How To Do A Side French Braid: Easy Tutorial With Pictures

Rock this elegant hairdo at your next outing with these easy-to-follow steps.

Reviewed by Andrea Claire, Hairstylist & Makeup Artist Andrea Claire Andrea ClaireHairstylist & Makeup Artist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Bhumika Daga MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
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Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of iconic characters like the Black Widow, Queen Elsa, and Katniss Everdeen, the French braid is back in its complete glory with a twist. If you want to get on the trend wagon but do not know how to do a side French braid, stick around! Whether building a snowman or fighting Thanos, the side French braid has your back! It looks extremely chic and exudes elegance, ideal for any event or occasion. The hairstyle requires minimal styling and can easily upgrade your fashion quotient. You can also play around with this side braid and add a personal touch. You can also pair it with other hairstyles like low buns or updos. The side French braid is very easy to learn and works with all attires. So, do believe us; try it out for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well a side braid works with a gown and a business suit! So, keep reading to learn how to achieve a side French braid easily.

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • A French braid needs a bit of practice. You must weave the braid with consistent tension. It cannot be too tight, nor can it be so loose that it starts falling apart.
  • The French braid will hold well on day-old hair.
  • While braiding your hair, keep your hands closer to the scalp to avoid bulges and get uniform and tight plaits.
  • Use a setting spray to ensure your braid stays put.

How To Do A Side French Braid

What You Need

  • Hair brush
  • Texturizing spray
  • Hair elastics
protip_icon Fun Fact
The origin of the French braiding technique is unknown. Many claim that it was created in Greece or Africa. In fact, the Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range in Algeria, Africa, has rock art displaying the French braid technique that dates back nearly 6000 years ago.

How To Style

1. Brush your hair: Brush out all the knots and tangles from your hair. This will make it easier for you to pick up small sections of hair to add into your braid.

2. Spritz on texturizing spray: Texturizing spray will give your hair some hold and prevent your braid from loosening and your hair from slipping out of it through the day.

3. Part your hair on one side: Part your hair deeply on one side. Section away and tuck in your bangs behind the ear that is on the opposite side. This will keep your bangs out of the way when you’re braiding your hair.

Part your hair on one side to make French braid
Image: Shutterstock

4. Section your hair: Pick up a section of hair from right next to the parting and divide it into three equal sections for your braid.

Pick up a section of hair and divide it into 3 sections
Image: Shutterstock

5. Do one stitch of braiding: Start off by doing just one stitch of a simple braid by alternately flipping the back strand over the middle strand and then the front strand over the middle strand.

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Do one stitch of braiding
Image: Shutterstock

6. Add more hair to the back strand: Now, to start French braiding, pick up a small section of hair from the crown of your head and add it to the back strand of your braid before flipping it over the middle strand.

Add more hair to the back strand
Image: YouTube @Missy Sue

7. Add more hair to the front strand: Now, pick up a thin section of hair from near your forehead and add it to the front section of your braid before flipping it over the middle section.

Add more hair to the front strand
Image: YouTube @Missy Sue

8. Continue French braiding: Keep repeating steps 6 and 7 alternately while following your hairline to continue your French braid down the side of your head.

Continue French braiding
Image: Shutterstock

9. Start adding hair from the back of your head: As you continue French braiding down the side of your head, you will have to start adding hair from the very back of your head to keep going.

Start adding hair from the back of your head
Image: Shutterstock

10. All your hair will now be in 3 neat sections: Once your French braid has gone past your ear, you will run out of hair to add to it and your hair will be neatly divided into three equal sections. It’s going to be smooth sailing from here.

Side French braid
Image: YouTube @Missy Sue

11. Simply braid the rest of the way down: Now all you have to do is simply braid the rest of the way down. Easy peasy!

Simply braid the rest of the way down
Image: IStock

12. Pancake your braid: Tug apart and loosen your braid from the center to give it more volume and make it look wider. This will lend a more softer and romantic look to your hairdo.

protip_icon Quick Tip
After pancaking the braid, spritz some hairspray on it to prevent loose strands and tame flyaways. You can also apply mousse before braiding your hair for a stronger hold and grip while braiding.
Pancake your braid
Image: Shutterstock

13. Secure the ends: Just tie up the ends with thin clear hair elastic or one that matches the color of your hair.

Secure the ends of the French braid
Image: Shutterstock

14. Conceal the hair elastic: Pick up a thin section of hair from the tail of your braid and wrap it around the hair elastic to hide it from view. Leave the very end of this section out and pull it downward.

Conceal the hair elastic
Image: Shutterstock

15. Tie the ends up with another hair elastic: Tie another hair elastic right under the wrapped section of your hair to secure it in place. Push the hair elastic further up and under this wrapped hair to conceal it completely.

Tie the ends of the French braid with another hair elastic
Image: Shutterstock
Tie the ends of the French braid with another hair elastic
Image: YouTube @Missy Sue

And voila! You’re done! Now, French braiding is one of those things that take a bit of practice to really get the hang of. But once you get the knack, you’ll be French braiding like a pro within minutes! That’s when you can try out a bunch of different hairstyles that involve a side French braid. Here are just a few to get you started!

