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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
    Location
    NJ, USA
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    2,331

    Default Spin off - How does one French Braid their own hair?

    Reading the tomboy to girly thread, several posters mentioned french braiding their hair.

    I'm jealous! The few times someone else french braided me, I thought it looked great - I have long thick curly hair, & the french braid to me looked very cool!

    But I have yet to be able to accomplish anything decent enough to leave the house wearing, doing it to myself! I just end up pulling out the mess I've made & falling back on my boring pony tail.

    I love the scene in "Something To Talk About" when Julia Roberts is rushing through her morning routine & throwing her hair into a gorgeous (to me) french braid. Why can't I do that, WAAAAA! (I know, first world problems.... )

    I've tried to check a few websites, but nothing has revealed the secret art to me yet

    I can french braid someone else, btw. Just not myself.

    Any tips or better websites?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 29, 2012
    Location
    Bahstin, Mass
    Posts
    757

    Default

    Honestly, all it is is practice. You have to get comfortable with doing strange things with your fingers in your hair when you can't see it, or get used to doing things backwards in a mirror (though if you're braiding it on the back of your head you won't see it anyway!).



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2008
    Posts
    4,168

    Default

    It does take practice and after a lifetime, it is takes me about 5 min to french braid my hair.

    If you can braid a simple braided pony tail, you can french braid your hair. Start with three strands, just like you are braiding your hair. Once you have one braid, you have to put all three strands in one hand to pick up some more hair to put on one side, then twine that hair and then pick up hair from the other side of your head, twine once, repeat.

    It takes practice, so when you have time and nothing else to do (like watching TV), practice. With curly hair, it will be easier when your hair is wet, at first. My hair is very wavy, verging on curly, and it like to argue with me as to which hairs are going where. It is better when wet.

    Once you master that, you can do two braids down the side of your head - that takes me 8 min now - but remember, I have been french braiding my own hair since I was about 7.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    7,116

    Default

    Practice, practice, practice....if you can braid, you can do it to yourself! Admittedly, I think French braids look better when done TO you rather than done BY you, if you know what I mean, but I'll bet experienced braiders would disagree. My hair is just past my shoulders, after years of "boy short" hair cuts, so I'm learning to braid all over again. Maybe spend some time with a friend who can also braid and have a night of wine and self-braiding??
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2010
    Posts
    616

    Default

    Yup, practice, practice and more practice. I have nearly waist length hair and love to french braid it. In fact, I do several different types of braids. I treat my hair as an accessory and love to wear it in many different styles.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    If you want a humbling experience, have a small child teach you how. But, yeah, practice, practice is the only way to learn how correct tension and the righ amount of hair per bunch feels. One thing I had a lot of trouble learning when changing between braiding someone else and braiding myself was flipping my hands over. Braiding yourself, you should have palms down and thumbs toward the back of your head. Also, don't get in a hurry and pick up too much hair each time--the more you grab, the clunkier the braids get and the easier it is for them to be lumpy.
    ---------------------------



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    11,132

    Default

    I just visualize, kind of Zen braiding. It doesn't have to be exact or perfect to look nice.
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    2,947

    Default

    I french braid a lot - at first practiced on my horses tail!

    Its a little easier when your hair is either a little dirty or damp! for the back, I part down the middle then take two strands from each side of the part, pull them back and cross them. Then I pick up, from one side, another strand so I have three strands, then braid. With each braid/cross I pick up a tiny bit of new hair from that side to add to the braid. Smaller makes neat, tidy, tight braid, larger is softer. When I have no more hair do collect, I just braid it off and usually tuck it up under.

    Down each side - part hair in the middle. Take a small strand from one side and pull it back, take a strand from under it, and one from along the part and braid. As with down the back, with each cross I add another strand, right down along the part. Eventually I runout of hair and braid it, and usually tuck it under.

    Also, can part hair on the side and with the same technque do a nice french braid down the "big" side. Then I like to do them with larger, softer braids!

