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florenonite
July 1st, 2009, 01:57 PM
My 15-year-old sister asked me this yesterday. She's leaving this weekend for a five-week canoe trip, and wants to be able to plait her fringe back like mine (I plait along the hairline from my side-part to the opposite ear). I was surprised to hear she couldn't French braid herself, and even more surprised to hear she can barely braid her hair! Now, I know there are quite a lot of people out there who can't braid very well, and I can understand it if it's someone who's not been exposed to braiding much, but we all were as children. My mum used to braid our hair when we were wee, and we used to make bracelets by braiding and knotting embroidery floss. Before even coming to LHC I could English, French, Dutch, rope and fishtail braid both my own hair and others, so I suppose I kind of took it for granted that most women who had been exposed to hair braiding as children had some working knowledge of it. This incident just reminded me that there are a lot of things I think are fairly well-known with regards to hair but that really aren't, like that one shouldn't brush curly hair unless it's about to be washed.

This thread, then, is for those surprise moments when you realise that what you thought to be common knowledge regarding hair is not so common at all. I'm sure it will be enlightening, and help us to understand others' approaches to hair, whilst being amusing at the same time.

natt i nord
July 1st, 2009, 02:14 PM
I didn't have a feeling aka 'Uh? She doesn't know THAT!?", but I was very surprised a few months ago.
I had a Rope braid, and after the maths lesson the girl behind me asked me how I'd get this to hold. I explained it to her and showed her, as the braid anyway was a bit loose. The next morning she came with a rope-braided hairstrand :D I thought that was so hilarious.

Another day we came upon the topic braiding. I said I could braid English, Dutch and French. And the others asked me: "Please show us a Dutch braid!" Well, I had to braid then... :D

swanns
July 1st, 2009, 02:28 PM
I posted a video on YouTube of myself French braiding my hair, linked it to a fellow long haired friend just for fun and she goes "Oh yay, now I might finally get how that works!" I was really surprised!

enfys
July 1st, 2009, 02:33 PM
I can't do it because I get sore arms, but at least I know how. I could, and have, done them on other people.

A lot of people think long hair is so hard to deal with and style they think we work miracles and don't realise a lot of methods are far simpler than they look.

natt i nord
July 1st, 2009, 02:36 PM
I can't do it because I get sore arms, but at least I know how.

Put the elbows before your head so you can see them. Then you can put them on your knees when your arms get sore and take a break. That was my idea, I can't braid that long as well, and it works :)

patience
July 1st, 2009, 02:39 PM
I'm always surprised when I go out with my hair in a french braid and someone goes "Wow, did you do that yourself?"...I answer with "uh? yeah"

enfys
July 1st, 2009, 02:55 PM
Put the elbows before your head so you can see them. Then you can put them on your knees when your arms get sore and take a break. That was my idea, I can't braid that long as well, and it works :)

Ooh thanks, I'll try that. In 21 years (well, 21 years on Friday) I don't think I've ever done my hair sat down other than fixing it if it comes loose. That's why I never had anywhere to rest my arms!

French braids here I come :cheese:

florenonite
July 1st, 2009, 03:11 PM
I can't do it because I get sore arms, but at least I know how. I could, and have, done them on other people.

A lot of people think long hair is so hard to deal with and style they think we work miracles and don't realise a lot of methods are far simpler than they look.

Practice! Or lift weights to gain muscle :p I can do a single French braid no problem now. Two is a bit tiring, and a fishtail/herringbone is ZOMGmyarmsaregonnafalloff sore, but doable. What I do when my arms hurt is take all the strands in one hand and let the other arm hang to give it a break, then repeat on the other side.

