When you grow up with short hair and no sisters, braiding hair is not something you ever really learn. But one day, your daughter will come to you, long hair down and ask you how to braid her hair. Because braids are cute and your daughter probably wants them. And, unless you’re a wizard with a butterfly clip, you will need to know how to transform her locks into a stunning arrangement of knots.
Here, you’ll find information on three popular styles of braids and how to tie each one. The under-over-under process may seem complicated at first, but with practice, it’ll become second nature. In fact, you may find yourself trying to beat your last record like a rodeo cowboy hog-tying a calf. But, you know, gentler. Plus: Braiding hair is a bonding experience between parent and child. There you are, standing still together, enjoying the moment. It’s really a nice thing. So, learn these essential styles and you’ll make a lifetime of memories.
The French Braid Pigtail
More difficult than it appears, the “French Braid” is a braid that includes three separated sections of hair that starts from the crown of the head and flow all the way to the nape of the neck. There are a ton of different variations on the theme. The most practical version is the French braid pigtail — two separate french braids on opposite sides of the head to create a pigtail effect. Not only is it super cute, but it’s also versatile.
How to Braid a French Braid Pigtail
- To begin, separate the hair into two halves – the right side and the left side. Pin one side away so you don’t accidentally start braiding it. Then, on the unpinned side, gather three separate sections of hair at the crown of the head.
- Cross the strand on the far right over the center strand. The middle strand goes into the right hand and the right strand goes into the left hand.
- Then, cross the left strand over the middle strand. The strand that is in the middle then goes into the left hand.
- The strand that is in the right hand now goes over the middle strand. Hold all three strands in place with your left hand.
- Then you take a new section of hair, next to that strand you just braided over the middle strand, with your left hand. Then add it into the middle. Now, the strand that was in the middle, goes into the right hand.
- Repeat on the opposite side: the strand in the left hand goes over the middle. Take a section of hair that is next to that strand and add it to the middle. Then, take the strand that was in the middle, and hold it firmly in your left hand.
- Repeat those steps until you’ve reached the nape of the neck and then move into a basic braid. It gets easier the more your muscles work.
Bonus tip: A spray bottle full of water will help calm down those flyaways. Bobby-pins will help those layers that peek out, too, especially if you aren’t the most skilled braider.
The Twist Out with Bantu Knots
If your daughter’s hair is kinky, an extra cute (and easy!) hairstyle to do with your daughter is the two-strand twist out with double bantu knots. This hairstyle is appropriate for anything — school, a playdate, or a family dinner. Special shout out to a wonderfully detailed youtube tutorial from IAMAWOG.
- Divide your daughter’s hair into three parts: two parts on top equal in size, and then the third part on the bottom, being the largest.
- Depending on your daughter’s hair texture, you may need to work some moisturizing or conditioning cream through each section before you begin.
- Put a top section in a ponytail and then separate the hair into two sections. Twist them over one another until you’ve run out of hair. Wrap it around where the hair-tie is to create the bantu knot.
- Repeat those steps on the other side of her head.
- Begin the twist-out. The twist-outs can be any size, but note that the smaller the braids, the more volume the hair has when you take it out in the morning. You could make up to a dozen twists if you wanted to — it’s up to you!
- Have your daughter sleep on her twists and get ready for a wonderful ritual tomorrow morning.
- It’s the morning! If you want, you can put coconut oil or cream in your hands to help make the process of taking apart the twists easier. Once you’ve undone them all, fluff her hair up with your hands for volume.
- Voila! A beautiful hair-style for your beautiful daughter.
The Aurora Princess Twist
Some daughters don’t like sports. Or even if they do, sometimes our daughters just want to play princess. That’s why it’s important to complete the whole look beyond the princess shoes, and the fluffy heels, with flowing, beautiful Aurora hair from Maleficent.
- Your daughter’s hair should be down and parted in the middle. It should also be brushed through and free of knots. Inches above your daughter’s ear, gather a section. Separate that section into two strands then twist them over one another until you reach the end.
- Do the same thing on the other side.
- After you’ve made both braids, pull them toward the back of the head, grab a small hair-tie and gather the ends together at the base of the head. Some of the braids will become a ponytail at this point below the tie.
- After the tie is secured, you can pull on a few braid sections on both sides of the braids to give them a loose look.
- After you’ve done that, you’re going to want to obscure the hair-tie from vision. To do so, take a piece of hair lying beneath the hair tie and wrap it up over the braid and through. Do that one more time. If it doesn’t seem structurally sound, put a bobby pin through that tension point.
Optional pro-tip: distribute small, delicate flowers (found or bought) through the braid to create an extra pretty, whimsical look. Holding hairspray here may be your savior.
Braids are not easy. But with practice, it’s possible that you’ll get better at them. And even if you don’t — if it’s a disaster and your partner has to re-do your daughter’s hair all over again — it will have been a bonding experience. That’s all that matters.