position works with the hand technique demonstrated in the previous step.)

Step 5: Cross left strand and pass to right hand

Picture of Cross left strand and pass to right hand
Passing is shown in the video below (this is the same video shown two steps ago).

here is a picture of it

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thank you so much for this new method it worked perfectly for me despite the fact that my hair is only a few inches past my shoulders and all the other methods did not work for me. you're very talented, good job!

i can't do it

loveable092 months ago
Well it's pretty good for my first time, plus my hair is down to my butt
fugu083 months ago
my first time ever!!!!!!!

awesome I just learned how to French braid my own hair cause of you

That's amazing! I'm glad it worked!

JemmaA16 months ago

I just have to ask ... Who took the photos/How did you video yourself?

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  JemmaA16 months ago

That's what a tripod is for! And then the photos are actually just stills from the video. But <a href="">Carleyy</a> helped too.

angelinaS316 months ago

By uploading such video you had given an clear idea about french braid and it seems easy also.

jtat10 months ago

so cool. how much have you practised? I wish mine looked as nice as yours


jtat10 months ago

really good :)

MacCupcake1 year ago
You obviously have been doing this a long time! I just can't seem to grasp doing that without being able to see it, it turns out so messy for me. I get so frustrated with my hair sometimes that I am just ready to cut it all off. Have you ever slammed your hair in the car door? Wrapped it around the shower controls? Knelt on it or stepped on it (when you kneeling)? Most people never experience that. BTW, my hair is about the same length as yours... and I admire yours!!
SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  MacCupcake1 year ago
My personal least favorite things: "hello my name is" stickers that you have to wear at hair-level, chairs that have metal fastenings that your hair gets stuck in, jewelry for your hands that gets stuck while you're trying to get your hair out of the way of the sticker or the chair... but at least it wasn't as bad as when I did this: and it kept getting stepped on. Totally worth it, though.
calyad1 year ago
Thank you. I didn't think I could do this. My hair is thin and there is not much volume in a plait. It looks like a rat's tail. But I tried this and I can't get over how much stress is off the top of your head, say, compared to a bun or a pony tail. My first attempt is a bit messy, but it feels wonderful. lovely Instructable!
SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  calyad1 year ago
I'm glad it helped! I definitely agree– I have been putting my hair up in a bun more often lately, but my neck gets tired and my head starts to hurt. It's amazing how much weight there is in hair, and how much difference it makes to redistribute that weight!
Yep. Weight is a problem up to a point for me. There is not much weight in my hair compared to yours. Its the tightness of the band or the clips digging in that causes me most trouble. Oh, by the way, 'Greetings from Western Australia'!
I didn't have a clue on how to french braid my hair, but was trying to find something my daughter could demonstrate and found this to be very easy and helpful.  Great Job!!!
SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  mschouten19641 year ago
Thanks- glad it's useful!
RC Guy2 years ago
Hey i just wanted to ask if i put a instructable in the contest and win the grand prize if i want can i change that to the first prize? just asked this question to u coz u wrk at i'bles so . Nice ible anyway coz i am a boy i can just compliment u!!!
SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  RC Guy2 years ago
If you refer to the rules, substitutions are not allowed for contest winnings. Best of luck, and thanks for the compliment!

Also, I see that you haven't posted any Instructables yet. I encourage you to write one, then sign up for a chance at a new author reward!
your hair is beautiful!
bajablue2 years ago
I pretty much live in a banana clip during the Summer months.

You make this look so easy. I might have to try it... or have hubby learn. I am all thumbs!
SelkeyMoonbeam (author)  bajablue2 years ago
It definitely comes with practice.. and starts with unfounded confidence!
Beyond basic braiding, which my mom taught me, I've taught myself many different braiding styles on my own head. You just have to reach up there and make it happen!