Of all the different hairstyles, there is something about the braid that stands alone. The simplest form of braid is the three-strand, standard style braid. This is where all the hair is initially divided into three sections, which are simultaneously gathered together near the scalp. In addition to this simple braid, there is the French braid, the Dutch braid and the fishtail braid.
Fancy, fun and fashionable, let’s concentrate on the French braid. A French braid (French plait) is a hairstyle that has been used for thousands of years. The French braid was depicted in art from early Greek, Celtic and Sung dynasty periods. The French braid starts with three small sections of hair near the crown of the head, which are then braided together toward the nape of the neck, gradually adding more hair to each section as it crosses in from the side into the center of the braid structure.
The final result? All the hair is incorporated into a smoothly woven pattern of sheer loveliness over the scalp.
French Braid Fun Fact: If the main mass of hair is initially parted into two or more sections along the scalp that are kept separate from one another, multiple French braids may be created, each in its own section. The French braid makes it easy for a person to braid their own hair.
How to French Braid Hair:
- Brush the Hair: Make sure the hair is free of tangles. For a single French braid going down the back of your head, brush the hair backwards, away from your forehead.
- Section the Hair: Gather sections of hair (the size of your choice i.e., 2-3 inches wide) from the top-center of your head. The braid will grow thicker as you add more hair.
- Separate the First Section Into Three Pieces: You need three sections of hair to begin the French braid.
- Begin the Braid: Hold two strands in one hand, and the third in the other hand. Cross the right strand to the center. Then cross the left strand over to the center. Continue as you make a traditional braid.
- Add in New Hair: Keep the traditional braid pattern, now start bringing in other pieces of hair. Every time you cross over, add another small piece of hair.
- Bring All Hair Into the Braid: As you continue to make the braid down your head, your free hair will be incorporated into the braid.
- Complete the Braid: Keep the braid going until you reach the end of your strands. Fasten the end of the braid with a material rubber band or a barrette, leaving a short pony tail.
Congratulations. You now have a beautifully French braided head of hair!
French Braid Fun Fact: Although called a “French braid”, this hairstyle didn’t originate in France. In French, the hairstyle is called tresse africaine. The phrase French braid appears in an 1871 issue of Arthur’s Home Magazine, used in a piece of short fiction that describes it as a new hairstyle: “…do up your hair in that new French braid…”
Some pluses of the French braid is that the beautiful braid restrains hair from the top of the head that is too short to reach the nape of the neck, and it spreads the weight and tension of the braid across a larger portion of the scalp. Its sleek appearance gives off a look of elegance and sophistication.
Variations of the French Braid:
- Dutch Braid (Also called a pineapple braid): The three hair sections of the braid are crossed under each other as opposed to over each other.
- Fishtail Braid: A fishtail braid resembles the French braid, but divides the hair into two sections instead of three.
- Standard Braid: All the hair is divided into three sections, not adding any additional hair pieces into the braid.
Parade a gorgeous head of hair with the French braid!
French Braid Fun Fact: The French braid was depicted in rock art in the Tassili n’ Ajier mountain range in Algeria almost 6000 years ago.
French Braid Tips: Have fun with your French braids. There are many different ways that you can make this braid unique: braid at a slant, French braid your way into a fabulous bun, French braid your bangs, or wear your French braid like a crown on your head, with sections of hair flowing down.
If you’re looking for a new hairstyle, or you need a change and want to wear your hair a different way, experiment with a fashionable French braid and play away!
“That is one lovely head of hair that you have there.”
“This is the French braid.”
“The look is captivating. Forgive me if I stare.”
“I really prefer that you look away.”
“But your hairstyle is so glamorous, my eyes can’t honor what you say.”
Parade a glorious head of hair with a French braid. But beware: crowds will stop and stare!
Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website http://www.nancymangano.com, Twitter @https://twitter.com/nancymangano, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at http://www.struttinginstyle.com, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mangano/362187023895846