Trendlooks 2016

French Plaits: Instructions and Styles

French plaits
The model is wearing a very intricate, detailed French plait. Her hair has been pulled back from the sides in plaits and secured at the back of the head giving a sophisticated look.
© Getty Images

The French plait is a classic hairstyle that is constantly being reinvented. This favourite style can take a bit of practice but the results are definitely worth it. Read on and be inspired by the varied plait hairstyles as well as step by step instructions on how to create a French plait.

  • The French plait is unique and versatile, as it can be styled in many variations from woven to divided (see photo above). However, the simple French plait is by far the most recognised hairstyle.

  • French Plait: Create this Classic

  • 1. Work a small amount of mousse into the hair to create some body. Next, comb back the hair over the shoulders and take a small section from the top and divide it into three equal parts.

    2. Weave the right-hand strand over the middle strand, so the right-hand strand now is in the middle.

    3. Weave the left strand over the middle strand, so the left-hand strand is now in the middle. This is the base for the French plait.

    4. Now take a small section of hair from the right side of the head and combine it with the right strand. Braid this larger strand over the middle strand, so that the section of hair from the right strand is now in the middle.

    5. Take a small section of hair from the left side of the head and combine it with the left strand. Braid this over the middle strand, so that the section of hair from the left strand is now in the middle.

    6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until there is no more hair to be added to the plait. Now, braid the rest of the hair normally to the hair tip and secure with a hair band.

    7. Finally, use hairspray for an optimal hold.

  • French Plait: Wonderfully Different

    Once you have mastered the basics of the classic French plait, you are ready to try out different variations. Our gallery illustrates five different ways of doing a French plait.

  • Gallery: French Plait

    French Plait: The Classic

    © Getty Images  

    French Plait: The Classic

    The classic French plait is not at all simple and can be very eye-catching with its unique effect. To create this look, refer back to the step-by-step instructions earlier in the article.

    French Plait: Accenting

    © Getty Images  

    French Plait: Accenting

    You can jazz up almost any hairstyle with a French plait. In this case, only a small strand was pulled back from the temple into a ponytail. The small plait makes the ponytail unique and playful.

    French Plait: Wild Plaiting

    © Getty Images  

    French Plait: Wild Plaiting

    For an alternative look, take the hair at the top of the head aside and create a French plait underneath along the neckline. Then backcomb the top hair, bringing the rest of the hair over one shoulder.

    French Plait: The High-Flyer

    © Getty Images  

    French Plait: The High-Flyer

    This plait is woven much more tightly then the classic French plait, so that it is almost stiff and rests immobile over the shoulder. The plait also begins right from the hairline and ends at the very tip of the hair.

    French Plait: Wraparound Design

    © Getty Images  

    French Plait: Wraparound Design

    The French plait can be a true work of art when it is pinned at the back of the head. To create this look, form a braid on each side of the head. Then pull the two plaits towards the back and secure the hairstyle with hair pins and hairspray for extra hold.