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Kaelee
July 1st, 2012, 10:07 AM
How the heck do you keep the sections/strands separate? My sections always want to comingle with each other (I have very fine straight hair and lots of it!) and my braids are messy at best.

Vanilla
July 1st, 2012, 10:08 AM
I braid with damp hair. I'll spray my hair down with some water, and it helps to keep the braid look not as messy and helps to keep the strands separate.

firegypsy
July 1st, 2012, 10:13 AM
slightly damp hair, and many little claw clips to keep sections separated!

Vanille_
July 1st, 2012, 10:20 AM
I know this isn't very helpful, but it's a matter of practice. Eventually your fingers just do it. It's actually turned into muscle memory (automatic actions like driving a car which you can do on autopilot after a lot of practice.

I will say it could be a matter of hair type too though. My hair is only II and pretty slippery. My friend would be like a IIIIIII (haha) and her hair is hard to keep separated.

Madora
July 1st, 2012, 10:24 AM
The strands are always kept separate because each time I make a crossover, I make sure to go down the lengths with my spread fingers (think of a kind of "rake" effect) to keep the 3 sections separate. For me, this is a necessity as it prevents "braiding at the bottom".

The more practice you have, the easier it will become to keep those strands separated.

Kaelee
July 1st, 2012, 10:27 AM
Yea, I figured it's a matter of practice. My hair is at APL with layers now, so there's not much I can do with it. I think if it was a little longer it'd be easier!

Vanille_
July 1st, 2012, 10:41 AM
Yea, I figured it's a matter of practice. My hair is at APL with layers now, so there's not much I can do with it. I think if it was a little longer it'd be easier!


Oh! That makes sense! I'm sure it will get easier with practice. I can't do the fishtail braid because I've only tried once. Sectioning seems impossible. But I've done other braids so often, I don't think about it.

spidermom
July 1st, 2012, 10:44 AM
Like Madora, I rake the fingers of one hand all the way down to the ends after each cross-over. Otherwise my ends kind of reverse-braid themselves.

Kaelee
July 1st, 2012, 11:04 AM
It's amazing I can braid anything in front of my head (even complicated box braids but I wouldn't try that with hair!) but behind? Nah. LOL and it makes my arms hurt. Please tell me I CAN get good at this?

Lostsoule77
July 1st, 2012, 11:09 AM
I do what Madora & Spidermom do. Plus I've been braiding since I was a child and french braiding since my preteen years. For some of the braids I've tried like the 4 or 5 strands it's a bit harder, but just takes patience and practice. :D

Zesty
July 1st, 2012, 11:23 AM
I do the same thing as Madora, spidermom, etc. Essentially you fingercomb or smooth each section every "turn" or two, and it helps a lot. As others have said, eventually it becomes second nature.

gillybeanxo3921
July 1st, 2012, 11:39 AM
It really just takes practice. After a while, your muscles develop more and your arms don't get as tired, and you can go faster, too.

I feel like I have a feel for my head and hair now, and even though I can't see the back of my head, I've learnt how to tell where everything is and how to manage it all just by how the strands are wrapped around my fingers. Anyone else feel like this?

Just keep practicing. If your arms become tired and you feel frustrated, take a break and do something soothing, and come back to it later. Eventually you will become proficient at braiding. I remember always getting so irritable because my arms would be so sore and I couldn't get a french braid right, but after a while you just get it.

The more you practice after you get it, the better they come out, and the quicker you can go. I can do a smooth french braid in less than a minute.

If you practice starting lower on your head- like maybe your ears, and french braid starting from there it may be easier for you. Once you get that down you could practice going higher.

embee
July 1st, 2012, 11:51 AM
I'm with spidermom and Madora - after each crossover I run my hand down the length to make sure the pieces are separated all the way down.

Madora
July 1st, 2012, 11:57 AM
It really just takes practice. After a while, your muscles develop more and your arms don't get as tired, and you can go faster, too.

I feel like I have a feel for my head and hair now, and even though I can't see the back of my head, I've learnt how to tell where everything is and how to manage it all just by how the strands are wrapped around my fingers. Anyone else feel like this?

Just keep practicing. If your arms become tired and you feel frustrated, take a break and do something soothing, and come back to it later. Eventually you will become proficient at braiding. I remember always getting so irritable because my arms would be so sore and I couldn't get a french braid right, but after a while you just get it.

