View Full Version : French braids with tailbone (and some) length hair

September 23rd, 2010, 09:57 AM
Hi all, wondering if I can get some advice for braiding my own hair, doing anyone else's is easy enough.

Braiding my own hair is one of those things I'm just not good at but I'm practicing (even if just to put my hair up before bed so I don't have it try to strangle me at night) but my problem is that the strands are so long that I struggle to get them through each time, and they tangle on each other and on the rest of the hair. Help? Is there some trick to this so I don't end up weaving my hair together undesirably?

I also have a lot of trouble at the nape of my neck (it's really loose) but I'm sure that's something that will change with time and practice, though if anyone could give me advice with that as well I'd be grateful :)


September 23rd, 2010, 10:08 AM
I try to make sure my hair is completely tangle free before attempting braiding, and while I have my fingers holding each new section of hair that I'm incorporating into the braid I will take my one hand and completely untangle it from the ends before actually braiding it into the rest. I guess trying to untangle your hair before and during is my advice, sorry I don't have anything better for you : )

September 23rd, 2010, 10:10 AM
First I have to comb very carefully to make sure everything is tangle-free. Then I have to hold all my hair in one hand while I slide my other hand down my hair to separate the strands almost every turn of the braid at first. My nape area still turns out too loose from time to time, but practice helps.

September 23rd, 2010, 10:15 AM
Sounds like it's just one of those things then, sigh. This is even with really untangled hair, it's just that the long strands catch on everything else and I get this huge mess I have to straighten out every time I do one bit of the braid.

Does it help if it's damp when you braid it? I can't braid wet, it's way too heavy, but damp might be ok?

September 23rd, 2010, 10:29 AM
Have you tried different kinds of braids? I find that French braids tangle terribly on me, but Dutch braids do not. I don't really know why. I also find braiding damp or oiled does help.

Also, I like to braid over my shoulder to prevent arm strain.

As far as English braids go, check out Torrinpaige's youtube channel and look for her faux french braid video. I think you can find it here under chopandchange's article. It holds really well. I use it for all my english braids now, even ones that start out with a hairband because it is so secure.

Torrinpaige has tons of braiding videos on youtube and she has really long hair. maybe watching how she manipulates her hair during braiding will help you with your tangle issues. She sort of does a separate and slide down detangle sort of thing.

HTH :-)

September 23rd, 2010, 10:37 AM
I forgot to mention that I only do dutch braids as well, for me they seem to hold better. As for the braiding when hair is damp you should try it to see if its easier, for my hair it actually makes it worse but everyone is different.

As mentioned above Torrin has a tutorial on a "faux" french braid that is much easier to do, I often do it to save time of having to deal with dutch braiding. Here is the link (http://www.youtube.com/user/torrinpaige#p/u/15/2kOyGD_KOoA), hope that helps.

September 23rd, 2010, 10:44 AM
The faux french braid is awesome, and I am going to have to remember that one :)

I think I'll just have to try doing it damp - a lot of the problem seems to be that my hair is just so light that it goes everywhere except where I want it!

Thanks all :)

September 23rd, 2010, 10:48 AM
I agree with previous advice about detangling before and during. Damp and/or dried freshly washed hair don't work for me. Best surface on my fine hair is a greasy one, so maybe a little oil might help? Perhaps also wearing a non-static, hair-friendly top while you're braiding might help?

Torrin's faux french braid brought me to tears and a lot of pulled out hair when I tried it. Probably because I'm incompetent. But I can't get my nape hair taut in french braids at all. I'm thinking it's because of the shape of my hairline back there. There's a deeper v section that has a little bit of hair, which doesn't want to stay in any sections at all. I get these strange thin loops right there.

September 23rd, 2010, 10:51 AM
When my braids end up loose at the nape I cheat and use an elastic at the base of the braid to hold everything together a bit better.

September 23rd, 2010, 11:00 AM
I have the same problem with a french braid. If I get it too loose at the nape I pin the loose hair up and under the braid and hold that hair with 2 crossed bobby pins, pinning in the same manner as you would for a pin curl.

