|Revised Date: 02/08/08 - Original
Publication Date: 2/2/2000
Just because you have long hair doesn't mean that you are limited in the way that you can wear it. If your hair is long enough to braid, the French Braid is easy, beautiful and very versatile.
If you have long to super long hair you can play with a basic French braid and create a variety of looks from tucking the ends of the braid underneath the braid to wrapping the leftover tail into a soft bun. You are only limited by your imagination.
The French Braid
The French Braid is deceptively complex in appearance. It is, in fact, simply an English braid with an additional step.
Instead of beginning with three strands that incorporate all your hair, the French braid begins with a thin ponytail skimmed from the top layer of hair.
As you braid, you gather additional thin sections of hair and add them to the strands of the ponytail, resulting in gracefully draped hair on either side of the braid.
The appearance of the drape varies with the amount of hair you add with each step and the tension you keep on each strand. Experiment to find the look you like best.
These steps were taken from the books, Beautiful Braids & More Beautiful Braids by Patricia Coen. Fortunately, these great books are just back in print after being temporarily out of print for the past year.
This excellent classic braiding book from Patricia Coen actually includes detailed illustrations that I am not able to include because of copyright restrictions.
English-braid the remaining strands and fasten the end of the braid with a covered band.
Alternative French Braid Styles
The French Braid can also be dressed up in a variety of styles. The photo below is from Braids & Updos by Jamie Rines Jones. This dressy version is very simple to accomplish.
Braid the hair to the very end and then take the "tail" and carefully tuck it up and under the rest of the hair at the nape of the neck.
Securely pin the tail so that it is hidden under the rest of the braid.
You can dress it up further with a jeweled pin, tiny flowers, beads or other hair accessories.
Another option is to add a gorgeous bow or large flower at the nape of the neck in the middle of the French Braid. For a wide selection of great braid friendly silk flowers and other hair accessories visit the Karen Marie Hair Accessory Line.
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