The French Braid is a classic braiding technique that has been around for centuries, but it’s still a popular choice for women of all ages and hair types. A French braid is perfect for you whether you prefer a polished and tight-to-the-scalp look or a boho-inspired, big, and textured style. But what sets it different from a Dutch braid?
Dutch braid vs. French braid: A Dutch braid involves crossing strands beneath one another, while a French braid involves crossing strands of hair over one another.
To help you find your next signature hairstyle, we’ve gathered some of the best French braid ideas and tips from salon owner and updo & braiding educator Caidy Brasure. Her advice will help you achieve a French braid you’ll love. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of French braid hairstyles!
Meet The Expert
Caidy is an updo & braiding educator and has been a licensed cosmetologist for 13 years.
You can find her at Caidy Marie Beauty salon in Utica, MI.
According to Brasure, the key to a successful French braid is clean hair sectioning. “This helps to eliminate overlapping hair strands, so the braid remains polished from start to finish,” she explains. “Even if the goal is to have a more textured, big, and fluffy braid, keeping the focus on partings that are consistent in thickness while braiding will help to create a more cohesive result.”
If you’re wondering about the benefits of this cut/style, Brasure highlights its versatility. “There are so many different ways to style the French Braid. It can be created as a tight-to-the-scalp look, a boho-inspired big and textured look, or a half up, half down look,” she says. “Because of how versatile the French Braid can be in detail, it’s a great option for any hair length, texture, and thickness.”
However, Brasure notes that there can be a drawback to this style, particularly for those with shorter hair layers. “Shorter hair layers can sometimes be challenging to incorporate within the braided hair design, as they will sometimes pop out of the braid, depending on the length,” she warns. To overcome this, she recommends using a Pomade, Gel, or Molding Cream to keep even the shortest hair stands in place.
One thing that many people, including stylists, may need to learn about French braid styles is the importance of consistency. “Consistency is critical in sectioning of the hair, the amount of product used on each section of the hair, and the hand tension used while creating any braid,” says Brasure. “If you are not consistent from start to finish, it will show in your result.”
Before getting a French braid, Brasure recommends clearly explaining the type of braid the client wants. “Because there are so many different ways to style the French Braid, having an idea as to which type of way the client would like to wear the braid is key,” she says. “Photos are always a great option in showcasing to the professional so the look can be completed to the fullest of detail.”
Get inspired by these stunning French braid hairstyles – from classic to creative. There’s a style for every occasion!
#1: Chunky French Braid with Vivid Rainbow Colors
This French braiding style is carefree or easygoing. One of the best things about it is that it’s a look that looks better the more lived-in it gets. Because of the nature of these fashion colors fading from one shampoo to the next, this look is ideal for someone who enjoys versatility. The number of washes can be limited when you are willing to experiment with style. Down one day, braided the next, and maybe followed up with a bun or dressy pony.
It’s a low-maintenance style that’s gorgeous for so many different occasions. Start with some texture spray to give the hair some grip, making it easier to braid. Adding loose beachy waves always adds a little something to this look. And depending on the occasion, braided looks like this can be dressed up or worn with accessories.
#2: How to Do a French Braid
Learn how to do a French braid hairstyle, so in case you need an easy-to-create style, you have one in mind. Divide the hair, depending on the number of plaits you want. For braided pigtails, two sections are enough. Gather three small sections from one side, hold each, and interlace one at a time. Make the braids tight as much as possible for a sleeker effect. For a cute finish that lasts a day, spritz hairspray all over.
#3: Braid Your Hair with a Weave
Braid your hair with a weave to add fullness and length to the style. Cornrows are a great option as they create a more detailed and edgy result. The edges make a sweet, soft touch to make it appear girlish.
#4: Mohawk French Braid
Wear this mohawk French braid hairstyle and give people some hair envy. It works well on curly hair, as its texture makes the updo look so much better. Add dainty accessories or small flowers for a more feminine style.
#5: French Braid Crown
This French braid crown lets you feel like royalty. Its softness makes it appear very feminine and chic. There are loose strands underneath the updo to give that undone effect. If you’re down to go the extra mile, paint your locks with a silver-blonde shade.
#6: Updo French Hairstyle
Here’s an updo French hairstyle to complete your fancy style! It gives off a romantic vibe that appears flattering on straight, blonde locks. If you have a rounded fringe, it’s sure to add a youthful touch to its finish. A little bit of texture makes a difference for an effortless and softer edge.
#7: French Braid Waterfall
Rock a French braid waterfall hairstyle, and be as gorgeous as ever! This style matches soft, voluminous curls on a rich brown hue so well that you can wear it at formal events. To maximize your curls’ texture, use a sea salt spray.
#8: French Braid Fishtail
Lovin’ a French braid fishtail like this one? Its simplicity will allow you to wear it any time of the day. It appears chic on bright, golden blonde tresses as it accentuates the color better.
