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dropinthebucket
June 7th, 2010, 02:04 PM
Yesterday, fluke of all flukes, I managed something that kinda sorta halfway resembled a French braid! Ok, it was a mess - why oh why is it so hard to braid your own hair??? My fingers get all twisted, the hair sections slip away, and my hair's too short to put it in my mouth ("the third hand"!). I'm not quite at APL, so a plain old regular braid looks ok, but a bit short and stubby, and doesn't give me braid waves far enough up on my head, if ya know what I mean - just kinda waves the ends a bit. French braiding tips for the dexterity challenged would be much appreciated! Then I could have waves higher up, too, and it would look much nicer! :D And like the girl said a few threads ago for regular braiding, can anyone explain it to me like I am a two-year-old? :) TIA, and my undying and eternal gratitude ..... ;)

jane53
June 7th, 2010, 02:07 PM
I can do a basic braid but have never, ever been able to do a French braid. And even when others have tried to French braid my hair, it's pretty much a slippery mess.

So I need help too!!

heidihug
June 7th, 2010, 02:09 PM
Wish I could be of more help, but it took me a couple of years of every-so-often attempts to really learn how to french braid. Perhaps you could look it up on Youtube? I know I am a visual learner, it's easier to copy something I've seen done rather than just described to me in text. To give you some hope, I can braid quite dextrously now.

frizzalot
June 7th, 2010, 02:16 PM
I think it's just practice. You could try using it for a bedtime style, if you practiced every night you'd definetly get better. Your fingers have to get that 'feel' for it.

Also, oiled hair would be easier to practice with as it tends to 'stick together' more.

hth

emmabovary
June 7th, 2010, 02:16 PM
I wish I could help, but I've known French braiding since I was a little girl so I don't really know what it is I do. For me watching video tutorials is the best way to learn new do's.

Squeak toy
June 7th, 2010, 03:46 PM
I got a $10 book from a women who braids hair at renisance fairs. It is called How to Braid Your Own Hair. Her website is the braided image. It is amazing and so easy.

Squeak toy
June 7th, 2010, 03:52 PM
I forgot she also sells videos.

fairytalegirl
June 8th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Sometimes it is easier to do a dutch braid on yourself. There are some great tutorials on youtube (torrinpaige). Also, if you take larger sections they are more forgiving.

moominhapa
June 8th, 2010, 06:51 AM
Someone else linked to torrinpaige, so I'll just second that recommendation.

I really think anyone who can do a regular English braid can learn to do a French braid with some practice. With an English braid it's left strand over middle, right strand over middle to the end. With a French braid, it's the same thing, but you add a little bit of hair before crossing the strands. So you start a regular braid at the crown, add some hair to one of the outside strands, cross it over the middle, add to the other side, cross it over the middle, and so on. I'm not sure those are the best instructions in the world, but there are many around here. I'm sure you can do it! Just watch some videos and keep practicing.:)

On a side note, does it bother anyone else that the Braided Image site says it's intended only for white girls? I'm sure it's not meant in a bad way, but still, that excludes a lot of people.

FrannyG
June 8th, 2010, 06:56 AM
I was always really braid challenged, as I don't have much dexterity, but after I joined LHC I made a mission of learning how to braid.

It took practice, practice, practice. Sometimes, I would try a new braid a few times until I knew I'd get frustrated with it, and then I'd try again the next day.

Finally, muscle memory started to kick in and now I can French Braid, Dutch braid, do 4 strand box braids and 5 strand braids. All I can tell you is that it took a lot of practice, and even more patience.

You can do it. If it doesn't work one day, try it the next. And then the next. Eventually, you'll have it. Once you have it, you have it forever. :blossom:

Purdy Bear
June 8th, 2010, 07:35 AM
Theres a couple of things you can do:

Get yourself some string (yep I said string), and cut into even lengths (about 21 inches) each, and do about ten or twelve strands (you can increase it if you so wish). Tie them together at the top, this will give you a practice pony. Any braids you want to try you can trail out on your string pony.


Practicing with someone elses hair might be handy, sometimes its easier this way, to get your brain and your hands round it. That is how my Grandmother taught me my first braid.

Iv also found drawing out each stage in a clear diagram really helps.

Another vote for Torrin Paige's videos, they are very easy to follow.


PS: I dont have hair at the moment, so I practice on a hairdressers styling head.

countryhopper
June 8th, 2010, 07:42 AM
The only thing I'd add to everyone's great advice would be to try practicing when you have time and no place to hurry off to. I like to practice in the evenings while on the computer (and usually reading the braid instructions!) because if I am rushed (mornings) that almost always leads to failure.

Take your time! No rush!


I think 90% of getting the hang of braiding is training your hands how to hold the hair, not so much the technique.

Anje
June 8th, 2010, 07:53 AM
There are a bunch of tutorials online, such as on youtube and on Dreamweaver Braiding (http://www.dreamweaverbraiding.com/braids/self_french.htm).