The more you practice after you get it, the better they come out, and the quicker you can go. I can do a smooth french braid in less than a minute.

If you practice starting lower on your head- like maybe your ears, and french braid starting from there it may be easier for you. Once you get that down you could practice going higher.

Excellent advice, gillybeanxo3921! Yes, the more you practice, the more you build up those arm/shoulder muscles. It does take time! Also, your fingers become more sensitive to the braiding motions and you "feel" the strands more intimately.

One suggestion to anyone who is frustrated with trying lace crown braid around their head...try doing it while seated, with your head down and all your detangled hair in front of you.

It took me a month to master, but I finally mastered it..and found that I still had a lovely crown braid, even though I didn't braid in the customary standing, hands at the back of my head position.

swearnsue
July 1st, 2012, 12:01 PM
How the heck do you keep the sections/strands separate? My sections always want to comingle with each other (I have very fine straight hair and lots of it!) and my braids are messy at best.

I have trouble with that too so I asked hubby if he would help me braid my hair. He said, "OK but I'll have to wrap each section with duct tape to keep them separate". MEN! So I guess, like you, we we will just have to practice and learn how!:)

Alexblue
July 1st, 2012, 12:15 PM
I have trouble with that too so I asked hubby if he would help me braid my hair. He said, "OK but I'll have to wrap each section with duct tape to keep them separate". MEN! So I guess, like you, we we will just have to practice and learn how!:)

First time I attempted a fishbraid, I looked a tutorial on youtube then asked my DH to assist. "You hold one section, I'll hold the other" sort of thing. It turned out horrible but we had a great laugh in the process :-D

Now, on my own, I can do them perfectly, but it takes practice. May be 15-20 braids before they started looking nice.
My DH also now has a new appreciation for the skill us girls have!

mallorykay13
July 1st, 2012, 01:03 PM
The strands are always kept separate because each time I make a crossover, I make sure to go down the lengths with my spread fingers (think of a kind of "rake" effect) to keep the 3 sections separate. For me, this is a necessity as it prevents "braiding at the bottom".

The more practice you have, the easier it will become to keep those strands separated.

This. If you keep "resectioning" every time you do a turn, it keeps them separate. I think Torrin Paige explains this in her "Back to Basics" videos. (two parts)

torrilin
July 1st, 2012, 02:08 PM
Something I haven't seen anyone else mention... Things like lace braids, French braids, and Dutch braids don't actually need tons of length. You can do headband variations or twin braid versions even with hair around chin length. The earlier you start practicing, the better. The first tries will be awful and embarrassing, but if you keep at it... eventually it looks good. (and I think most of the time for me it's more like 30-40 attempts before I'm actually happy with a new braid)

I think for most of us, trying to braid with the aid of a mirror is really difficult or flat out impossible. Working by feel tends to be a lot easier, even if it seems harder at first.

Shiranshoku
July 1st, 2012, 02:24 PM
Something I haven't seen anyone else mention... Things like lace braids, French braids, and Dutch braids don't actually need tons of length. You can do headband variations or twin braid versions even with hair around chin length. The earlier you start practicing, the better. The first tries will be awful and embarrassing, but if you keep at it... eventually it looks good. (and I think most of the time for me it's more like 30-40 attempts before I'm actually happy with a new braid)

I think for most of us, trying to braid with the aid of a mirror is really difficult or flat out impossible. Working by feel tends to be a lot easier, even if it seems harder at first.

I was thinking the exact same things. French braids are a blessing for people with layered and/or short hair. I myself have pretty fine, straight hair -and lots of it- and when I was growing out layers a french braid was my style to go.

Practice makes perfect. My advice would be to practice in the evening, while you're reading or watching tv. That way, it doesn't have to be perfect, 'cause it's more like braid training :) I find that braiding my hair while doing something else is very relaxing, plus it helps you develop a 'feel' for your own hair and how you should best hold it in your hands.

I can do several braids on myself, even complicated ones, but working with a mirror makes me mess up all the time.

So just keep trying. It'll get better, don't worry.

Tisiloves
July 1st, 2012, 02:35 PM
Practice makes perfect. Also I do a lot of textile based crafts so my fingers are kept pretty nimble and good at feeling their way around fibres.

