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How to Do a Three-Strand Braid

by Grace Riley

A three-strand braid can be one of the most versatile components in your hairstyling repertoire. You can spot the classic plait (braid) everywhere, from casual, over-the-shoulder braids at the beach to glossy braids crowning updos on the red carpet. Orchestrating the correct hand motions may seem confusing at first because your hands will be outnumbered by sections of hair that you have to hold. However, with a little practice, braiding hair will become as effortless as the finished plait is versatile.

Comb or brush your hair to smooth and detangle the strands.

Divide the hair into three equal sections.

Hold one of the outside sections in your left hand and hold the other outside section in your right hand. Think of the hair in your left hand as the “left section” and the hair in your right hand as the “right section.” Sections will change names when they change positions.

Use your right ring and pinkie fingers to secure the right section. Use your right index finger and thumb to pick up the middle section of hair and hold it. You should have one section in your left hand and two sections in your right hand.

Cross the left section over the middle section. Secure the left section with your right middle finger. You will briefly have all three sections of hair in your right hand.

Use your left ring and pinkie fingers to take the hair from your right index finger and thumb. Use your left index finger and thumb to take the hair from your right middle finger. You should have two sections in your left hand and one section in your right hand.

Cross the right section over the middle section. Secure the right section with your left middle finger. You should have all three sections of hair in your left hand.

Use your right ring and pinkie fingers to take the hair from your left index finger and thumb. Use your right index finger and thumb to take the hair from your left middle finger. You should have two sections in your right hand and one section in your left hand.

Repeat the left-over-middle then right-over-middle motions, switching the middle section between hands with each cross.

Continue weaving the hair until the braided plait is the length you desire.

Stop holding the sections separately and gather them in one bunch. Hold it tightly where the braiding ends to keep it from becoming loose. Leave at least one inch of unbraided hair at the ends so that you can secure the braid effectively.

Secure the braid with an elastic ponytail holder.

Items you will need
  • Comb or hairbrush
  • Elastic ponytail holder

Tip

  • If you have trouble holding all three sections of hair, secure the hair in a ponytail before you start braiding.

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

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images