Moonstruck
July 1st, 2009, 07:44 PM
Haha, not going to lie, I can't French braid to save my life. Actually, I can't do any braid except for a normal English one, and poorly, at that. Loose with tons of hairs sticking out, and inevitably a huge chunk that I failed to braid in, period. =P

However, I AM surprised when people say something along the lines of.... blowdrying's bad for your hair?!
...Um, yes. Have you ever smelled the burning hair scent? I'm sure it's great for parts of your body to be burnt to a crisp. =P

Quixii
July 1st, 2009, 08:05 PM
:oops: I only know how to do the simple three strand braid. (I believe that's an English braid?) I want to know how to do a French braid, let alone all the other ones, but don't know how to teach myself, as I'm a very visual person, and can't see the back of my head. Once I figure out how to do it initially, I should be able to do it, but...

Flynn
July 1st, 2009, 08:19 PM
I couldn't french braid until I got another girl's mum to teach me on her daughter's hair when I was seventeen or so, so I could do it on other girls -- my hair was pixie at that time! ... Mum didn't know how to, probably because her mum has had short hair all her life and so didn't have a clue, and mum isn't big on fancy styles herself anyway. I also couldn't plait my hair "straight from my scalp" (i.e. without making a ponytail first) until recently; I couldn't get it to lie smooth enough for my liking. (Well, okay, that's because I had frizzy icky teenage hair. Now it's grown out from all being cut off, and it's going pretty well now.)

Copasetic
July 1st, 2009, 08:20 PM
I was hoping this was going to be a thread about learning to French braid :( I am actually shocked to learn that French braiding is considered common knowledge to some. To me, its like an advanced hair skill.

WritingPrincess
July 1st, 2009, 08:26 PM
If you are so blessed as to have two mirrors in your house that face each other, but not quite parallel, you can use that to see the back of your head. My bathroom has a full-length mirror on the back of the door and another mirror on the medicine cabinet door that I can adjust to see the back of my head. I use that set-up any time I need to do a complicated style.

Gumball
July 1st, 2009, 08:51 PM
That reminds me of a day when I was wearing my hair in a rope braid. My co-worker, who at the time was in cosmetology school and about to graduate from it, asked me how I did it. I ended up teaching her how to rope braid. I was surprised since it was a basic skill for me, and she knew a lot more than I did about some styling things (of course most of it is quite potentially damaging), but I knew something she wasn't privy to.

physicschick
July 1st, 2009, 09:08 PM
Now, I know there are quite a lot of people out there who can't braid very well, and I can understand it if it's someone who's not been exposed to braiding much, but we all were as children. My mum used to braid our hair when we were wee, and we used to make bracelets by braiding and knotting embroidery floss.

I don't think the skills are transferable. My mother braided my hair when I was little, and when I got too old for that, I just didn't wear braids anymore. :shrug: And yes, we braided thread all the time for crafts. However, knowing the theory of braiding doesn't mean one can do it neatly behind one's head.

During grad school, I taught myself to braid after I'd ponytailed my hair (but couldn't do it starting from loose hair). For months, my braid always had a weird twist halfway down because it got messed up when I brought it forward over my shoulder. It wasn't until I joined LHC that I learned to do a proper English braid, and my French braiding skills are still mediocre.

Hairth&Home
July 1st, 2009, 09:33 PM
Now, I know there are quite a lot of people out there who can't braid very well, and I can understand it if it's someone who's not been exposed to braiding much, but we all were as children. My mum used to braid our hair when we were wee, and we used to make bracelets by braiding and knotting embroidery floss. Before even coming to LHC I could English, French, Dutch, rope and fishtail braid both my own hair and others, so I suppose I kind of took it for granted that most women who had been exposed to hair braiding as children had some working knowledge of it.

Now you've got me thinking about when it was that I learned to braid ... It seems like I've always known how to do an English braid, or at least I don't remember ever trying to learn it. My mother always kept my hair very short when I was a girl, so I must have braided other girls' hair, or yarn , or floss. I know for certain, though, that when I was eleven years old I learned how to French braid on my horse's tail, getting him ready for horse shows! :-)

Does anyone else remember when they first learned to French braid, and from whom they learned?

