50 Fabulous French Braid Hairstyles to DIY
by Rachel Weeks
Braids never go out of style. They're easy. They're versatile. They're elegant. They're casual. They can be inside out and upside down and tucked and coiled and French and Dutch and fishtailed. They can be just about anything you make them with the proper inspiration. So, we compiled 50 of our favorite French braid hairstyles and a bunch of great variations to get you started.
Basic French Braid
Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). You won't get very far through this list without being able to do a French braid. If you don't know how, take a second to give it a try with this handy video tutorial. Once you've mastered this basic, you'll be cruising through the rest of this list in no time.
French Braid Bun
If you can do a basic French braid, you can achieve this easy braided updo. Just curl your braid into a chignon on one side of your head, and pin in place. Christina of Hair Romance provided some helpful instructions if you're stumped.
Easy Twist on the French Braid
Add some bohemian flair to the basic French braid with small three-strand braids. This easy summer 'do by DC hair guru Ulrika Elder is perfect for a breezy day at the beach.
Braided Side Bun
Don't worry! This casual braid is easier than it looks. Just loosely French-braid around both sides of your head, and unite the two braids at the nape of your neck. Bonus, Abby of Twist Me Pretty will show you how to take this simple daytime look to a braided side bun for night.
French Braid Ponytail
This pretty braided pony is great for a day at the office or a night out, especially when you're rocking day-two hair. Start the braid at the crown of your head, and braid until you reach your preferred ponytail height. Secure it with an elastic, and tease your pony. For the full instructions, visit Missy Sue.
French Braid Half Up
The French braid half-up hairstyle is perfect for growing out regrettable bangs or just getting some hair out of your face. Check out The Shine Project for DIY instructions and variations on the look.
Zipper Braid with a Big Bun
Embellish your topknots with a little French braid up the back. Tip: Braid while hanging off the side of your bed so the rest of your hair stays out of the way. Watch this video for more helpful hints.
French Crown Braid
Boxer French Braids
Channel your inner Million Dollar Baby next time you hit the gym. These boxer braids will keep your tresses out of the way when you're on a roll. Long braid not your style? The Beauty Department has lots of variations on this style.
Half-Up French Braids
These sweet braids are easy and adorable. Part down the middle, and French-braid the top layer of both sides. Bring the braids to meet in the middle, and secure with an elastic. Visit Missy Sue for more helpful step-by-step instructions with images.
French Braid Faux Hawk
French braids have never looked more rock and roll! To achieve this look, you'll need a lot of teasing, hairspray, and a tight French braid behind each ear. Visit Glam Latte for a video tutorial.
French Braided Pompadour
Put off the shampoo one more day with this French braid pompadour. It's quick and easy and will lock all your hair away without sacrificing style. Visit Twist Me Pretty for the full step-by-step instructions.
French Braid Chignon
You won't believe how easy this romantic updo is, and your friends won't believe you did it yourself. Start with a side part, French-braid both sides, and finish with a big messy bun. It's that simple. For step-by-step images, visit The Every Girl.
Frozen’s Elsa French Braid
Let's face it—Disney tells a lot of lies about hair. But after Frozen was released, everybody still wanted to duplicate princess Elsa's long soft braid hairstyle. We thought this tutorial was unique, simple, and accurate, although this model's long and thick blonde hair does help a bit.
The Mini French Braid
This teeny-tiny braid is not nearly as tricky as it looks. If you can French-braid, you can do it. The Beauty Department explains this look step-by-step.
Half-Up Side French Braid
This braid hairstyle is a little tougher; it combines a French braid, a lace braid, and a classic three-strand braid. However, Missy Sue's tutorial video makes this gorgeous braid completely doable.
Pouf French Braid
This little braid is easy, cute, and versatile. It can be worn to disguise dirty hair, hide unruly bangs, or simply add a little embellishment to a short cut. Check out Real Home Love for details.
Goddess French Braid
Whether you're a bridesmaid—like the one in this The Every Girl post—or just attending a party, the goddess French braid is sure to glam up any look even if you have short- to medium-length hair.
Basic Dutch Braid
The inside-out French braid, or Dutch braid, is a common variation of the French braid, and it's just as easy to achieve. Before you continue with this list, make sure you are comfortable with this braiding basic.
Dutch Braid Tuck
This Dutch braid tuck couldn't be easier. Dutch-braid down the middle of your head, tuck the end of the braid under, and pin in place. Voila! Tip: This style can also be done with a basic French braid. Visit You Beauty for the complete tutorial.
Hunger Games’ Katniss Braid
The much-sought-after Katniss braid is nothing but a simple Dutch braid on its side! This Makeup Geek post also features a helpful Dutch braid tutorial if you're still having trouble.
If you're looking for a simple way to upgrade your braid hairstyles, try this Dutch-braid headband. Start with a side part, and loosely Dutch-braid across your forehead. Continue with a regular three-strand braid until you've reached a length you're happy with, and pin at the back of your head. Check out Missy Sue's full video tutorial.
Dutch Side Mermaid Braid
Combine a Dutch braid with a three-strand braid, and you get this Dutch side mermaid braid. Christina of Hair Romance has the step-by-step instructions for getting this many-stranded braid.
Dutch Braid Faux Hawk
This look is seriously rocker chic, and yes, it's just a messy, voluminous Dutch braid. Check out the Twist Me Pretty video tutorial for more tips on getting this texture out of your braids.
Dutch Braids and Low Messy Bun
Help your messy bun stand out in a crowd with a pair of loose, wide Dutch braids. Whenever you want to give your braids more width, gently pull at the sides of the braid, as Missy does in this tutorial.