The set of instructions I learned with were in the Klutz book "Hair", though, and they suggested letting the strand in the middle (which had just been crossed over) drop:
So say you just added hair to the right. You cross that rightmost section to the middle and let it fall loose. Then you use your left hand to add hair to the leftmost section. After this, you lift your right hand (holding the other two sections), reach underneath, and grab the middle section. Let the formerly leftmost section (where hair was most recently added) drop over the section you're holding, then pick up the farthest right section in your left hand. The you repeat -- Use the right hand to add hair to the right section, reach under and grab the middle, drop the section with newly added hair, and grab the leftmost section with your right hand.

Clear as mud?

Ramona_Fosca
June 8th, 2010, 09:20 AM
Practice. Some more practice. And when you're done with that, practice some more :p

For me, it did help to forget about the middle strand, i.e. hold the left strand in your left, the right in your right. When the middle strand becomes the right or left again, just gather the hair that's inbetween your strands (is that understandable?). For me, that solved the two-hands-three-strands-problem...

GeoJ
June 8th, 2010, 09:39 AM
I am still terrible at French braids on myself, and have only recently learned to do them on my daughter, but I can do Dutch braids on myself. I learned by doing them on the side of my head so I could kind of see what I was doing (although I was trying to do French braids, I kept doing Dutch braids by accident, so I just went with it). Then I practiced a lot. Now Dutch braids are easy, French braids, and any two strand done in that style (adding new sections kind-of-style) are still difficult for me.

Ravenne
June 8th, 2010, 09:54 AM
I did the "drop the third strand" method for a long time. Eventually I got frustrated with it because it was slow, my arms were killing me, and the braid turned out too loose. I finally just sat down and played with my hair without a mirror until I figured out a system. I've never seen anyone else hold their hair during a french braid like I do. I hold all three strands in one hand: between thumb and first, between first and middle, and between middle and ring. I add hair to the middle section, then take the thumb/first section in the other hand in the middle/ring slot and move the other two down so that the first/middle is in thumb/first, and middle/ring is in first middle. Basically just rotating them as I go. Once I hit the end and stop adding I start braiding more normally. I keep meaning to do a video tutorial with this braiding method. I do dutch braids like this too, except I move the strands in the other direction. This way's a little harder for me. Tends to be looser and less comfortable.

But yeah.. Just.. practice. Find a method of holding the hair that works for you. The things you see online are suggestions, not the only way. :) Just practice at night when you're not pushed for time and leave it be and do something else when you start getting frustrated. Braiding for bed is a good idea, that's how I got good at french braids. Now french braids and bun/hairstick are my normal styles for day to day.

GRU
June 8th, 2010, 10:18 AM
On a side note, does it bother anyone else that the Braided Image site says it's intended only for white girls? I'm sure it's not meant in a bad way, but still, that excludes a lot of people.

I don't think that it's meant "only for white girls" but rather that it's not intended to be "ethnic hair braiding" (cornrows, beading, etc.).

Actually, the way it was worded threw me for a second, because it said it was about braiding for "white hair" which (with me not being racially-minded in the least) just brought to mind a mental image of white-haired little old ladies! :p

dropinthebucket
June 8th, 2010, 02:19 PM
Wow, great tips and advice! Thank you all so much! One of my students actually gave me one of those big, hairdressing Barbie heads last year (um....ok, long story, tell ya about it some other time! :D) - maybe I can practice on that?! It actually might be useful! :) I will watch the video link, try the suggested tips, and if I can get it together and make something that doesn't resemble a patchy hair mess, I'll post picsies!! ;) - TY -

moominhapa
June 8th, 2010, 03:08 PM
I don't think that it's meant "only for white girls" but rather that it's not intended to be "ethnic hair braiding" (cornrows, beading, etc.).

Actually, the way it was worded threw me for a second, because it said it was about braiding for "white hair" which (with me not being racially-minded in the least) just brought to mind a mental image of white-haired little old ladies! :p

Yeah, that's what I figured. It just seemed like a weird way to put it to me! But it would be hilarious if there were someone out there who refused to braid anyone's hair but little old ladies'. :p

GRU
June 8th, 2010, 06:45 PM
Yeah, that's what I figured. It just seemed like a weird way to put it to me!

I know, I thought it was worded awkwardly... maybe they actually felt uncomfortable saying anything about it at all. I know there are still people in the world who have no problem with stuff being "white" or "black", but there are also a lot of people who simply see things as "human" without a color/race/ethnicity association. I wonder if they got a lot of emails asking "where are the cornrow instructions" and they put that up to explain? (It would be interesting to know why it's worded that way... I'm such a nerdy-wordie, I know!)


But it would be hilarious if there were someone out there who refused to braid anyone's hair but little old ladies'. :p

That's someone who would have a VERY low annual income! Although, when enough of us LHCers stop hennaing our hair..... :D

Holly9192
June 8th, 2010, 09:51 PM
Searching for videos online has helped me learn a lot of styles, I just recently learned to french braid from a youtube video.