View Full Version : How to not damage hair when learning a new style?

November 1st, 2013, 09:18 PM
Hi everyone :D
I've finally (finally!!) mastered a french braid. On someone else that is. Now I need to practice on myself, which apart from usually being an exercise in frustration (not being able to see what I'm doing, doing it back-the-front etc)is a bit of a worry damage wise. To get to the point of being able to do a style in my hair neatly and within a reasonable time frame (ie quick enough I can do it without having to plan a special time slot) I need to do it over and over again for at least a couple of weeks and I worry about the toll on my hair as with a new style theres always some tugging and pulling, and, worst of all, tangling! I'm hair style challenged, I literally can only do 2 things: one is an English braid (three strand starting at the nape, I call it a plait) and a twist, jam against head and secure if possible with a ficcare (I don't think there's a technical term for this one ;) ), I really want to be able to do more things with my hair-from hairfork buns to french braids to maybe (one day) waterfall braids, the general consensus seems to be 'keep practicing!' but I usually try once end up with a tangled mess and give up for fear of damaging my hair (and losing my temper, which makes for even more hair damage...) any tips? I usually practice on dirty hair as it stays in place and 'grips' better(my hair is fine and slippery), is that a good idea? Should I oil it before I start?
Here are some styles I'd love to master:
Braids (nothing too complicated I don't think)
when doing this with bangs do you just braid behind them or do you try and braid them in?
Headband tuck (what length is it possible to do this upto? does it work on really long hair?)
I love the headband in this one
And here on our very own longhair forum :)
And I think this is really cute, not sure how it'd look with long hair though
Maybe I'm being too ambitious........you know, for someone who hasn't mastered bobby pins yet :rolleyes:

November 1st, 2013, 09:22 PM
Also in finally learning a french braid I now can't dutch braid.......this doesn't bother me too much as I prefer the look of the french anyhow-but I have a sinking feeling it'll turn back into a dutch braid when I try to do it on myself...

November 1st, 2013, 10:12 PM
This is a good question. I too want to try out new hair dos. But I loose sooo much hair because of the trial and error thing involved in learning something new. And I touch my hair sooo much. I fear I cause tons of damage from all the brushing and detangling and pulling involved in learning to do something new. Some tips on how to minimize hair damage while learning to do a new hairstyle would be much appreciated. :)

November 1st, 2013, 10:34 PM
On the braided bangs, leave your shorter bangs out of it, if you have bold blunt bangs in front.

I really like that braided bun with the hairstick in it you posted. I'm going to give that one a try.

Personally I don't like to wear headbands. They make my head hurt, but you have posted a lot of very pretty ideas. I may have to get over it and try one of them.

When I learned to french braid my own hair, I forgot how to dutch braid it. It's like my hands couldn't figure out both ways, or something. I hope that doesn't happen to you.

I wonder if you could have a mannequin head clamped to a table behind you and try the styles on the mannequin head, being backwards so that you would learn how to do the styles on yourself. The reach might be too far for you. I don't know. Good luck. Make sure your hair is well conditioned so that it doesn't tangle as easy, and be super gentle getting the tangles out.

November 2nd, 2013, 12:36 AM
Argh I tried french braiding my hair, now I've got the feel for it I knew where the hair should go-but it turns out on myself I somehow hold the hair in such a way that my hand is actually in the road of adding a piece of hair......meaning I have to drop the other pieces to get it into the right spot meaning that I then loose them and I can't continue *cries* this is so frustrating! Once I figured that was going nowhere I tried a headband tuck.....more like a headband tangle.....a bobs looking good right now :(

November 2nd, 2013, 03:56 AM
With a nod to another thread right now... I learned to Dutch/French braid my hair from TorrinPaige's video "French Braid Breakdown" on Youtube. She does an amazing job demonstrating the proper handholds and sequence to keep everything in order and untangled. It's wonderful!

I learned it by practicing every night, personally. The first few times, while watching Torrin's tutorial. It doesn't really matter what my hair looks like while I'm sleeping, as long as it's decently contained. So when pieces were crossing over between strands, strands were uneven, or the whole thing leaned to one side, I would just note that, tie it off, go to sleep, and try again the next night. After a couple of weeks I had it down. I don't think I really got any extra damage from this, beyond what I would normally get from sleeping on my cotton pillowcase. (Satin sleep cap is in the mail! Hooray!)

You seem to be interested in placing the French braid in various places around your head. Pretty! (I'd end them in a braid or a bun though, as ponytails are not protective styles.) For me, it was easiest to learn it right down the back, so everything was symmetrical. Then once you've really got it, it's not too hard to move it to a different location or angle.

Persevere (gently)! Good luck!