Madora
July 1st, 2012, 02:49 PM
Something I haven't seen anyone else mention... Things like lace braids, French braids, and Dutch braids don't actually need tons of length. You can do headband variations or twin braid versions even with hair around chin length. The earlier you start practicing, the better. The first tries will be awful and embarrassing, but if you keep at it... eventually it looks good. (and I think most of the time for me it's more like 30-40 attempts before I'm actually happy with a new braid)

I think for most of us, trying to braid with the aid of a mirror is really difficult or flat out impossible. Working by feel tends to be a lot easier, even if it seems harder at first.

I agree 100%. The earlier you start, the better. Don't be discouraged if it looks like hell at first. Keep at it!

I rarely look in the mirror either. It's too confusing. When I first began, I just said the motions out loud as I made them. In time your fingers' sensitivity will kick in.

Ticky
July 1st, 2012, 03:28 PM
It happens to me when I french/dutch braid. I, too, try to finger comb the sections as I go, otherwise... :run:

heidi w.
July 1st, 2012, 03:47 PM
When beginning my braid and first getting 3 sections, I go down the entire length of the hair and separate the sections out very clearly from one another. Then I proceed with braiding. Sometimes the lower lengths kind of crisscross, but that's just a matter of each time I'm doing a part of the weave to go down the length and make sure the hair is still clearly divided. Practice matters a lot to braiding. I'd suggest trying it on a doll's hair and practice that way, and then try your own hair. The skill does translate. But practice is key.

When I braid it's only dry hair that I work with. Wet or damp hair presents lots of additional problems when braiding damp or wet hair.

heidi w.

jojo
July 1st, 2012, 05:42 PM
I use my fingers to separate the hair, hard to explain really but it just becomes second nature now, not that I wear a braid all that often they make my arms ache doing them :)

jeanniet
July 1st, 2012, 05:50 PM
For practicing, I'd suggest oiling your hair, maybe before doing a wash. It helps to keep the sections together, and makes it easier to run your fingers down the length with each crossover so you can keep the sections untangled. Trying to braid damp hair doesn't work very well for me, but oil makes it much easier. I also find it's best to braid with my eyes shut--I can concentrate better that way.

Practicing when your hair is shorter is a really good idea, because the longer it is the more there is to deal with. Once your fingers know what to do, it'll be a piece of cake.

swearnsue
July 1st, 2012, 06:00 PM
It is really encouraging to know that a mirror isn't required and it can be done by fingering alone. It's too hard to get my hair into focus in the mirror but I thought it was necessary until I read the above posts! Cool!

Madora
July 1st, 2012, 06:12 PM
When I braid it's only dry hair that I work with. Wet or damp hair presents lots of additional problems when braiding damp or wet hair.

heidi w.

Man, you're so right, Heidi W!!

Today I dampened down my hair a bit with water (preparatory for submitting a braid waves pic) and what a mess! Braiding wet, long hair is an exercise in patience. Not for me (but for this once).

Tisiloves
July 1st, 2012, 06:15 PM
Man, you're so right, Heidi W!!

Today I dampened down my hair a bit with water (preparatory for submitting a braid waves pic) and what a mess! Braiding wet, long hair is an exercise in patience. Not for me (but for this once).


Have you tried just dampening the outside of the braid after you've plaited it? I used to do something similar to wet set flexi-rod curls because my hair dries so slowly, it worked pretty well.

Torrin Paige
July 27th, 2012, 06:01 PM
Heya, Kaelee, I don't know if you've mastered the "finger detangling" of each section while braiding yet, but I just did a vid on the basics of French/Dutch braiding and hopefully it'll make it easier to understand how to go about it.

http://youtu.be/HTUiDFhzjao

MrsGuther
July 27th, 2012, 06:40 PM
The strands are always kept separate because each time I make a crossover, I make sure to go down the lengths with my spread fingers (think of a kind of "rake" effect) to keep the 3 sections separate. For me, this is a necessity as it prevents "braiding at the bottom".

The more practice you have, the easier it will become to keep those strands separated.

I do the same thing. Oh, and practice, practice, practice! :)

Mya
July 27th, 2012, 07:12 PM
When I braid it's only dry hair that I work with. Wet or damp hair presents lots of additional problems when braiding damp or wet hair.

heidi w.


Man, you're so right, Heidi W!!

Today I dampened down my hair a bit with water (preparatory for submitting a braid waves pic) and what a mess! Braiding wet, long hair is an exercise in patience. Not for me (but for this once).
I'm so with you both!