3 Braided Hairstyles That You Can Actually Do!

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the whole braid craze started (we'll chalk it up to the side-braid at Alexander Wang's spring '10 show). But if this summer is any indication, the plait party's momentum shows no signs of letting up—in other words, braids are kind of a big deal. There's the milkmaid, the over-the-shoulder, French braids, braids tucked into buns, mini-braids interwoven into hair, French braids that give the illusion of an under-cut, the braid as a headband, fishtail braids…we could go on and on. And while it's proven to be a hairstyle rife with inspiration, the complicated mechanics of creating the many lusted-after looks can be daunting. So, to cut out the intimidation factor, we created three amazing braided hairstyles with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions: The ever-baffling fishtail braid (we swear, it's easier than it looks!), a French braid-bun combo, and a delicate, crown-inspired style. Get ready to break out the skills!
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1. Start by bringing all of your hair to the right side of your head. Grab a small piece from behind your left ear, and then do the same on your right side. Bring both pieces over to the right side of your head.

2. Divide the small section on the right side into two: A thin, half-inch section on the far right, leaving the remaining section as a one-and-a-half-inch section. This should leave you with three sections of hair in your hands: The section from the left side of your head and the two sections from the right side in varying sizes. 
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3. Take the small, half-inch section from the far right and cross it over, combining it with the left section. Grab a half-inch section from the outside-most section of the left-side portion, and combine with the right side. 
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4. Take a half-inch section from the right side (taking it from the furthest section on the right), and grab a half-inch section from the remaining hair below (from the right outside, as well), and add all of that to the left section. Do the same on the left side. Repeat, pulling towards the right side. Continue crossing hair over from one section to the other and secure with an elastic band. 
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5. The short version: Take two equal sections of hair, and pull a thin strand from the outside edge of one section. Cross the thin strand over the other section of hair. Combine the strand to the hair in that section. Repeat the same steps with a thin strand from the outside of the other section until you’ve created crossover pattern, or a fishtail braid. 
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6. Rough it up a bit at the top of the braid, and pull the strands to loosen and fatten it up. 
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1. Take a one-inch by one-inch section above your left ear and separate into three sections.
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2. Braid toward the front of your head.
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3. Curve the braid around your head like a headband. Secure with a bobby-pin if needed.
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4. Take another one-inch by one-inch section above your right ear and combine with the ends of first braid, continuing the braid. (You can connect the two with a bobby-pin if needed.)
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5. Finish the second braid, bring it around the back of your head, and secure with an elastic. Layer the two braids on top of each other in the front, and, using a bobby-pin, secure through the elastic and the first braid. 

6. Cover up the point where the two braids connect by weaving sections of hair over and under the braid, allowing the braid to peek out, but the beginning, ends, and connection points stay hidden. 
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1. Flip your head upside-down and section hair at the nape into three half-inch pieces.
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2. Start a classic, inside-out French braid at the nape of your neck. (It's exactly the same as a regular French braid, but instead of overlapping pieces on top, they pass underneath).
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3. Keep adding sections all the way up until you reach the very top of your head. Make sure there is even and consistent tension—don’t go on to the next section of hair until you know it's secure.
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4. Tie off the braid at the top with a ponytail holder.
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5. Twist hair into a bun, and secure with bobby-pins.
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5. To finish, sweep the front section of the hair across the forehead and to the side (twisting along the side of your head), and connect it with the bun. Secure with bobby-pins.