Hair plaiting styles

Updated February 21, 2017

Plaited, or braided, hair is one of the most popular hairstyles for women with medium to long length hair. However, plaiting is not always as simple as it seems. There are several styles of plaiting, and each differs slightly in its techniques and visual details.

Simple Plait

Simple plaits are the most common plaits of all. This very easy plait can be utilised to make waves in the hair or secure the hair in a hairstyle. Brush all of the hair until it is smooth, and separate it into three equal sections at the head's nape. Hold two sections of the hair separated from one another in the left hand. Pull the section held in the right hand over the middle section of the hair, passing the middle section over to the right hand. The section originally held in the right hand should be passed to the left hand. Cross the outside section over the middle section again, repeating the action of crossing the right over the centre and then the left over the centre. Continue in this fashion until the end of the hair is reached; secure the plait with an elastic band.

French Plait

French braids or plaits can be placed down the middle of the head or along the sides of head, pigtail-style. Separate the front of the hair into three sections and pull it to the back of the head. Pull the left section over the centre and then repeat with the right section of the hair. Continue in this fashion, pulling loose hair from below the crown into the right and left sections every few twists. Try to keep the amount of hair added to the sections consistent. When all of the hair has been included and the nape has been reached, either plait the hair in the standard fashion or tie the hair off with a rubber band. Keep the tension of all the sections equal to make the plait neater.

Fish Tail Plait

The fish tail plait can be done in a variety of ways. Most common is a single plait down the back of the head that encompasses all of the hair. Alternative placements of the fish tail plait are along the parting area of the hair, with the plait placed to one side of the head and beginning at the front of the head near the forehead. The basic instructions for the fish tail plait are relatively simple. Gather a section of hair along the sideburns and temples from either side of the face about one inch wide. Pull the two sections back toward the crown of the head and cross the right section over the left section. Press the hair down with the right hand to hold it in place at the cross point. Pull another section of hair from the left side and cross it over the plait. The ends of the hair will blend back into the free hair, ready to pull for another section. Continue pulling sections from alternating sides of the head, crossing them over until there is no hair left. Secure the end of the fish tail plait with a rubber band.

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About the Author

Marsanne Petty has been a writer and photographer for over ten years, and is currently pursuing the combination in tandem. She attended Madison Community College, receiving a degree in Administration. She has published several articles for magazines, including Jack Magazine, and the local newspaper, the Jasper News. Her latest creation, a pictoral history of Hamilton County, Florida, was published in early 2009 through Arcadia Publishing.