7 Reasons Your Braid Isn’t Coming Out the Way You Want

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You’ve been at it for what feels like eight hours trying to get the perfect fishtail braid. You think you finally nailed it until you get to the end and it just doesn’t look the way you want. Whether it’s because pieces of hair are falling out or sections are uneven, you choose to pull it all out and start from scratch.

We’ve all been there and we know how this frustrating this process is. In order to fix it, though, the first step is to identify the problem. Below are seven reasons why your braid probably isn’t coming out the way you pictured it would. Once you know the problem, you can come up with a solution to get your ideal braid!

1. Hair isn’t brushed out well: It’s important to make sure that hair is brushed out well enough so you can evenly separate the strands to use throughout the braid. You also don’t want large bumps of hair on top of your head because hair isn’t smoothed out.

MORE: 101 Braided Hairstyles to Try Now

2. There isn’t enough product in it: Even if you aren’t typically the type to use product, when creating your desired braid, you need to keep hairs in check. Whether it’s loose plaits or tight and smooth hair, products like gel, dry shampoo, or hairspray help you achieve the right look.

3. The thickness of each section varies: No matter what type of braid you’re creating, the key is to maintain equal thickness within each strand of hair throughout the braid. Varying sizes of the sectioned areas makes for an awkward-looking braid. Instead of messy-chic it comes out more hot-mess, and you’ll inevitably need to start over again.

4.  You’re inconsistent with the braid pattern: Your fingers get tired after braiding for a while which can mean you start to get lazy towards the bottom of your hair. You feel yourself starting to mess up the 1-2-3 pattern you started with, which in turn makes the braid a jumbled mess. Just a little change up from the pattern can cause a seriously noticeable mistake, so pay attention when you’re braiding.

MORE: How to Do a Waterfall Braid on Yourself

5. Using the wrong elastic size: Certain braids or hair thickness call for different types of elastics. If you’re only doing half of your hair in a braid, you need a thinner smaller elastic. If you’re braiding your bangs, a small clear elastic or even just a bobby pin is all you need. If the elastic is too big, it changes the entire look and won’t hold properly.

6. Hair isn’t dirty enough: Because of the grit of dirty hair, it actually holds braids better. Clean hair tends to slip out of place. Give yourself a day off from shampoo to get the second day texture you need, then proceed with braiding.

7. You don’t pull tight enough: Sometimes you want the looser braid look, which is totally fine. But if you start by braiding too loosely, the sections of hair won’t hold together. Instead, run your fingers through after and pull it the braid to loosen after it has been created.