Sheltie_Momma
July 1st, 2009, 09:43 PM
I can dutch braid but for some reason french braiding feels harder to me - I keep trying until my arms want to fall off, I'm practicing! I also get that weird twist someone mentioned, when I hit my nape I tend to flip the braid round and braid from the other direction, it's like it just feels backwards to me to braid as though I were behind myself. Oh gosh, i hope this is making any sense....

Elphie
July 1st, 2009, 09:50 PM
My very first photo in my photo album is my wonky french braid. Glad to say I've gotten better at it since then, but despite knowing "how" to braid, doing it on my own head was a whole different ball game.

BranwenWolf
July 1st, 2009, 09:59 PM
I got used to french braiding horse hair before my own.
Whenever I do the two french braids that start at the top of my head and go down the sides by my ears people are remarking on them left and right.
It just doesn't seem unusual to me but what do I know...

AuntyClaus
July 1st, 2009, 10:05 PM
I was hoping this was going to be a thread about learning to French braid :( I am actually shocked to learn that French braiding is considered common knowledge to some. To me, its like an advanced hair skill.

I finally learned just last year by watching this video: http://www.ehow.com/video_17115_french-braid-hair.html

Nevermore
July 1st, 2009, 10:47 PM
When I was about five or six, my great aunt showed me how to braid using a Barbie. I knew quite a few girls who had long hair that didn't know how though, because their mothers did their hair.

Rivanariko
July 1st, 2009, 10:52 PM
I could hardly put my hair in a high ponytail when I started college. :oops: I just never cared about my hair before that, left it down most of the time and threw up not caring what it looked like if it was hot outside. I could always find someone else to braid it for horse shows, and my coach braided our horses because my braiding skills were very very sad. My mom braided my hair all of the time when I was little, and I could braid other people's hair, but it was completely different behind my own head. By the end of my sophomore year, I had the english braid mostly figured out. I had the weird twist thing for the longest time too. I've been working on the french braid for a few months now and it's starting to look less... horrendous. My problem with the french braid is trying to organize too many strands of hair and needing to use too many fingers! My coordination is improving though. Slowly but surely!

julya
July 1st, 2009, 11:23 PM
I taught myself to do a regular braid in my early 20s by doing braided pigtails daily, until I finally was able to do it quickly and easily, then I started working on learning how to do a single braid. I still haven't figured out how to do a french braid though.

shadowclaw
July 1st, 2009, 11:24 PM
I am unfortunately one of those people who can't french braid! I'm actually quite poor at doing any sort of braid to myself. I can now do a good rope braid starting with just my hair or in a ponytail. I can really only (English) braid my hair when I start with a ponytail. I often braid my hair before bed starting with just my hair, and I always wake up with it extremely loose and tons of hair hanging free.

I definitely understand the concept of the french braid, and I have a book as well as watched videos, but everything gets messy and twisted and I just can't keep everything in order. When I english braid, I usually can't get the beginning tight enough, and I also get the weird twisted piece when I bring it over my shoulder to finish it. Sometimes I try doing it straight up in the air (which is what I do for a rope), but that usually fails.

Flynn
July 1st, 2009, 11:46 PM
I am unfortunately one of those people who can't french braid! I'm actually quite poor at doing any sort of braid to myself. I can now do a good rope braid starting with just my hair or in a ponytail. I can really only (English) braid my hair when I start with a ponytail. I often braid my hair before bed starting with just my hair, and I always wake up with it extremely loose and tons of hair hanging free.

I definitely understand the concept of the french braid, and I have a book as well as watched videos, but everything gets messy and twisted and I just can't keep everything in order. When I english braid, I usually can't get the beginning tight enough, and I also get the weird twisted piece when I bring it over my shoulder to finish it. Sometimes I try doing it straight up in the air (which is what I do for a rope), but that usually fails.

