How to Do a Side French Braid for Beginners

Create a Pinterest-worthy side French braid with our easy video tutorial and step-by-step. 

A side French braid is a braid which starts on one side of the head and weaves around over the opposite shoulder, with more hair added in as it’s braided. A cute take on the traditional French braid and the perfect balance between smart and girly, once you get the hang of it this versatile look should take you under 10 minutes.

So, whether you’re a total beginner or a braids lover looking to expand your skills by trying a new braid to the side, let our side French plait tutorial show you how it’s done. Hit play on the video above to see exactly how it’s done or read on for more help on each step.

Don’t have a detangling brush? Make this tutorial easier and buy one of our fave brushes, here.


Take a section of hair & divide into 3.

To start off this side French braid, sweep all of your hair around to one side and use a tail comb to create a side part. Then take a small section of hair from near your hairline and divide it into 3.

Editor’s Tip: Try applying the TONI&GUY Flexible Hold Braid Balm before styling. Not only will it add texture, making it easier to braid in the first place, it’ll also give your braid more staying power so it lasts longer. 



Begin braiding.

Now you’re ready to start braiding! Start as if you were doing a regular 3-strand braid by passing the left section over the middle, then the right over the middle.


Add in more hair as you weave.

As you weave, pick up additional hair from either side and incorporate it into your braid as you go, continuing the ‘left over middle, right over middle’ process.


Continue braiding around the back of your head.

Continue braiding around the back of your head until you reach the opposite side than you started on.

Once you run out of extra hair to pull in, complete the rest of your side French braid using the regular 3-strand braid method. 


Secure with a hair tie.

Once you’ve braided all of your hair, secure with an elastic to keep it all in place.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t have any clear hairbands to hand? Take a section of hair and wrap it around the end of your ponytail to conceal your hairband and give a cleaner finish.



Pancake your braid.

Use your thumb and first finger to ‘pancake’ your braid, pulling it from either side to create a fuller, thicker appearance.

Then, give it a spritz with a strong-hold hairspray, like the VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. Not only will this lock your style in place, it’ll also prevent any unwanted frizz from cropping up throughout the day.


Final look.

And it’s as easy as that, you’re officially a braiding pro! The best part is, now you’ve got the basic method down you can use it to create even more looks, like a pretty side braid updo.


Shop the article

  1. TONI&GUY Flexible Hold Braid Balm
  2. VO5 Invisible Ultimate Hold Hairspray

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