Welcome to the world of braids, the craft project you carry around with you on your head! This class focuses on learning to braid your own hair and introduces the basic techniques and then more complex styles through step-by-step instructions, photos, and videos. You don't have to have super long hair to rock braids! Many of the included styles can be achieved or modified to work with hair that is chin length or longer. All the lessons in this class are taught in the first person, but are also easy to understand if you're braiding someone else's hair.
If you follow the lessons in order, this class will build up your braid skills, muscle memory, patience, and arm strength gradually, adding on new skills to what you've learned along the way. However if you can already do basic three strand french braids, you have my endorsement to jump around the lessons a bit. The complete styles later in the class vary in difficulty and what comes naturally to one person may be super frustrating for another-- practice makes perfect!
Single cross-over braid
Early on, you'll practice with small braids that are easy to see and hold, then level up to braiding all (or most) of your hair at once.
French and Dutch braids are your next challenge, which require small bits of hair be added with each stitch.
Then you'll use your new skills to make Dutch pigtails and a crown braid.
Next up are three more complex styles involving small sections of hair: the waterfall, fishtail, and stacked braids.
Your cool down is a rope twist-- a nice easy style that, while not technically a braid, feels just as magical.
I believe that braiding your own hair can be a great creative outlet! Not only are braids extremely practical for securing your hair during physical & outdoor activities, but you can use braids to express your personal style for any occasion, dressed up or down. I've even used braids to make new friends, since they are great conversation starters!
Step 1: Supplies for Braids
To get started learning to braid, you really just need some hair, a mirror, and dexterity in both hands. Everything else here just enhances your results!
- Hair elastics
- Bobby pins
- Duck bill clips
- Dry shampoo (or make your own)
- Styling paste
- Conditioning oil
A brush helps smooth your hair as you work. I prefer bristles made from natural materials like boar hair or wood, which help move oils from your scalp down the shaft of your hair. A comb is useful for creating clean sections by parting your hair at the scalp.
Upon completing your braided style, hair elastics and bobby pins are used to secure everything in place. I like tiny clear elastics for most braids. When shopping for bobby pins, try to find ones that match your hair color!
Occasionally it will be necessary to temporarily secure a section of hair so it doesn't get in your way. Many types of clips are good for this task! Pictured are smooth duck bill clips, which I like because they won't get caught or mess up your in-progress style.
Braided hairstyles are great for less-than-squeaky-clean hair, but to spruce up your oily roots between washes you may want to try a spray-on dry shampoo. When applied around the front and crown areas and rubbed in, it absorbs excess oil to eliminate that greasy scalp look. Dry shampoo can also add volume to your style, even if it's not dirty! You can make your own dry shampoo from cornstarch (use solo on lighter hair) and unsweetened cocoa powder (mix both for darker hair). Check out Jessy's Instructable for a complete recipe!
Lastly, depending on your hair type, you may want to use hairspray, styling paste, and/or conditioning oil to prevent and combat frizz and flyaways. I have fine, dry, wavy hair that typically requires all the anti-frizz help it can get! My haircare routine involves washing twice per week, seldom use of hot tools, and applying argan oil to the ends every day. I'm careful to avoid breakage by detangling gently. Hair is more elastic and fragile when wet!
Let's dig in to your first braid! Advance to the next lesson to get started.