A braid is a simple method to sweep your hair out of your face and protect it from friction on days when you don’t want to do much hair styling but want to appear cute. Dutch and French braids are fantastic ways to do that! In this article, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide for achieving either look as well as practical advice for getting it done correctly.
Dutch vs. French Braid – What’s the Difference?
Dutch and French braids are similar in appearance and are typically formed from three hair sections; the only difference lies in the technique.
The keywords over and under are important to remember in the braiding process; with the French braid, you cross sections over one another, but the Dutch braid’s approach calls for you to cross sections underneath one another. The terms inside-out braid or reverse French braid are frequently used to describe Dutch braid.
Knowing how to do French braid will make learning Dutch braid simpler.
Preparatory Process for Installing the Braids
You must keep your curly hair clean and adequately hydrated to improve its manageability and enable a more effective process. The procedures for doing that are as follows:
1. Begins in the Shower
Start using a sulfate-free shampoo; sulfate in shampoos helps remove product buildup and dirt from the hair. The only drawback is that they do their work so well that they remove all the moisture and hair oils that the hair needs to keep healthy.
Using a sulfate-free shampoo allows your hair to stay moisturized. After shampooing, apply your deep conditioner to your hair shaft and work your way up from tips to roots.
Because the hair scalp doesn’t necessarily lack moisture, conditioners shouldn’t be used at the roots. But always make sure to concentrate on the roots when shampooing. Next, using your fingers spread the conditioner evenly throughout the hair ends. Use a brush, fingers, wide-tooth comb, or anything to delicately detangle conditioned hair and smooth out the knots without causing hair breakage.
2. Out of the Shower
After stepping out of the shower, your thought might be to dry out your hair with a towel but don’t do that. Instead, squeeze out the excess water from your hair with a light T-shirt, or preferably a microfiber towel.
Using a softer fabric reduces friction and decreases the chance of hair damage while with a towel, the hair would be irritated causing more frizz and hair breakage.
3. The LOC or LCO Method
The LOC method is the steps in which you apply the products responsible for sealing moisture in your hair. The letters L, O, and C stand for liquid or leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream, respectively. It signifies starting with the lightest weight and sealing off with the heaviest, the Cream. The LCO technique, which stands for liquid, cream, and oil, is another method you could work with.
Leave in Conditioner
Add in a leave-in conditioner. The Leave-in conditioner doesn’t require rinsing and can hydrate and maintain the health of your hair all day. For a dryer or denser hair texture, use a heavier moisturizing leave-in conditioner; if your hair tends to weigh down easily, use a lighter weight leave-in conditioner.
Oils are emollients that work to moisturize the hair by creating a layer of film that seals in moisture. Because oil molecules are small enough to pass through the outer cuticle and can replenish protective oil in the hair, oils help keep the hair moisturized and act as a barrier against hair breakage and damage.
Consider using less fatty oil if your scalp or hair is oily or you have a low porosity hair type. Jojoba and almond are excellent options because they are absorbed quickly.
The cream should be based on your hair type, texture, and formula weight. The cream serves as a sealant to keep in all the moisturizers in your hair strands.
Dutch Braid Process; Step-by-Step Guide
With the use of a wide-tooth comb, divide your hair into sections. Curlies are advised to employ a zig-zag parting pattern to create volume, make braids look good with the braids in and out, and blend the hair more effectively.
Starting with all of your hair combed backward, hold a wide-tooth comb firmly in your hands as you section. Your entire arm is being moved, not your comb. To separate the hair into sections, the very last tooth of the comb is placed on your preferred part. Drag your hair back in a crisscrossing motion from your hairline to the other side, continuing to do so until you reach the nape of your hair, then clip one side.
Keep your brush handy since you need to keep your hair detangled and smooth. Take a small triangular kind of section and split it into three equal parts. The smaller the section, the closer the braid will be to your face.
The top strand should then be crossed under and into the middle. Cross the bottom strand into the middle bringing all the strands over to your right hand. Now, with the middle finger holding the center strand, the pinkie holding the bottom strand, and the top strand is sandwiched between the thumb and index finger.
Add some hair from the same side to the top strand, picking up a little portion. Simply place the hair between your thumb and index finger to add it to the existing hair.
Then transfer all of the strands to your other hand by crossing the top strand underneath and into the middle. This time, the bottom strand is held between the thumb and index finger, the middle finger holds the center strand, and the pinkie holds the top strand. Repeat the procedure until you get to the nape of your neck.
French Braid Process; Step by Step Guide
The key to this technique is where your hands are placed. Before you start, remember that you should braid with your hands rather than your eyes to get a feel for what you are doing rather than always gazing at it and messing up the process.
Take a section and divide it into three equal parts. Hold the sections firmly with your fingers close to the head and begin by crossing one part over the top piece.
Then, switch hands, place the thumb over the crossed piece, and place the other piece picking up the first piece and letting go, then choking up on the hair to keep it tight on the head, and cross over the first piece at the top. Next, add hair by parting it into the braid, using a finger or a comb to smooth, and incorporate it into that top piece.
Now they’re two sections separated by the middle section and one piece of hair. Separate again with your first finger, and cross the piece over. Repeat the procedure this time from the opposite side, and continue adding hair from both sides, ensuring they are the same width. Continue to the nape of the neck. Finish up the braids tight.
Essential Tips for Starting up the Braids
- Make sure your hair is not completely wet because when it is, it shrinks as it dries, leading to too much tension and causing hair breakage.
- While braiding, you might want to rest your arm against the couch for support.
- Make sure to detangle before you start to braid.
- Braid with damp hair because it’s easier to grip than dry strands.
- Go slow and tighten after every step. And, the smaller the hair strand you add, the tighter and more intricate the braid.
Putting on the braids for the first time can be challenging, but it gets simpler with practice. So, keep practicing until it comes out good!