You Totally Got This: 4 Easy Braids For Rookies

While some girls learn to braid hair by practicing on their dolls, others learn by practicing on their, um, horses. Like Audra Billingsley, who loosened up her fingers by working with ponies. That’s right; Before becoming a sought-after Miami hair pro, Billingsley was known in her hometown of Walla Walla, Washington as the best mane artist around. True story.
And with a resume like that, who better to talk to about perfecting the braid than Billingsley? We caught up with the Sean Donaldson Salon stylist and had her teach us how to master 4 simple braid styles. Her techniques are so easy that even a rookie can duplicate the twists. So make like Billingsley and pony up, and click through our step-by-step tutorial. Then, get ready to give Miss Conrad a run for her money.
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Crown Braid
Step 1: Start by parting your hair to the side. Then make a small "triangle" in the front of your head with the hair from the larger side of the part. Bring the hair from the triangle forward, in front of your face.
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Step 2: Hold it loosely, with not a lot of tension, and start braiding to the end of the strand.
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Step 3: Attach the strand of hair to the back of your head with a clip, just until the opposite side’s braid is complete.
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Step 4: Create a small triangle in the front of your head with the hair from the opposite side of your hair's part near the temple.
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Step 5: Braid the strand all the way until the end and clip to the back of your head to section it off.
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Step 6: Grab both braided strands, pull them to the back of your head.
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Step 7: Attach both strands together with a clear elastic.
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Step 8: Pull any loose hairs from the front and top of the braids to give it more of a messier look.
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A delicate side swoop braid adds a little no-fuss flair to wearing your hair down.
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Milk Maid
Step 1: Start by adding a texturizing spray. Create two low pigtails. Don’t worry about making the part perfect. Just run your fingers through the back of your head and separate.
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Step 2: Pull out a little bit of hair from the front of your face, so hair isn't too perfect. The messier the look, the better — if it’s too perfect, you’ll really look like a milk maid!
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Step 3: Braid your hair on one side, starting at the ears. Tie an elastic band near the bottom of the braid, about 2-3 inches above the ends.
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Step 4: Gently pull apart the braid using your thumb and forefinger to lightly separate them.
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Step 5: Repeat steps to the other side of hair, so you have two loose, low pigtail braids.
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Step 6: Lift up one braid towards the top of your head. Place the braid at the top of your head, about one inch away from your forehead.
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Step 7: Attach the hair where the elastic is to your head with bobby pins.
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Step 8: Repeat steps with the other braid, placing it on top of the first braid.
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Step 9: Make sure you position the second braid so that it hides the first braid's elastic tie.
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Step 10: Tuck the end of the braid under the first braid and attach with bobby pins. Use hair pins to secure any parts of the braid that do not feel tight around the head. Tip: Hair around the ear is heavy, so you’ll want add some extra security there with hair pins.
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With the loose strands and the crown-like braids, you'll look perfectly put-together, romantic, and nothing like an actual milk maid.
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Around the Head
Step 1: Start by parting your hair to the side or to its natural part. Separate hair as if you were creating pigtails, but leave the ends loose. Make a small triangle in the front of your head with the hair from one part.
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Step 2: Begin braiding your hair in a traditional French braid technique, grabbing more hair from your head every time you make a cross over one of the three strands.
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Step 3: Use all the hair on that side of our head to complete the braid.
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Step 4: Tie the end with an elastic tie.
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Step 5: Thicken the look of the braid by gently separating it with your thumb and forefinger.
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Step 6: Loosen up the top of the braid by placing two fingers at the beginning of braid and move your fingers forward and back.
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Step 7: Repeat steps on the other side of head.
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Step 8: You should now have two French-braided pigtails.
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Step 9: Pull one braid to the back of your head and fold it inward (with the elastic band hiding under the top folded piece). Bring the folded braid to the bottom, opposite side of your head and attach with bobby pins.
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Step 10: Take the second braid and repeat the folding process.
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Step 11: Tuck the second braid under the first braid and attach with bobby pins.
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Ta-da! The result? A 'do that looks like it took hours (when we really know better)!
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French Braid with Pompadour
Step 1: For an edgier braid, start by adding texturizing spray, then create a triangle of hair from the front, middle part of your head. Separate the remaining hair in the back, so that it doesn’t interfere with your triangle.
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Step 2: Separate the triangle of hair into a few sections depending on the length and thickness of your hair) and begin teasing each section, one by one to create your pompadour.
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Step 3: Spritz the pompadour with hairspray to keep it in place.
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Step 4: Starting with the teased triangle section of hair, begin braiding your hair with a traditional French braid technique.
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Step 5: Secure the end with an elastic band.
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Step 6: Place one hand on the back of your head where the braid begins. Place the other hand at the top of your forehead. Push the back of your hair forward (with back hand) to loosen up the pompadour a bit, so it’s less organized and slightly messy.
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All party up front and business in back, right? A great, clean way to add some edge.

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