Dutch Braided Chignon
Hair feeling greasy? Twist your braids up into a braided chignon like this one. Depending on the thickness of your hair, you may need only the two side braids rather than the three Ulrika used in this tutorial.
Half-Up and Half-Out Braid
This style is the perfect combination of romantic and edgy. Make your own version with one Dutch braid, or go for a French braid instead; either way, check out this Hair Romance tutorial for some more helpful tips.
Dutch Braids for Short Hair
Ladies with short hair, don't despair! There are braids for you, too. Instead of twisting your braids into a big chignon, cross them over each other at the nape of your neck, and pin in place. Check out these instructions by DC contributor Maritza Buelvas for more details.
Instead of finishing your Dutch braids with a bun or a loose braid, you can, of course, end with a ponytail. Amber of Barefoot Blonde's ponytail is low and textured, but feel free to mix it up to suit your style.
Fat Halo Braid
Put your Dutch-braiding skills to the test with this gorgeous braid tutorial. The halo braid can get tricky when it comes to braiding behind your head, but the results are totally worth the struggle. Twist Me Pretty breaks it down into helpful steps.
Halo Braid with a Ribbon
Add a pop of color to your halo braid with a pretty ribbon! Plus, if you're having trouble getting the Twist Me Pretty halo braid to come together, this Once Wed tutorial is worth a try. They have a slightly different halo braid technique that's much more textured and loose.
This Dutch-braided updo is gorgeous, romantic, and completely DIY-able for any girl with long hair. Just follow She Lets Her Hair Down blogger Rubi's detailed instructions, and be sure to have a lot of hairpins close at hand.
High Dutch-Braided Crown
The Dutch-braided crown is similar to the halo braids shown earlier, except a crown braid sits on the back of the head rather than at the sides. The crown is also a higher degree of difficulty level, so don't be discouraged if you don't nail it on the first try. Christina provides more detail in her tutorial on Hair Romance.
Braided Crown for Short Hair
Most ladies with short hair can't accomplish a full-braided crown with their length; however, The Wonder Forest has provided a great variation that makes it possible to get a similar look without all the length.
Dutch Braids and a Bun Updo
Don't shy away from this updo just because it looks complicated; we assure you it's not out of reach. Start with Dutch braids on both sides of your head, leaving plenty of hair in the back to twist into a bun, and check out the She Lets Her Hair Down video tutorial. She has the coolest bun technique.
Divine Caroline contributor Ulrika has lots of braid tutorials on her site, but we are in love with this easy lace-braided updo. (A lace braid is just a French braid, but you add hair only on one side. This is a nice little tutorial if you need more help.)
Always wanted to try bangs but not willing to take the haircut plunge? Try The Freckled Fox's lace-braided bangs on for size; they are easy enough to do but look complicated enough to get lots of compliments.
This updo may look complicated, but it's just a sock bun with a lace braid. Clip a top layer of your hair out of the way, and use the bottom half to make a sock bun. Then release the top layer, and lace-braid around the bun. Pin underneath. Visit Hair Romance for more angles of the updo.
Kim Kardashian Lace Braids
Inspired by one of Kim Kardashian's braided looks, Alexsis Mae came up with this cute lace-braid tutorial. You can keep your braids small and tight as she did, or pull them apart for a wider, messier look.
Romantic Boho Lace-Braid Updo
This messy updo combines a single lace braid and a messy bun. First, separate the top layer of your hair from the bottom, and clip it out of the way. Then lace-braid the bottom half of your hair with the braid on the part. Release the top layer, and bring it all together into one big messy bun! For more details and a pictorial tutorial, visit The Wonder Forest.
Horseshoe Lace-Braid Updo
This quick and easy horseshoe-braided updo is perfect for a day on the go or an evening on the town, even if it's been a few days since your last shampoo. Plus, this style works on both long and short hair. Check out Ulrika's tutorial.
Curved Lace-Braid Updo
This look was inspired by a style worn by Nicole Kidman, and it's not nearly as complex as it looks. It's just a bunch of stacked lace braids! Follow these detailed instructions from Christina of Hair Romance.
If you've seen this braid on Pinterest but never given it a shot, now is the time to learn to waterfall-braid. DC hair pro Ulrika Elder of Yet Another Beauty Site has put together a comprehensive picture tutorial to get you started.
Put a twist in your hair routine with this French-twist ponytail. Because this look is achievable with many of the same techniques as French-braiding, we decided to include it on the list, and we appropriately turned to Twist Me Pretty for her guidance.
French Fishtail Braid
The last variation we wanted to include in our comprehensive French braid guide was the French fishtail. And this Once Wed braid is a perfect example of a beautiful French fishtail without any extra embellishment. Give it a try before continuing.
Bohemian Side Braid
This boho side braid is half French braid and half fishtail. So if French fishtailing isn't your thing, give this tutorial from The Wonder Forest and The Freckled Fox a try. It'll teach you how to seamlessly turn a regular French braid into a fishtail.
This French fishtail updo is gorgeous and perfect for the new French fishtailer because it doesn't have to stay very tight. In fact, Missy keeps it pretty loose and soft in her instructional video.
Chunky French Fishtail Tutorial
This chunky French fishtail looks gorgeous on Amber of Barefoot Blonde. Note: It can be tricky to keep French fishtails tight as you're braiding, so it might take some practice. You can tell Amber has done this a few times in her video tutorial.
Fishtail Mermaid Braid
This is the perfect look for a trip to the beach if you're looking to get your hair out of your face. Plus, it's not nearly as complicated as it appears; however, it could be tricky to do on yourself. Perhaps practice on a friend before attempting it on your own head.
Twist a fishtail braid and a French fishtail into a bun at the nape of your neck to make this elegant updo. As always, Missy Sue provided a helpful video tutorial to assist you in re-creating this look.