Crossing Over Vs. Crossing Under
with bekathwia

All braids involve interleaving sections of hair, and up until now you have learned to cross your sections over one another to the middle position (as shown on the left in the photo above). This lesson introduces the technique for crossing strands under one another to create an "inside out" braid (as shown on the right above). This technique is used to create Dutch braids like the pigtails and crown braids you'll make in later lessons.

Additionally, the lines of these two styles are slightly different, and if your hair is highlighted or otherwise multicolored, the results could be quite unique. Personally, I like the reduction of frizz at the base of the neck when using an inside out braid.

Begin a Standard Braid With All Your Hair

Up until now, you've only braided a portion of your hair, or had the "training wheels" of an elastic helping you out. This time try a standard braid with all of your hair (or most if it's short). Gently brush out any tangles and gather it to the back, then divide into three sections with your fingers or a comb.

Cross the right section over the center section, then cross the left section over the center.

Continue Braiding

Cross the right over the center again, then the left over the center.

Repeat for the length of your hair.

Finished Standard Braid

If your hair is long, it may be more comfortable to switch the braid to the front of your shoulder after braiding a while. It's easier to see the braid this way and gives your shoulders a rest. However when finishing a braid this way, the orientation switches such that your hands will now be crossing sections what seems to be under the center, rather than over it.

When you compare the two photos in this step, do you see how the zigzag sections seem to be pointing up in one and down in the other? This is the difference in appearance between the front and back of the braid. Tie off your braid with a small elastic, or shake it out to try the next one.

Begin a Crossed Under Braid

Gently brush out your hair and divide it into three sections once more.

This time take the right section and cross it under the center section, then likewise cross the left section under the center section.

Continue Braiding

Again cross the right section under the center, then the left section under the center.

Repeat these steps along the length of the braid.

A Note About Unwanted Twisting

As with before, it may be more comfortable to finish this braid over the front of your shoulder. In the previous braid in this lesson, you learned that this will change the orientation of your crosses, as your hands now come at the braid from the opposite side. If you instead twist the braid so as to keep braiding "under" (rather than flipping the braid over), your results may be a twist midway down the braid, as shown. While you may like this effect and use it on purpose in certain styles, you're equally likely to want to avoid any twists like this! To prevent mid-braid twists in this context, make sure the braid remains straight and flat throughout, flipping it over if necessary.

Tie off your "inside out" braid with a small elastic.


Share a photo of your finished project with the class!

Nice work! You've completed the class project