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Different Types of Braids – The Ultimate Guide

Types of braids

Every time a friend of yours shares another roundup of must-try types of braids on Pinterest, you roll your eyes knowing you and your braid skills will never be able to accomplish those highly sought dutch-fishtail-crown braid. No longer the three-strand braid that moms corral their daughters, braids evolved into a versatile hairstyle that one may sport depending on occasions or mood.

Some are woven, three-dimensional, pulled up in updos, while others lay on top of the head. Braids are undeniably beautiful and one of the creative ways you can dress your hair.  Although some types look as awkward as perfecting a winged eyeliner, you just need a little bit of a helping hand. And that’s where we come in. Grab your notes and pen and settle down because the class is about to begin for the different types of braids. This is braiding 101.

The Many Types of Braids and How to Do It

Do you need a sophisticated braid you can wear at a wedding or an easy-braid gym perhaps? Or are you just simply looking for a new way to braid your tresses? In this compilation, you can find alluring and sultry styles of braids you can try on whatever occasion and circumstances, accompanied by easy cheat codes on how to do the twist and turns. We also added some modifications to spice up the look.

Note: Make sure that your hair is brushed and tangle-free prior to doing any of the following types of braids.

THE BASIC BRAID

3 strand side braid
image from luxyhair.com

Everyone got to start somewhere, right? The basic braid is the simplest and easy to execute. Also called the three-strand braid, the procedure involves weaving three sections of hair.

This is the best hairstyle you can do when you are in a hurry, a great alternative to that monotonous ponytail look.

The Steps:

  1. Section the hair into three equal groups.
  2. Flip the right strand over the middle.
  3. Now that the previous right strand is in the middle, cross the left strand over.  You have just created the first twist. This is where you will pattern the succeeding steps.
  4. Using the same steps, alternately flip left and right until you braided the end of the of your hair roots.
  5. Secure your braid with a hair tie.

simple braidTips: Pull the sections tight as you braid. If you want a loose-looking braid, you can always slightly smoothen the parts after you braid.

Turn your basic braid into a style that screams sophistication. This low-bun braid is done after wrapping the braid around the base. Bobby pins are used to secure the bun. You can also pull-up this neat and sleek finish by applying a styling oil to hair prior and finish it with a good hairspray to lock the look.

THE FRENCH BRAID

Lara Croft French BraidThe french braid is a slightly modified version of the regular braid. It is done using the same three-strand technique only that the braid starts at the top of the head.

This braid works excellent if you are having those frizzy hair days, a simple braid can turn your bad hair day into a more polished Lara Croft-styled chic look.

The Steps:

  1. Into three equally divided sections, gather chunks of hair at the top of your head. You can go as high as you want or as low as the eyebrow level.
  2.  Using the standard braid technique, cross the right section over the middle.
  3. Flip the left section over the new middle section.
  4. Now add another chunk of hair on the right section and weave to the middle part.
  5. Once again, add a small strand of hair, but this time to the left section. Then flip it to the new middle section.
  6. Continue French braiding until you reach the end of your hair or finish at your nape as you’d like.
  7. Tie it with an elastic band.

Tips: Make sure to pick up the same thickness of hair– preferably ½ to 1 inch —  each time you add chunks of hair into the braid. This will make the look even neater.

Wedding braidAttending a formal wedding?  There are so many bridal-inspired looks you can do with a french braid. If your hair is not long for a milkmaid braid, do the waterfall style by pulling strands of weaved braids together on the upper hairline.

As you can see in the photo, these types of braids give two-toned dyes a more flattering look. You can even add stylish pins to accessorize the updo.

THE DUTCH BRAID

Reverse french braidApparently, the Dutch have their own way of french braiding — they do it in reverse. A dutch braid is basically an inverted or reverse french braid.

It’s nearly hard to spot the difference from afar but as you can see in the photo, the reverse french braid looks more three dimensional.

If you know how to french braid, you will also learn how to dutch braid. The procedure for dutch braid is the same as the french braid EXCEPT that the strands are interweaved under instead of crossing overtop. The braid is somewhat likened to that of a pineapple, a reason why it is also called pineapple braid.

Kardashian Boxer Braid

Tired of your hair getting in the way when you are working out? Try the Kardashian style of  Dutch braiding. Also called the boxer braid,  you can part your french braid into two, three, or as many as you’d like.

Depending on the genre of hairstyle culture you are exposed to, you may know the boxer braid as the cornrow braid.

 

Another variation of the cornrow braid is the banana braid. As you can see in the photo, they are plaited tightly and closer to the scalp. The shape of the braid resembles a banana, hence the name.

Modern fresh takes include feed-in braids and asymmetrically patterned braids. The look can go as wild and intricate as Afro-mohawk or faux undercut. Cornrow braid is a popular hairdo for most African-textured hair which is why it is also referred to as African braiding. In the Caribbean, cornrows are referred to as canerows as it was a prominent hairdo among slaves working in the cane field.

FISHTAIL BRAID

Fishtail BraidFeeling romantic? Match your mood with your ‘do by fishtail braiding it. The fishtail braid is widely sported by young ladies because the finished look emulates soft feminine vibes.

Weaving your hair into a fishtail style requires focus and attention as you need to twist every strand in specific ways to achieve the perfectly dreamy fishtail braid.

The Steps:

  1. Divide your hair into two equal sections
  2. Pick up a subsection of your hair from the outer side of your left strand. By now, there should be two sections on your left strand.
  3.  Using your right hand, grab the outer section of the left strand and add this section to the inside of the right strand. Now you are back again with two strands touching the base of your braid.
  4. Do the same step on the right side by grabbing a subsection of your hair from the outside right and flipping it over to join the inside of the left section.
  5. Continue grabbing subsection of hair and passing it over to the other until you’ve run out of hair to braid. Use a tie to secure the ends.

Fish tail braid 2Tips: Every time you are picking a subsection of your hair, you’ll find that it’s easier if you use your index finger. Use the other three fingers (the middle, the ring, the pinky) to grab a section of the hair you are flipping over.

Fishtails are great for almost every fancy occasion. The fishtail crown plait is another stylish way to wear the look. If you want to channel your inner boho, fatten up the braids by slightly tugging the edges of the fishtails for the undone look.

 

THE FOUR STRAND TYPE OF BRAID

Four strand braidIf you’re bored of the monotonous three-strand braid, add up another strand to take the traditional braiding up a notch. The classic plait is ideal as an everyday look. The great thing about the four-strand is that it tricks the eye   into thinking it’s one of the other regular braids, but upon close inspection, one will notice the detail that makes this braid a must-try for a head-turning look

Because you are working with quadrant tresses here, it may be better to watch the video tutorial below to understand how the hairstylist passes and cross over the sections without tangling them up in a knotted mess.

More practice to perfect the type of braid you desire


If you are someone from the hair department, then lucky you, you probably have honed the art braiding. For beginners, keeping track of that third or fourth strand might be terrifying. But as long as you can hold the pieces together, you can pull up a braid as simple as the french braid. We suggest you start braiding sideways so you can better get ahold of the twisting and flipping.

Do it regularly, you’ll get a hand on the process and you may soon find your hand braiding behind your back. Once you’ve mastered the regular braiding down to the four-strands, it does not stop there. Try some more creative ways to braid your hair. Perhaps the best way is to combine all the techniques you learned here or be more inventive and fearless about the patterns. Keep up with the trends. Watch a lot of video tutorials. And who knows, you may be sporting those top intricate braid styles soon.

Class, dismiss!

Have fun braiding.

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