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How to Do Loose Braided Pigtails

by Grace Riley, studioD

Braided pigtails are a mainstay among the playground set, but with the right adjustments they can be a go-to style for adults, as well. Rather than aiming for the tight, perfect plaited pigtails that Melissa Gilbert regularly sported on “Little House on the Prairie,” styling loose, imperfect braids will give your hair the bohemian chic vibe favored by laid-back ladies and fashion designers alike. Follow the steps below to begin weaving the loose braids that you can wear just about anywhere.

Brush your hair to remove any tangles. Part the hair down the middle and divide it into two equal sections.

Hold one section of hair on the side of your head so that it covers your ear. Pull a few wisps of hair out along your hairline, if desired.

Divide the section into three equal subsections. Hold one subsection in your right hand and hold the other two subsections in your left hand. Use your left middle finger to keep the two subsections in your left hand separate.

Begin the braid at roughly the same level as your earlobe or a couple inches lower to keep it from looking too uptight.

Cross the right subsection over the middle subsection, which is in your left hand. Pick up these two sections you just crossed with your right hand. Each time you cross two subsections, you will subsequently pick up both subsection with the crossing hand.

Cross the leftmost subsection over the middle. Pick up the left and middle subsections with your left hand.

Repeat the alternating crossing motions until the braid reaches the length you desire. Secure it with an elastic ponytail holder.

Pull at the unbraided hair above the plait very gently to give the braid a looser look and add a little volume.

Rub random segments in the braid gently between your thumb and forefinger to loosen the plait itself. There shouldn’t be hair falling out of the braid. You should simply make the plait look slightly irregular.

Repeat the process with the second section of hair.

Items you will need
  •  Hairbrush
  •  Ponytail Holders

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

  • Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images