November 2nd, 2013, 05:50 PM
I'll check her out, thanks! And braiding before bed sounds like a good idea.....because as you said it doesn't matter what it looks like! LOL Yep learning just a plain straight braid first is likely a good idea.

November 2nd, 2013, 06:23 PM
Here is Lillith Moon's tutorial on how to do a 2 strand rope lace crown braid:


The thing to remember when braiding is to keep all the sections free of tangles...ALL the way down the strands. That means, after each crossing, you spread your fingers (like a rake) and glide them down the sections so the ends are free. If you don't do this, then you'll have the ends getting all snarled and frustration will take over immediately.

Don't be discouraged! Before beginning, be sure your hair is thoroughly detangled (with a comb). Don't start practicing on hair that is tangled.

It will take time for your arms to adjust to the pressure of holding your hair up in the back as you braid, not to mention your fingers becoming accustomed to handling the strands, the correct angle, correct tension, etc. Practice is the only thing that will get you through. Don't practice when you're tired or angry.

If you have access to a hair mannequin, try working with that so you understand the motions of French Dutch, French English, lace braiding, rope braiding.

Don't try to master too many techniques at once!

Remember: Rome wasn't built in a day...and many of us here have been in your shoes when learning the various braiding styles.

Good luck...and be kind to your hair and do not pull your hair too tightly when braiding.

ps. Doing the center French braid (or French English braid)...my arms killed me when I first started on this. What I did (until my arms stopped hurting)...was "cheat"...I divided my hair (parted from top of one ear around the back of my head to the top of the other ear. Combed out all the hair above the part, then clipped it with a one piece (no hinges) Goody barrette. I combed the rest of the hair, then began to French braid down the center of my head. The barrette helped hold the hair in place as I practiced how to move my fingers in adding the hair from each side to the middle portion.

Once I had thoroughly mastered the finger motions, I took out the clip, and tried the French braiding w/o the aid of the clip. Things went a lot easier for me learning French braiding with the aid of that clip, rather than trying to do it w/o it. Good luck!

November 2nd, 2013, 06:26 PM
Also in finally learning a french braid I now can't dutch braid.......this doesn't bother me too much as I prefer the look of the french anyhow-but I have a sinking feeling it'll turn back into a dutch braid when I try to do it on myself...
I used to be able to French braid. Taught myself to Dutch and now a French braid completely escapes me.

November 2nd, 2013, 06:48 PM
With braids on yourself, I think it helps to think of crossing the hair over outside of the other hair/away from your head vs inside the other hair/close to your scalp. For a French braid, you'll want to make sure all your crossings over are away from your head. (That said, I learned to dutch braid on myself first, and it seems pretty common. For me, the hand positions on myself are easier.) More important, after every crossing over, run the freed-up hand down through your hair to the ends, to separate the sections all the way down. Otherwise, on a longhair, you'll get an opposite braid forming at the ends and working it's way up; tangle city!

Working with dirty hair is fine, though I suspect that slippery hair (which won't hold long, perhaps) won't tangle quite as much when you're learning. But do try it at night when it doesn't matter and you have no pressure to hurry up and get it right so you can leave for work or school. Stop once you're tired or getting frustrated. These things take practice before they're presentable, and that's perfectly OK.

November 2nd, 2013, 09:40 PM
Thanks guys :) Mine tangles if it's clean, dry, wet, not wet, oiled etc it just does! That's why I find things like the headband tuck (which looks simple) a nightmare....it just all sort of slips and tangles and escapes....all at once! LOL I notice on Lillith Moons blog she mentions giving the hair 'texture' helps-I'm thinking of buying some product and seeing if that helps. Failing that anyone want to live in Australia, free rent in exchange for hair styling? ;)

November 3rd, 2013, 03:05 AM
Alright here is french braid attempt 2, which started off okay and then went wonky somewhere in the middle......it looks better than I thought it would to be honest:
http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p679/aintnograve1897/IMG_0201_zpsd1cc9651.jpg (http://s1345.photobucket.com/user/aintnograve1897/media/IMG_0201_zpsd1cc9651.jpg.html)
http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p679/aintnograve1897/IMG_0202_zps2dc3a4f6.jpg (http://s1345.photobucket.com/user/aintnograve1897/media/IMG_0202_zps2dc3a4f6.jpg.html)
http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p679/aintnograve1897/IMG_0203_zps5da561a8.jpg (http://s1345.photobucket.com/user/aintnograve1897/media/IMG_0203_zps5da561a8.jpg.html)
Close but no cigar. And some tangled hair.

November 3rd, 2013, 09:34 AM
You're on the right path, thistledown. Just keep practicing and you'll be French braiding like a pro.