#9: French Fishtail Braid
Healthy long strands deserve to be shown off most exceptionally – these defined pieces weaved into this french braid style perfection will surely get you noticed everywhere you go!
#10: Side French Braid
A fun, adorable way to do pleats – add some extra details in the middle for a unique French braid look.
#11: French Crown Braid
It doesn’t seem easy, but this one’s quite easy! Just do your normal French braid hair, but grab on the hair around the head to create this crown of beauty.
#12: Long 4 Braid Twist French Braid
Create a boho chic look from the basic French braid with these on-point four braids twisted into one. This cool ‘do perfect for any summer day when you wanna feel the cool breeze on your skin.
#13: Vibrant Rainbow French Braid
If you’ve got a spectacular color play like this, you must show it off by wearing it in a flattering pigtail French braid hairstyle like this one.
#14: Mini French Braid
This romantic updo starts with a thin braid that parts the hair and finishes with a low looped bun. This mini French braid works well on hair with highlights that give the whole style dimension and depth.
#15: French Braid Updo for a Formal Event
You can achieve this stunning French braid updo by curling your braid into a low chignon and adorning it with pretty flowers.
#16: Trendy Mermaid French Braided Updo
Go for a swim with this super cute red mermaid French braided hairstyle.
#17: Edgy Viking French Braids for a Party
Go old school using the Viking French braiding technique for your next party.
#18: Fun Fishtail French Braid
A fishtail French braid that’s wonderful for back-to-school hairstyles.
#19: Simple French Braid with Flower Pins
This casual French braid hairstyle is surely doable by anyone. Create a loose braid around your head to one side and accessorize with cute pins.
#20: Cute French Braid for Short Hair
If you can’t do a French braid, this look is the best way to fake a Dutch braid, especially for fine hair. It’s also a wonderful style for waking up late and not having time to wash your hair. The greatest thing about this look is that the dirtier your hair is, the easier it is to rock it!
Don’t overthink it, and don’t overwork it. But don’t overthink it; no matter what your style is, this look works with it. This works for a professional day at the office or a fun night out with these friends. Don’t overwork it; don’t fight what your hair wants to do in this style. Messy, smooth, big, let it do its thing. It looks good, anyway.
#21: French Braid Pigtails
This braid is called a Dutch braid, different than a traditional french braid because the braids are more visible. This hairstyle is a boho style. The braids are loose, which gives an effortless feel. Also, I added hair jewelry on the braids, which is my favorite thing about the style. It makes the style stand out.
This hairstyle would be perfect for going out and just having fun. If you’re a girl who loves to take pictures, I would have this hairstyle for a photo shoot. But ultimately, this hairstyle completes a cute look for just going out. That’s the beauty of this look. It’s a game-changer. You can have a normal outfit on, but you add spice when you style this hair look.
#22: French Braid Ponytail
Opt for the perfect French braid ponytail! The cutest thing about it is you can dress it up for a wedding, a special event, or even a casual night out! Use dry shampoo, hairspray, and shine spray to achieve this look best. As for styling, curl your hair first, then add a loose French braid leaving out front pieces for a softer look!
#23: Tousled French Braid Hairstyle
Consider tousled French braids hairstyles, which make an excellent look for a sunny day. It’s so easy to achieve yet still looks intricate. This style would work with any hair that is shoulder-length or longer. If your hair is very silky, try spraying a light-hold hairspray or texture spray through your hair before braiding it. Pull a few pieces out around your face for a softer look. I always pull the braids apart when doing a braided style to make the style look fuller. This style transitions perfectly from a summer dress to something sporty, like gym clothes!
#24: Twisted French Braid Updo
Opt for a twisted low knot with french braided details. It looks really simple and soft from the front and has a lot of details and textures from the back. The elastic makes it very secure so that it will last all night. This braids hairstyle works for anyone with mid-long hair. Key products were mousse (dried in first) for hold and then a dry shampoo to achieve texture. It also works great on a blonde, but if working on darker hair, use different colored elastic to show off the bow detail more.
#25: Gorgeous French Braid for Long Hair
It’s a loose french braid on the right going from the temple to just past the ear, then braided down in a three-strand. The other half was kept loose. Do the standard french braid again, but when you get past the crown, include three strands on the right side into the braid and continue to the bottom. It only takes 6 minutes to do this cute little style without brushing. Ensure the hair is well-brushed before, then brush the strands during styling to ensure a smooth braid. If you are not confident doing it, ask for help, so the braid stays on track.
#26: Half Up Half Down French Braid
A half-up half-down french braid is neat and simple. The best part of this braid hairstyle is curling the ends to give an amazing finish and putting both braids together to neaten up the middle part of the hair.