I've found the trick to keeping it tidy is to make sure the parts that aren't actively involved in the braid are very clean, and the parts that are in the braid are either moderately oily or leave-in-conditioned.

Masara
July 1st, 2009, 11:50 PM
I remember learning to french braid at about 16 or 17. It wasn't a style remember seeing when I was a child but I started noticing it in my teens. My mum was fascinated and after staring at a few people's heads in shops etc, worked out the basic principles by herself and started braiding my hair. When I went away for a week, I asked a friend to do it, explaining how my mum did it (it didn't dawn on me that I could do it myself) Halfway through the braid, I asked her a question and got a very muffled answer. She was putting a strand of hair in her mouth with each cross over. I decided to learn to do it on myself very fast.

On the surprised people don't know how to (...) side. I have a friend whose hair is always somewhere between shoulder and BSL. She wears it in twists quite a lot. Her daughter had a dance show with mine this week and the instructions were to put it in a bun. She took her to a hairdresser. It turns out she doesn't know how to do a simple bun.

Flynn
July 1st, 2009, 11:56 PM
I remember learning to french braid at about 16 or 17. It wasn't a style remember seeing when I was a child but I started noticing it in my teens. My mum was fascinated and after staring at a few people's heads in shops etc, worked out the basic principles by herself and started braiding my hair. When I went away for a week, I asked a friend to do it, explaining how my mum did it (it didn't dawn on me that I could do it myself) H

That's why I learned it: so I could do it on other people! It's far easier to do it on someone else.


(Hahaha, on camps and things, I had a couple of friends who loved it when I braided their hair straight after I did mine, which was a pixie at that time, because their braids stayed all day. XD I'd have just enough wax left on my hands that it would bind their hair together enough to keep a braid really well, without it looking like there was anything in it. Also, I was a good person to ask because it took me so little time to do my own I always had time for someone else's.)

eternallyverdan
July 2nd, 2009, 12:44 AM
I just figured out French braids a few weeks ago, and I'm still not very good at them-- I've always been terrible at getting strands that are all the same size, so I've mostly just given up and started doing styles that don't require any sort of evenness.

Stormsong
July 2nd, 2009, 08:28 AM
I learnt to braid very early in life (up until I was around 12 I had very long hair that was brushed out and braided by mum before school each day, and I picked up the basic braid then). I worked out french braiding in my early teens, then I taught my youngest sister.

She could french braid anybody else's hair with no problem, but as soon as she tried to do her own hair, it ended up in what I now know is a Dutch braid. We always figured she couldn't do it on her own hair because she was a lefty and nearly always had to learn stuff from the rest of the family as a mirror image as the rest of us were all righties, and that the mirror imaging aspect is what caused her to turn her attempt to french braid her own hair ending up as a Dutch Braid (it was always a very neat perfect dutch braid though!)

Brownie
July 2nd, 2009, 08:43 AM
I want to know how to do a French braid, let alone all the other ones, but don't know how to teach myself, as I'm a very visual person, and can't see the back of my head.

I'm a very visual person as well. Look at several videos and then try to visualize what you want to do at the back of your head. It's really confusing to look into a mirror while braiding because everything is mirrored :D
And don't give up if it doesn't look like the hairstyle you wanted to do at first.
I was able to do a French braid after several weeks of trying :o
Visualizing the process of braiding from my point of view was my key to success ;)

swanns
July 2nd, 2009, 10:54 AM
My mum always made me practice French braiding on my Barbies when I was little, eventhough I only had a short bob back then. Clearly she could foresee what was coming... :D

florenonite
July 2nd, 2009, 11:20 AM
:oops: I only know how to do the simple three strand braid. (I believe that's an English braid?) I want to know how to do a French braid, let alone all the other ones, but don't know how to teach myself, as I'm a very visual person, and can't see the back of my head. Once I figure out how to do it initially, I should be able to do it, but...

