Introduction: Your First Braid
Here we go! In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of braiding and put in some practice. Pull up to your mirror and let's get to it!
If you know how to do a basic three-strand braid already, you can skip to the next lesson.
Step 1: Grab a Section
Grab a section of hair at the front of your head. It's not particularly important exactly where or how much hair is included. I recommend picking a section from just to the right or left of your center part. If you want to be precise, use your thumb to draw a line on your scalp starting at your temple and extending up towards the top of your head until you reach the part.
Tie the rest of your hair back with an elastic (or use clips if it's too short) to keep it out of the way while you braid. Brush the section away from your face to smooth it out. This first braid is just for practice, and it's easier to see if it's right in front of your eyes. Later on you'll learn to control the direction of your braids, but don't worry about that for now!
Step 2: Create Three Sections
Use your fingers to divide your hair into three sections. Position two of these sections in your left hand, and the third in the right hand.
Step 3: Cross Over
Move the section in your right hand over its neighbor, and swap which hands are holding them. The right section becomes the center section, and the former center section is now on the your right.
Next, move the left section to cross over its neighbor to the center position. Try to keep tension in all three sections; there shouldn't be any slack.
Step 4: Criss Cross
Again bring the rightmost section to the center position by crossing it over it's neighbor, and then likewise with the leftmost section.
Repeat these alternating criss crosses for the length of your hair.
Admire your work! You've successfully interleaved your hair into a braid for the first time!
Step 5: Secure With an Elastic
When you run out of hair or the sections become radically different sizes, use a tiny elastic wrapped many times to secure the tail of your braid.
Step 6: Let's Reflect
Cool, you made it through your first braid! Do you notice anything about it that you'd like to improve? How about the fact that it sticks down into the middle of your face?
When you sweep your braid to the side, it makes an odd-looking lump. This is a result of the way the hairs were pointing when you started the braid.
Want to know how to fix it? Gently undo your braid and brush out any tangles, and let's start again.
Step 7: Sweep to the Side
This time, use your fingers or a brush to sweep your hair to the side of your face, and divide it into three sections. The easiest way to get uniform, neat looking sections is to use your fingernail or a comb to draw the dividing lines along your scalp, parallel to the direction you'd like the braid to travel.
Start another braid by positioning two sections in one hand and one in the other, then alternate crossing outermost sections to the center.
Turn your head slightly as you work, and keep your hands pulling the braid off towards the side.
Step 8: Balancing Act
Practice this crossing-over braid to develop your muscle memory. Work your way up to braiding without looking in the mirror. Reflect on each braid and try to improve it each time.
Keep your first few stitches (pairs of criss crosses) close to the scalp to avoid sloppy slack near the braid's origin.
Got all that? Successful braids required you to multitask and balance many contributing factors. Practice making small braids in your hair during moments of down time, like in waiting rooms, checkout lines, and while watching TV.
The next lesson will show you how to create a complete hairstyle using two of the small braids you just learned. Let's go!