Dutch braids are back, baby, and cooler than ever.
You’ve probably seen tons of plaited hairstyles everywhere you go—from a classic 3 strand to a sophisticated French braid and one of our favorites, the 5 strand Dutch braid.
We know, we know, the Dutch braid (aka the “inside out braid”) looks super complicated. But it’s actually just the reverse of a French braid; instead of weaving sections of hair over the top and through, you bring them underneath.
Still confused? Don’t stress! If you can do a regular three-strand braid, you’ve got this in the bag. And we’ll walk you through the step by step process for how to dutch braid like a pro.
First things first: get yourself armed and ready for braiding. Here are the six tools and products you should have handy.
A hair primer/detangler to get your strands ready for action. EVA NYC’s Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer is a good one—it nourishes, strengthens and repairs hair with Argan oil and sunflower seed oil.
A hair brush or comb, like Pink Pewter’s “Never Let Go” Carbon Fibre Styling and Highlighting Comb for detangling and easy styling.
A hair tie–we love these ones from Leaders Cosmetics USA for their strong but gentle hold.
A curling iron, like FOXYBAE’s Rose Gold 25mm Curling Wand to add some extra bounce to your braid. Bonus: its ionic technology heats hair evenly to reduce damage.
A lightweight finishing mist or hairspray, like R + Co’s Glittering Smoothing Shine Spray. It adds instant shine, while reducing static and frizz. Win, win!
Bobby pins, for extra hold when you need them. We love Briogeo Hair Care's Pin Tin for an easy-to-store bobby pin collection whenever you need them.
Dutch braiding can be daunting, but don't worry: we break down the video tutorial above in a few easy steps. For extra practice, first try braiding on someone else's hair rather than your own hair–it can be easier to get a hang of things when you can actually see which strand goes where.
Apply a small amount of hair primer all over dry hair. If you're using a liquid or gel, use a dime-sized amount. If you're using a spray, spritz lightly all over.
Starting at your hairline, make five small sections of hair, about a half inch thick and keep each separate. The middle section (#3 in the video) should just lay flat in the center, not being held up by your fingers.
Take the section of hair that is furthest to the right (#5 in the video). Weave this far right strand underneath the next closest section of hair (#4). Then, pick up the middle section (#3) and weave it to the right, first underneath #4, making #4 now the center section. Repeat on the other side: weave section #1 under #2, and pulling the new center section (#3) to the right under the new section #2.
Repeat this pattern of weaving the hair underneath on each side, until you've braided both the right strands and left strands, and start adding hair (about ½ to ¾ inch pieces) from the root to each outermost side section (#1 and #5), making the braid expand and get thicker as you go. Maintain tension as you braid—it will be easier to finish the braid, and you can loosen it up when you are done. Plus, this way you'll avoid bumps and holes in your plait.
Once you reach the nape of the neck, secure the braid with a stretchy elastic or hair tie, making a low ponytail with the remainder of your hair. Then run your hands over the braid, feeling for any pieces that need to be tucked in with bobby pins or uneven sections that need to be smoothed. If you can angle yourself to get a good view in front of a mirror, it’ll be even easier to see any fixes that you can quickly do with your fingers.
Pull the ponytail to one side and curl small sections of hair using a one inch barrel curling wand. Keep the wand upright and wrap each section around the barrel, leaving the ends (about one inch) out.
Mist a finishing or shine spray all over the braid and curls, lightly covering all of your hair.
Gently pull apart sections of the braid with your fingers, loosening it up and giving it a “perfectly imperfect look.” You want the braid to look polished but not overly coiffed.
Voila—a 5 strand dutch braid simplified into 8 easy steps. Now what you are waiting for? Happy braiding!
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