Tutorial: The Faux French Braid Updo

Emulate the feel of French braid updo hairstyles with a fraction of the fuss.

What’s a girl to do when she doesn’t know how to braid or is just simply inspired by the look of a French braid updo and wants to recreate the style sans the stitch? Fake it, that’s what. Come on, we know you love a good hair hack just as much as we do, so rest assured we’ve got your back.

This faux French braid bun updo is a combination of three or more twisted ponytails (depending on the length of your hair—on shorter hair, try two) that altogether gives the illusion of a braid. Try wearing this hairstyle out for a formal or casual occasion, as it’s a versatile style that works for both. Read on to learn how to hack your way around French braid updo hairstyles with a few simple ponies:

Step 1

Detangle and prep.

To begin, comb through clean and dry hair to remove any snags or tangles. You may start by cleansing hair with a nourishing system, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Therappe Shampoo and Nexxus New York Salon Care Care Humectress Conditioner before towel-drying. Otherwise, apply Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil to add shine and prevent frizz before you style.

french braid updo with clean hair
Step 2

Gather your first section of hair.

Gather your first section at the crown by taking sections from both sides of your head, starting from behind your ears, and bring it to the center of your crown. Secure with a hair elastic.

the french braid updo starts by gathering the top section
Step 3

Create a hole.

Poke a small hole above the elastic band with your fingers.

french braid updo inspired twisted ponytail
Step 4

Pull your ends through the hole.

Pull the ends of your hair through the loop, then tighten.

french braid updo inspired tutorial with ponytails
Step 5

Create your second ponytail.

To create your second level, grab two new sections of your hair below the first twist, and secure these with an elastic band. Proceed to create a loop as you did in the previous steps.

french braid updo tutorial with two ponytails
Step 6

Secure the second section.

Tie a hair elastic onto your second twisted ponytail then move on to the next step.

woman with ombre hair creates french braid and secures second ponytail
Step 7

Detangle again if needed.

Voilà! If needed, comb or brush your ends through before creating your last section.

french braid updo inspired look using ponytail twists
Step 8

Create a third twisted ponytail.

Create the third twisted ponytail right below the second, repeating the steps above.

french braid updo inspired look with three ponytail twists
Step 9

Final look.

You’re all set! For some extra styling (or to make the look even fancier), pin hair up into a bun. Simply gather the remaining hair into one ponytail and weave it around its base, forming a low chignon. Add bobby pins throughout the base of the bun to secure in place. Don’t forget to set it all with a hairspray, like TRESemmé Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray, to keep your style locked in place, and you’re good to go.

french braid updo inspired look with triple pony twists

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