From the classic French braid to the occasion-worthy waterfall braid. 

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
Advertisement

The thing about braiding is, if you didn’t learn how to braid when you were younger, the idea of doing something like a French braid on your own can seem daunting. For those who learned the ways of the Dutch braid, or even the fishtail braid, when they were kids, braiding is as easy as breathing. 

The good news? It’s never too late to hop on the braid train and start looking like Elsa every day of the week. From the occasion-worthy waterfall braid to the pretty pull-through braid to the crazy-easy rope braid, learning different braid types can seriously up your hair game. 

First, a basic braid. If you’re not sure how to do this, you need to learn before moving onto more exciting braid adventures. To break it down simply, it involves separating your hair into three sections and folding one side section over the middle section over and over again, alternating between the left and right side until you’ve made your way down to the ends. Secure with an elastic and behold your basic braid. You can do just one, you can pull it over and make it a side braid, you can do one on each side for pigtails—possibilities are endless.

Afterwards, learn how to do these other six braids on your hair at home.

For beginners...French braid

Baby steps, people, baby steps. A French braid allows you to transform a classic braid style into something that looks more intricate and will stay put all day long. Starting closer to the crown of your head, separate a small section of hair near your forehead into three parts (like a typical braid). As you braid down and back towards the nape of your neck, each time you will add a small piece of hair to the side strand you’re crossing over the middle strand. Continue doing this until you’ve reached the nape of your neck. From there, finish the length of your hair with a classic braid technique.

Tip: Try this style for the first time when your hair is still damp and easier to handle. This tutorial walks you through a basic French braid.

For beginners, part two...Dutch braid

Think of this braid type as a showier version of the French braid. It’s guaranteed to make at least one person ask how you get your hair so good. Follow the same steps as those above for French braiding, except you will be crossing the side strand of hair underneath the middle strand each time, as opposed to over it. Add hair as you braid back and down, just like when French braiding. Follow the easy tutorial above or watch this how-to

For all the compliments...pull-through braid

The best part about this praise-worthy ponytail braid? It doesn’t even require real braiding, which means if you are still beginning to learn how to do styles like a French braid, you can easily pull this off at home in just a couple minutes, easy peasy. You’ll just need a pack of small, clear elastics to get going.

Start as if you’re pulling your hair into a half-up hairstyle and secure the first section with an elastic. From there, you’ll work your way down to create the pull-through braid by pulling apart sections of hair into two halves, wrapping them around the bulk of your hair, and securing with elastics. Visual learners can watch the how-to here.

For major mermaid vibes...fishtail braid

We’re not going to sugarcoat it. This one takes some practice. For the first time, try practicing with a low side ponytail in order to be able to see your progress. Once you’ve gotten comfortable, try practicing without securing your hair into a low ponytail at all, like a normal low braid.

A fishtail braid involves separating your hair into two equal sections, half and half. Then you will separate the small outermost piece from one side and pull it over to the other side. You’ll alternate this on both sides until you reach the bottom of your hair. This braid type is much easier to understand by seeing the process, and this is our favorite tutorial video to follow at home. Once you’re a pro, you can even try your hand at a French fishtail braid or a fishtail-meets-ponytail. Just saying.

For fancy occasions...waterfall braid

Please, forgive us—but explaining how to do this braid type is harder than reciting your grandmother’s signature caramel cake recipe verbatim. A waterfall braid is bound to turn heads at any party, wedding, or special occasion you have on the calendar later this year. So why not learn it now? This hairstyle basically takes a French braid technique, turns it horizontal, and lets pieces flow down through the braid like...you guessed it: a waterfall. Follow this how-to to make both of our lives much easier.

For when you just can’t....twisted rope braid 

Sometimes braiding just makes us want to curl up on the ground and have a full-on tantrum like a five-year-old. And on those days (especially if you’re on third-day hair and need to do something), you can always, always, always do a rope braid. It’s easy as pie and looks way cooler than your boring old ponytail.

Start by pulling your hair into a high ponytail and securing. Then completely separate the hair into two sections and begin to twist each section towards the outside. As in, both will be twisted in the direction away from each other. As both of the twists become tighter, begin to twist the two halves together without letting each side loosen or untwist. Continue all the way down the ponytail and secure with an elastic. This easy tutorial will help you master the ponytail look, and we love these other rope braid renditions

Just like that, you’re a braiding babe with a different option for every day of the week. Take that, Elsa.