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French braiding is very beautiful and gives an elegant look to hair. The technique is different from regular braiding, because the hair is brought into the braid gradually, beginning at the top of the head and working down to the nape of the neck.

To determine if the hair is long enough to be French braided, take a strand of hair from directly above the ear and pull it straight back to the back of the head. If the hair extends at least four inches past the head, it is long enough to French braid.

Follow these steps:

1. Part the hair down the middle on top of the head.

2. On each side of the center part, section off a strand of hair about one-half inch wide. This is done by running parallel parts, on each side of the center part, from the front of the head toward the back.

3. Pull the strands straight back, combing smoothly.

4. At the back of the center part, at the crown of the head, section off a strand that is equal in size to the side strands.

Note: It is not necessary to make the parts perfectly straight, but it is important to keep the strands uniform in size. If the strands are not close to the same size, the braid will not look even.

5. Using these three strands of hair, braid them by pulling the left strand over the center strand and then the right strand over the center strand. Keep the braid close to the head.

6. Hold the strands securely while you section another half-inch strand from the left and right side of the head. Section these strands by running new parallel parts directly under the previous parts.

7. Add the new left strand to the left section and the new right strand to the right section.

8. Take an equal sized strand from just under the first center strand and add it to that center section.

9. Braid the left strand over the center, then the right strand over the center.

10. Continue adding sections from the left, right and center, braiding down the back of the head. Be sure to keep the braid very close to the head.

11. After each cycle of braiding (left over center, right over center), add new strands to the braid. When the braid reaches the nape of the neck, all the hair should be incorporated into the braid.

12. Continue with regular three-strand braiding, until the braid is as long as desired.

13. Use an elastic band or hair ornament to secure the end of the braid.

How to make the French braid fancier:

1. Add narrow ribbon or yarn to some strands of hair and braid as usual.

2. Weave fresh or artificial flowers into the braid.

3. Bring the bottom of the braid up to the crown, turn the end of the braid under and secure. This creates an elegant hairstyle that is attractive on most people.

4. Pin tiny hair ornaments along the sides of the braid on the back of the head.

It is possible to French braid your own hair by positioning a mirror so you can see the back of the head. Whether you braid your own hair or someone else’s, the French braid becomes easier with practice.

Have fun French braiding!