There are some humans who can French braid, and there are some who cannot. I fall into the latter category. There is always something that goes wrong when I try to figure out how to French braid. The best kind of plait I can usually manage is the most basic of them all: The at-the-nape-of-my-neck, straight-down-my-back kind of thing.
Fancy braids are undoubtedly stunning, and there have been so many folks rocking awesome looks recently. Hailee Steinfeld rocked a French braid that ended in a fishtail — a cool twist on the classic look. Kim Kardashian recently sported adorable French braid pigtails. And celebs aren't the only ones who've jumped on the braid bandwagon: Beautiful braids have been seen across the pop culture pond as well. Daenerys Targaryen always looks divine with her oft-braided locks, proving that even dragon moms can elaborately braid hair, too. As for the women of Vikings , not only are their braids beautiful to behold, but they are also handy for keeping their manes tamed during battle.
Braids definitely look awesome. They're a fantastic style for greasy hair, and they help keep your locks out of your way. The only trouble is... learning to braid hair takes dexterity and patience, and if you're lacking in either (or both) of these things, the landscape of braiding might seem bleak. Don't worry: You're not alone. Here are a bunch of things that even the most skilled braiders struggle with when attempting French plaits.
1. You'll Start In The Wrong Place
You finally pluck up the courage to try a French braid for the 100th time. You get into the swing of things, but notice a few seconds in that you missed a whole chunk out and your braid isn't going to be positioned where you want it. You have to scrap what you've done and start over again.
2. Your Fingers Will Stop Working
Just like the times when you over-excited yourself and can't reply to the scandalous gossip in your group chat without getting all finger-tied, your fingers will stop doing what your brain's telling them to do as you try the French braid.
3. Your Hair's Too Slippery & Doesn't Do What You Want It To Do
I guess you need to hit the sweet spot. Never French braid if your mane is freshly washed or greasy.
4. You Literally Can't See What You're Doing
The mirror: You can't braid with it and you can't braid without it. Your best bet is to use a large, stand-alone mirror or a wall-mounted one so you can have both hands on the job.
5. You Just Can't Connect It All Together
So you've mastered the basics of a normal braid, but when it comes to a fancy style like the Frenchie, linking it all up can be a task in and of itself. Sure, beauty vloggers describe how to master it in their French braid tutorials. But when you try it at home, it just doesn't seem to happen.
6. The Part You Managed To Braid Starts Coming Loose
Just when you think you're getting somewhere, the part that you've managed to tame begins to unravel.
7. Random Hairs Will Appear From Nowhere
Finally, when everything seems to be going along swimmingly, you notice a loose strand. This nearly tips you over the edge and you feel so enraged, you briefly contemplate shaving your head. At least you wouldn't have to ever attempt a braid again.
8. You Realize That Your Roots Don't Look Great, But You Can't Turn Back Now
You knew your roots were bad, but you didn't realize they were that bad until you started your French braid. They are so bad, in fact, that they don't even look trendy. They're too far gone to look fashionably outgrown and they've not grown out enough to pass as a cool ombre 'do. But it's too late to turn back now. You've committed yourself.
9. You Don't Know How To Finish It Off
You're approaching the end of your French braid and you realize you have no idea how to complete it. Chances are you just wing it and hope for the best.
10. Your Bobby Pins Keep Falling Out
If your braid is getting messy — like mine — you probably utilized some bobby pins somewhere down the line. By the time you're nearing the end, however, you might find that those pesky pins have decided to jump overboard so as not to go down with this sinking ship.
11. Your Finished Work Looks Nothing Like A French Braid
You go to admire your finished work, expecting to see a masterpiece, but you're confronted by one big, hot mess. You never know, though. If you label it a new trend, it might catch on.
At least you're not the only one who struggles with this tricky style. French braid failures, unite!
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Images: Phoebe Waller