9 Stunning Side French Braid Hairstyles

1. Puffy Side French Braid

Puffy Side French Braid
Image: Shutterstock

A tight side French braid looks neat, but how about a puffy one? This bridal hairstyle incorporates the side French braid in a loose, voluminous look. It gives an elegant fullness to your hair and is the perfect example of sophisticated glamour, making it ideal for a bride’s big day.

2. French Braided Ponytail

French Braided Ponytail
Image: Shutterstock

Here’s a style that takes the innocent appeal of the French braid and flips it 180 for an intensely edgy look. French braids of different sizes all over the scalp, almost like uneven cornrows, are woven till the back of the head and secured into a ponytail with multiple braids.

3. Combo Side French Braid

Combo side French braid
Image: Instagram @thebraidingmom

Once you’ve perfected the art of French braiding, you can combine it with pretty much any other braiding style and create a hairdo uniquely your own! You could, for instance, do one small simple braid and incorporate it into your side French braid to create this gorgeous combo braid that’s perfect for school or work!

4. Side French Braid Bun

Side French braid bun
Image: Shutterstock

Instead of just going down one side with your French braid, you can cross it over to the other side (like the famous Katniss braid). Wrap the end of this braid in a bun and accessorize it with a cute little bow to create a more formal updo.

5. Side French Braid Accent

Side French braid accent
Image: Shutterstock

An accent braid is a cute way to add a bit of oomph to the hair down look. This sweet side French braid accent adds a delicate feminine vibe to your look and seamlessly complements your natural beauty. It also takes about 3 minutes to do and looks great on straight, wavy and curly hair!

7. Inverted Side French Braid

Inverted side French braid
Image: Shutterstock

The inverted side French braid (or the Dutch braid, as it is also known) has been made famous in recent times thanks to Frozen’s Queen Elsa. This gorgeous braid does look something that is fit to be sported by royalty and can be taken to another level by being done on icy gray-colored hair.

In her lifestyle blog, Jennifer Ritchie provides insights into maintaining “sun chic” hairstyles suitable for the hot and humid climate of Antigua, emphasizing the impact of having aesthetically pleasing hair on her overall sense of beauty and confidence. She suggests, “Having pretty hair just makes me feel, well, pretty (i).”

8. Double French Rope Braid

French rope braid hairstyle
Image: Shutterstock

This stunning double French rope braid hairstyle has been charting high on the popular hairstyles list lately. The minimalist hairdo is super easy to do, making it a good option for casual brunches and meetings. The double braids keep the hair in place, and if you have long enough hair, they can be knotted together for an elegant updo! The dual French rope braids add a modern twist to the classic hairstyle, offering a versatile option.

9. Waterfall French Braid

Waterfall French braid hairstyle
Image: Shutterstock

The timeless waterfall French braid hairstyle is definitely one of our top favorites! The humble yet gorgeous hairdo is something you can flaunt at any event and gathering. It can be done in minutes, and promises you longevity as well. If you are someone who does not want to indulge in intricate hairstyles but also wishes to look like a medieval princess, then this waterfall French braid hairstyle is surely for you!

Infographic: French Braiding Tips

French braids are such a popular hairstyle because of their versatility and sophisticated looks. Although practice is the best way to perfect a technique, some quick tips are always helpful.

Check out the infographic below for some tips on making French braids.

french braiding tips (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

French braiding can take a little time to master, but it is totally worth the effort. For starters, it can be worn with any outfit. It also has a sophisticated and beautiful appearance that is appropriate for any event or occasion. You can also experiment with this side braid to add your own unique touch and wear it with different hairstyles, such as low buns or updos and even play around with countless hair accessories. Once you know how to do a French braid, try out some of the cool hairstyles shared on this post and look perfectly Parisian.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a French braid damage hair?

A french braid done loosely does not damage the hair, but if it’s tightly worn, then it may cause itching and pull on your hair shafts, resulting in damage to the scalp or leading to hair loss.

How long should I leave French braids in?

You can leave French braids in for 3 to 4 days, but the hair shafts may become loose and come out of the braid if they are not tightly braided.

Is it OK to French braid wet hair?

Braiding wet hair may cause hair breakage as wet hair extends more than dry hair. However, as wet hair makes braiding easier, you can wait for the hair to dry a little bit and use moderate tension while making your French braid.

What is the difference between French braids and Dutch braids?

Dutch braids are often referred to as inverted or reverse French braids. When weaving French braids, you cross the side sections of hair over one the middle section. But when weaving Dutch braids, you need to cross the side sections underneath the middle section.

Key Takeaways

  • The French braiding technique involves weaving multiple layers of hair.
  • This braiding style may require a lot of holding product or bobby pins to secure the braids, especially if you have a layered haircut.
  • The braids hold better on one- or two-day-old hair than freshly washed and dried hair.
  • Keeping your hand closer to the scalp while making side French braids can ensure neater and uniform braids.
How To Do A Side French Braid: Easy Tutorial With Pictures

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Wondering how to create those beautiful braid hairstyles you see your favorite stars sport? Check out this video that shows you how to get them in a few easy steps.

Personal Experience: Source

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Andrea Claire

Andrea ClaireCelebrity Hairstylist & Makeup Artist

Andrea Claire is a Canadian-licensed celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist with over 30 years of experience in advertising, beauty, and editorial portfolios. She has done campaigns for brands like L’Oreal Paris, Revlon, and Lancôme and editorials for Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Shape, and more
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