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These styles must be done with a firm hand using even tension to all strands. It is advisable to braid on damp hair because some degree of stretch will assist in producing a long-lasting and neat style.

French Braiding

There are two different types of French braids: the invisible braid (or regular braid) and the visible braid (or inverted braid).

Invisible Braiding

Invisible braiding is performed by overlapping the strands on top.

  1. Section the hair into two parts with a center part.Clamp one side and divide the other side into three strands.Start the braid by taking strand 1 (from the left) and crossing it over strand 2 (center strand). Strand 1 becomes the center strand.Take strand 3 (from the right) and cross it over the center strand (it becomes the center strand). Hold the strands tightly. You have now completed the anchor point.Pick up the strand on the left (original strand 2) and incorporate a small section (strand 2b), about ½” (1.25 cm) wide, from the scalp. Join the new section with the left strand and together draw them over the center strand.Bring original strand 1 over the center hair. Bring a strand of scalp hair from the right, about ½” (1.25 cm) wide, and place it with strand 1.
  2. Continue to pick up strands and braid until all the hair in the section has been taken into the braid.

    NOTE: To keep the braid neat,  with all short hair ends in place, twist each strand toward the center as you put it in place.
  3. Braid the other side in the same manner.

If the hair is long, you can:

  • Continue to braid through to the ends. It can then be crossed and extended up the back of the head or left to hang loose.
  • Stop the braid at the hairline and tie ribbons, allowing the ends to fall into curls.

If the hair is not very long, you can:

  • Fasten the ends with a rubber band and tuck them under and pin in place with bobby pins.Create design lines that travel around the head from temple to temple, or from various patterns with the braids and parting lines.
  • You might want to start the French braid at the nape and work toward the face. You can tuck the ends under or finish the style with curls.
Visible French Braiding

Visible French braiding is done by plaiting the strands under, thus making the braid visible. It is done in the same manner as the invisible braid except that strands are placed under the center strand. Part and section the hair in the same manner as for regular French braid.

  1. Divide the top right section evenly into three strands. Start to braid the hair strands by placing the right side strand under the center strand and the left side strand under this one. Draw strands tightly.
  2. Pick up ½” (1.25 cm) strand on the right side and combine with the right side strand. Place this combined strand under the center strand. Pick up ½” (1.25 cm) strand on the left side and combine with the left side strand. Place this combined strand under the center strand.
  3. Combine to pick up hair and braid. Finish braiding at nape and hold in position with rubber bands.
  4. Braid the left side of the head in the same manner as the right side.
  5. The finished braids may be tucked under and held in place with hairpins or bobby pins.


Cornrowing is done in the same fashion as visible French braiding except that the sections are very narrow and form a predetermined style. It works well with overly curly hair and is popular with both children and adults. Cornrowing should last for several weeks.


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