Braids: They’re so pretty to wear, but also so hard to do. Amirite? Even the ones that are supposed to be “easy” on Pinterest seem to require some sort of hair sorcery or superhuman hand strength. All too often we’re left either with a tangled mess or end up settling for a sad ponytail. Sarah Potempa is here to help fix that.
The Dutch Braid
Level of difficulty: 2, but on short hair? 4
Time to complete: 5 minutes
Step 1: Separate your hair into three even sections.
Step 2: Create a Dutch braid by braiding the sections in a “left under, right under” pattern, weaving the left piece of hair under the center piece, then right piece under the center, grabbing and adding small sections of hair each time as you go. (Think of it like an inverse French braid.)
Step 3: Add hair from your roots as you continue down the back of your head. Secure with an elastic.
Step 4: If any pieces from the bottom don’t fit into the braid, simply clip them up towards the middle to make it look cohesive.
Editor Tip: “As a woman with short hair, I never really thought wearing braids was an option for me. I do other stuff like dye my hair purple instead. Which, fun fact, this braid really brought the color out more than a traditional three strand or French braid style.” —Danielle
The Ponytail Braid
Level of difficulty: 4
Time to complete: 10 minutes
Step 1: Do a deep side part.
Step 2: Taking the right section, separate your hair into three strands and create a dutch braid (remember “left under, right under”) along your ear.
Step 3: “Pancake” the braid, which means tug at small pieces of your braid so they loosen up and create more volume.
Step 4: Take a two-inch section at the middle of your head (this will be your “mohawk” part) and do a standard three-strand french braid (right over, left over, grabbing pieces as you go) down the middle, stopping at the curve of your head.
Step 5: Now, on the other side, create a two-strand twist and secure with a clear elastic.
Step 6: Pull all your hair up into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic.
Editor Tip: “This is such a badass take on your typical ponytail braid. Just be sure not to ‘pancake’ too much, unless you don’t care about your shorter pieces sticking out all over the place.” Margo
The Crown Braid
Level of difficulty: 1
Time to complete: 2 minutes
Step 1: Part your hair in the center. Taking a one-inch strand from the right side, create a classic three-strand braid. Secure with an elastic.
Step 2: Do the same thing on the left side.
Step 3: Pull the two braids behind your head and criss-cross them.
Step 4: Pin the braids into place underneath one another.
Editor Tip: “While this braid was easy, it was pinning the two braids that took some work. Just be patient, and maybe recruit a friend to help if you’re having trouble.” —Jessica
The Low Ponytail Braid
Level of difficulty: 5
Time to complete: 15 minutes
Step 1: Part your hair into three sections.
Step 2: Taking the middle section (the “mohawk” section) first, start a dutch braid (refer to “The Dutch Braid” above).
Step 3: Continue braiding down the back of your head, making sure everything is tight.
Step 4: As you continue down the braid, add in extra pieces from the middle section to create a thicker plait.
Step 5: Secure with an elastic.
Step 6: Take the remaining hair from the left and the right and start a second French braid on top of the first one.
Step 7: Continue grabbing more pieces and finish the braid. Step 8: Secure with an elastic.
Editor Tip: “French braiding the back of your head is hard! Try setting up a mirror that allows you to see the braid at all angles. I think this look is especially great for a night out when you’re not wearing much makeup—the wow-factor of the braid makes up for a clean face.” Lauren