September 23rd, 2010, 11:08 AM
I, too, find a Dutch braid is way easier to do on myself than a French braid. Something about the way my fingers face when my hands are above my head, I think. And it's easier to hold all the strands in one hand without them deciding to mingle. Unfortunately, I can't offer much advice on separating out strands without tangling, because I haven't even hit BSL yet. I just grab the new hair section into the braid with one hand, and then finger-comb once down the length of the new section, and once down the length of the hair that isn't in the braid yet.

September 23rd, 2010, 12:16 PM
I have to fingercomb through the strands with one hand while I'm holding the braid-so-far with my other hand - otherwise it loves a good tangle. :rolleyes: There is a trick to getting the nape hair a little less loose, I think TorrinPaige mentioned it in one of her videos - when you're at the nape of your neck with your last hair-added strands, swap the outer two of the three strands so the right becomes the left, and vice versa. Hope that makes sense. :)

September 23rd, 2010, 09:19 PM
Oooh that's a clever trick pepperminttea, thanks!

I'll have to have a go at all of these, and of course practice practice practice. But that's ok, got the weekend and plenty of tv to watch so I can sit with a hairbrush and my hair and play :)

September 23rd, 2010, 09:26 PM
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think that for some people (like me :()French braids just don't work. I've tried doing them with my hair wet, dry, damp, clean, greasy, with aloe vera, with various oils, making sure to finger-comb all they way down each strand, and with other types of gather-y braids. My hair still tangles like nobody's business when I try to French braid.

I still do it though-- I keep trying to untangle until I can't anymore, and then I just continue braiding until I've incorporated all of the hair, leaving the ends alone. Then I put an elastic at the nape to hold that in place and spend 15 minutes detangling the backward mess of a braid that's at the bottom of my hair, then remove the elastic and do an English braid on the rest.

I certainly hope that your hair isn't as evil as mine, though-- it seems like most people can find some trick to get a French braid to work for them.

September 24th, 2010, 12:43 AM
I put my head far back (like looking up) when I'm braiding the nape area. Doesn't completely fix it, but it's much better than the whole loseness going on when I braid without mentally painting the ceiling. :D

September 24th, 2010, 07:29 AM
But I can't get my nape hair taut in french braids at all. I'm thinking it's because of the shape of my hairline back there. There's a deeper v section that has a little bit of hair, which doesn't want to stay in any sections at all. I get these strange thin loops right there.
Oh, I have that same problem! Although it's even worse when I do a Dutch. I've never thought about it possibly being because of my hairline, but maybe that's it. Those loops drive me nuts. Nice to know I'm not alone in getting them.

I put my head far back (like looking up) when I'm braiding the nape area. Doesn't completely fix it, but it's much better than the whole loseness going on when I braid without mentally painting the ceiling. :D
Thanks for the tip, I'ma have to try that!

September 26th, 2010, 10:44 AM
I have tailbone-length hair also, and I was having some of the same issues. I made several attempts at French braiding for the first time yesterday (never done one on someone else either). My hair is very slippery, and getting it damp worked well for me. That seemed to make the individual hairs in each hair section clump together instead of getting caught on the other sections.

My biggest issue, though, was that my arms kept getting tired! (^(oo)^)v

September 26th, 2010, 11:00 AM
I can do all sorts of braids, but non of the gathering styles. my hair tangles awfully and I always have to detangle as I go, and stop, and go, and even then, it can become a terribly loopy mess.

Sorry if I'm no help, but I feel for you.

September 26th, 2010, 11:09 AM
Thanks all :) Practice seems to be key - french braids look great in my hair when other people do them!

Hehehehe luxepiggy - my arms get tired too!

September 26th, 2010, 11:12 AM
Good question. I struggle with this too.

September 26th, 2010, 12:41 PM
Torrinpage has a trick for this on her YouTube channel. It's better you just watch her French braid video than have me try to explain it.

September 26th, 2010, 03:37 PM
my hair is just about waist length, i do what torrinpaige suggested: when you get to almost at the nape, i take that bottom layer that i'm about to add and switch the left side with the right side, then continue braiding.
wet or dry doesn't really make a difference to me, i was able to french braid first and then dutch came all of a sudden later. French and dutch are great for keeping in my layers when i'm at the gym!