Classic three-strand braidMatthew Cohen/Rd.com
The classic three-strand braid is actually quite simple and super versatile. We got Jean Oh, a stylist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York, to show us how it’s done. (Don’t miss these effortless hairstyles that are perfect for work.)
Step 1: Detangle hair
The first step is to use a brush or wide-toothed comb to detangle strands—hair is much easier to braid when it’s smooth and knot-free.
Step 2: Divide hair into three equal sections.
Split hair into three sections (A, B, and C).
Step 3: Cross the sections
Hold the right section with your right hand and the left section with your left hand. “Cross the outside strand over the middle; interchanging right and left side. Example A over B, C over A, B over C,” explains Michelle Lee, co-owner and master designer of Salon Eva Michelle. Continue this over-under technique—tightening as you go—until you have braided to the desired length.
Step 4: Secure with an elastic band
Once you’ve braided to the desired length, secure with a non-rubber hair elastic. (Master these 15 hairstyle terms before your next salon visit.)
French braidMatthew Cohen/Rd.com
The always elegant French braid is a timeless, classic—and an easy hairstyle for lazy days.
Step 1: Detangle hair
Use a brush or wide-toothed comb to detangle strands.
Step 2: Apply product (optional)
If starting with wet hair—particularly if strands are straight, thin or fine—Lauren Burks, founder of Braid Bar STA, recommends applying a volumizing mousse. Blow-dry before braiding. If starting with dry hair and your strands are squeaky clean, spritz in some texturizing spray, like Garnier Fructis Style De-Constructed Texture Tease, to give it more grip, making it easier to braid.
Step 3: Part out starter section
Starting at your hairline, gather tresses—including the hair above your ears—into what will become your starter section. Divide this section into three equal pieces; these will make up the beginning of the braid.
Step 4: Cross the sections
Start the first section like a three-strand braid, crossing over one time on each side. This locks in and gives you a foundation.
Step 5: Add more hair
As you cross the next sections, add hair to the outside strands and cross the middle. Keep your hands close for a tighter braid. Continue adding hair each time you cross over. Pro tip: Try to add the same amount of hair each time for a balanced braid. “The smaller the added hair, the tighter the braid; the bigger the sections, the fuller the braid,” explains Lee.
Step 6: Secure with an elastic band
When there is no more hair to add, continue with a traditional three-strand braid and secure with a non-rubber hair elastic.