You could try and do it along your hairline so you can see what you're doing. Or you could find a willing (or not so willing :p) friend, sibling, etc. on whom you could practice. I found, though, I used to be able to only Dutch braid myself and French braid others because the way in which you cross over the strands for those two is more similar than Dutch braiding or French braiding both.


I was hoping this was going to be a thread about learning to French braid :( I am actually shocked to learn that French braiding is considered common knowledge to some. To me, its like an advanced hair skill.

It was really only once I found LHC that I realised it wasn't common knowledge. Since being here I've noticed that a lot of people don't, but I just kind of taught myself to do it, and a lot of my friends at high school, or at least those who had long enough hair and wore it up regularly, could do it. That's really why I started this thread, not in mockery or anything (and I get the impression that you feel that way, and I'm sorry), but because I don't want to have another moment where I gawp at someone and say "you don't know how to do x?!" It's ok when I do it to my sister, because she's my sister, but what if it was someone I don't know so well who told me they didn't know how to, for instance, do a cinnabun?


I don't think the skills are transferable. My mother braided my hair when I was little, and when I got too old for that, I just didn't wear braids anymore. :shrug: And yes, we braided thread all the time for crafts. However, knowing the theory of braiding doesn't mean one can do it neatly behind one's head.

During grad school, I taught myself to braid after I'd ponytailed my hair (but couldn't do it starting from loose hair). For months, my braid always had a weird twist halfway down because it got messed up when I brought it forward over my shoulder. It wasn't until I joined LHC that I learned to do a proper English braid, and my French braiding skills are still mediocre.

That's a good point. I think I learnt to do two braids on myself for the longest time before I learnt to do only one, so perhaps that's why it never occurred to me that knowing how to do it on others doesn't necessarily translate into knowing how to do it on oneself.

Rivanariko
July 2nd, 2009, 11:59 AM
Newbie question...

What is the difference between a dutch braid and a french braid? I've never heard of a dutch braid before...

And I don't know how to do a cinnabun. Or, really any kind of bun besides a sloppy messy bun. That's my next project, once I get the french braid figured out.

florenonite
July 2nd, 2009, 01:16 PM
Newbie question...

What is the difference between a dutch braid and a french braid? I've never heard of a dutch braid before...

And I don't know how to do a cinnabun. Or, really any kind of bun besides a sloppy messy bun. That's my next project, once I get the french braid figured out.

A Dutch braid is also called an inverted French braid; rather than crossing the outside strands over the inside strand, one crosses the outside strands under the inside one, such that the braid stands out in relief.

Stormsong
July 2nd, 2009, 01:19 PM
The difference between a french and a dutch braid is where you bring the hair into the braid from. In a french braid (http://dcwblogs.com/beauty/media/french-braid1.jpg) you bring the hair in on the top and in a dutch braid (http://content5.videojug.com/0a/0a6f1ae0-cd83-d05b-ee13-ff0008ca4b7c/how-to-dutch-braid-hair-2.jpg) you bring it in from underneath.


Resulting in the french braid giving a smooth transition from the hair into the braid, and the dutch braid looking like you pinned a braid on the top/back of your head.

At least that's my vision of the two :)

Lohari
July 2nd, 2009, 01:37 PM
Sometimes it just feels odd to think that someone just can't do or doesn't know how to do something that you yourself can do so well : D Like reading or writing, I can't even imagine anymore what it would feel like to not be able to read this forum for example.

I was once in a shop that sells gothic-punk-whatever-non-mainstream clothing with my friend. We were looking at fake lashes and then suddenly the cashier walks near me and is like "Umm, excuse me... How do you get your hair like that?" I was wearing two four-strand ropebraids at the sides of my head. So I explained her how and then my friend bought her lashes and we left the shop. I'm still not sure if she did understand my explaining XD A lot of people have been asking in school about fishtail braid (was it fishtail or bone...) too. "Oh, that doesn't look like a regular braid... How it is done? Did you do them yourself? I can't even do a basic braid, that looks so hard!"