Always use an anti-frizz serum beforehand, so it can be easier to handle the hair, and it will fall into place as you like it. It would be best to use a hair protectant before curling the ends of the hair to avoid hair damage. Try the 7 in 1 hair anti-frizz serum by John Frieda, which helps a lot, and you can easily see how it helps.
Do such French braids styles on longer hair rather than short, as they will look less effective.
#27: Big French Braids
The best thing about these big French braids is their versatility. You can wear it with an updo, as a bridesmaid at a wedding, or simply out on the town.
This type of French plait fits best with women with a heavy head of hair, so keep that in mind when contemplating this look. Extensions can be added for fullness in the hair to accomplish this braid. This side braid is fabulous for those who still want to wear their hair down without worrying about hair in their face.
#28: Double French Braid Updo
This pretty pink double french braid is gorgeous. It features a pop of pink and an illusion of thickness from the braids!
These braids are a fun and easy style for almost any length longer than chin length and will last all day with the right products. Use a soft-hold styling cream and medium-hold hairspray.
It’s a great style for anyone with a job that requires the hair to be pulled back or just for a fun upstyle to keep the hair out of your face.
#29: Three French Braid Updo
Opt for three simple French braids. It’s an easy protective style to keep up. Wrap it at night. You don’t have to do much with it. It would be best if you had a little holding spray for flyaways now and then and a little shine spray.
#30: Simple Versatile French Braided Wrap
This style is a simple, versatile updo with french braids. It looks more complicated than it is! It’s the perfect day-to-night hairstyle because you can wear it to work with a couple of cute clips or a bandana or wear it looser with relaxed curls to frame the face for the evening.
The best thing about the look is the texture the braids create and how it looks so pretty from every angle.
This look is great for women with thick hair, as the braids will keep it secure. However, this would work for all hair types. You need to ensure you pull on the braids to create more fullness if needed.
Use a texturizing powder such as the Sexy Hair Powder Play Lite to give you a better hold on the hair. This is essential for those of you with silky locks. The section is in a zig-zag. This helps achieve the more relaxed and imperfect look we want from this style.
#31: French Braided Topknot
The French braided topknot is a versatile hairstyle that works with every hair type and can be dressed up with pins to elevate any look, regardless of whether it’s freshly washed or second-day hair. Dutch and French braids can be used for this style, and teasing the ponytail before wrapping it into a bun adds volume and texture. To achieve a front braid hairstyle with a piece-y finish, use Paul Mitchell Sugar Tease texture spray for added grip and layer with Paul Mitchell Sugar Dry Conditioner for shine and softness. This look is suitable for any age or lifestyle and can be a quick and easy way to elevate your style.
#32: Side French Braid with Hollywood Waves
This look features a side French braid paired with Hollywood waves. The French braid is incorporated into the style instead of using a hair accessory, making it a unique and edgy option. It works well for outgoing personalities who prefer loose, relaxed hairstyles. It’s an ideal choice for brides, bridesmaids, or anyone looking to make a statement at a special event.
#33: Half-Up French Braid Bun
The described look is a modern half-up french braid bun that provides creative freedom to create a chic alternative to typical updos. The key to achieving the look is proper preparation, using beach spray to add texture for easier braiding, and teasing the hair for added volume. Hairspray should be used to hold the style in place without making it too rigid. The look works well with straight, curly, or wavy hair, but waves are preferred. The best thing about this look is its versatility and ease, making it suitable for long or short hair, with creativity being the only limitation.
#34: Youthful French Braid Bun
This look is a trendy and youthful French braid. Those with short or medium-length hair can wear it, and the bun on top can be styled to suit the occasion, with the option to add beach waves. To achieve the desired effect, the speaker recommends using Unite Texturing Hairspray and R+Co Glossing Wax for the braids.
#35: Urban Braids
This look features an exposed Dutch braid, making it more than a regular French braid. The blue color highlights the braid and adds depth. It is a tight braid like a cornrow and works well with coarse or curly hair. A lot of tension is required to achieve the look, and gel can help control flyaways and frizz while adding more definition to the braid. This look is ideal for those who love an urban braid and want a hairstyle with intricate details.
#36: French Braid Mohawk
This look is a French braid Mohawk that combines three different types of braids, creating a bold yet classy and adventurous yet subtle style. The overall effect is described as “Avatar Feline Meets Bride-to-Be.” The advice for anyone considering this look is to embrace it fully, as it is quick to create and a great way to stand out with minimal effort.
#37: Double French Braid
Ready to rock and rave through the day? Spice up that purple hair with this cool double French braid hairstyle that will secure your tresses in place while you dance and sing your heart out!
#38: French Braid Undercut
This is a French braid undercut for babes with a strong persona. Recreating the style with neat, shorter sides and longer strands at the top is easy. The stylish and powerful impression it provides is eye-catching. Take advantage of this hairstyle once you decide to go short.