    Fun! I can't do with a mirror, have to just do it blind or I get confused!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2005
    Location
    washington state
    Posts
    9,728

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    The same way you do a horses tail-even amounts and even pressure. Remember, just like a horse tail, the grab little pieces to braid in. If you try and grab a big hunk off each side you will get a big hunk nasty braid
    The Knotted Pony

    Proud and upstanding member of the Snort and Blow Clique.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2006
    Location
    Spooner, WI
    Posts
    2,387

    Default

    What everyone else said. I started French braiding 30 years ago and I don't "wear" it very often. I still 'practice" while watching TV. However I'm a hair twirler so it's easy for me to play with my hair.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,870

    Default

    I can't french braid other people's hair because I figured it out on my head first! For me, coming up with a "system" for where to hold each strand in my hand was key. I also have curly hair and it works best when it's wet, but even then I'm often disappointed with unevenness and frizz. But it's a nice alternative to the ponytail!
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2012
    Posts
    1,294

    Default

    I have the opposite problem, OP. I have long, thick, curly hair and I can only french braid my own hair (or my horse's hair). It never comes out right otherwise!

    To start, you part your hair and then divide that into three sections. The trick is to hold three sections in one hand while your other hand pulls the new bit of hair being added in and then takes a section from your other hand to combine it. You have to be able to do that without confusing which section goes where.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2006
    Posts
    892

    Default

    When I was stationed in Saudi Arabia, my roommates tried to teach me. Unfortunately, it was a miserable failure. Some folks just aren't coordinated enough!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2011
    Posts
    620

    Default

    Braiding horses (tails and running crest braids) helped me. And lots of practice when I knew I wasn't going to leave the house. It's a handy hairstyle for me because it keeps all the flyaways from escaping and ending up in my face where they aren't wanted. So, for me, it's not girly at all- actually my go-to for hay stacking, barn cleaning, and jump painting, among other things.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
    Posts
    16,865

    Default

    I had to practice a lot too... helped, tho, to have a big mirror behind you and a small one in front so you can "see" what you're doing. That helped me get the visualization into my head of what my fingers were doing.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    2,035

    Default

    In my experience, very poorly.

    Seriously, practice makes perfect. I can whip mine into a french braid in under a minute. It looks like crap but that's because I have incredibly fine hair and not a lot of it, not because of the braid job. Practice a running braid on a willing horse; that does help to understand the motions.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2012
    Posts
    261

    Default

    I am so thankful I came across this thread!

    I finally have it down. When I was younger I used to two my hair in two french braids (okay, I'll be honest... there are days when I still do), but now I frequently do it on one. It doesn't always look perfect, but at least I have the technique down.

    I agree with everyone else - it's just practice! Like any other hair endeavor, there are days when it's just not going to cooperate or look perfect, but you'll get there. Keep trying!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2010
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    921

    Default

    Try it with your hair wet...it parts easier and doesn't feel as "tangled" as when you're french braiding with dry hair.

    Take it SLOW....do your first "normal" braid with the top section of your hair, and then slowly take a small piece from the side and figure out which finger it needs to go with on the other hand (since that hand will be holding all the pieces separately). When I forced myself to learn last year, I would just do a few braids down, adding in a couple pieces of each side, rubber band it, and go check in the mirror.

    I can't braid in the mirror...I have to sit, close my eyes, and do it. I know...a bit strange, but I have to "feel" where each piece needs to go. And...I had to get over the "OMG it feels tangled!" feeling when I try to braid it when it's dry.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2013
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    500

    Default

    i can't french braid my hair...it's too straight and slippery and it doesn't stay for more than about twenty minutes.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    2,331

    Default

    You guys are great. I started practicing at night after last OT day and just this weekend I ended up actually (gasp) leaving the house wearing the braid - and got compliments on it! :-D

    I incorporated a lot of tips from everyone above, & came up with my own system - now I just have to keep practicing.

    THANKS!



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