How NOT to Get Crazy Confused While Attempting a Four Strand Braid

Victoria Moorhouse

Think all bets are off when it comes to you and a DIY four strand braid? Not so fast! We’ll never tell you that juggling multiple sections of hair is as easy as a topknot, but that’s not to say it’s impossible for the girl who’s really starting to invest time and commitment into her personal styling skills. The first step in not getting crazy confused when creating a four-strand braid is watching it happen, as opposed to just reading instruction manual after instruction manual. The second step is knowing the “under, over” technique. While this pattern may change depending on the overall shape of the braid—four-strand braids can hold a 3D shape and a flat, pancaked shape—you’ll always start by crossing one strand under a section and then over another section. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about—we rounded up a few beauty vloggers that call attention to these directions in their helpful videos. There are a ton of variations on the four strand braid as you’ll see below, and it lends itself well to accessories like ribbons and strips of fabric.

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Perhaps the easiest video to understand we’ve seen so far is this video from hair vlogger Bebexo. First, she’ll teach you how to create a rope braid that doesn’t fall apart. After she teaches you how to make a rope braid, she’ll show you how to incorporate it into a four strand braid using the “under, over” “over, under” technique. She’ll do this from both sides, making it way easier to understand because you’re only focusing on crossing hair over from one side at a time. It eliminates holding all four sections in your hand. Watch and learn!

Because Missy Sue is making her four-strand braid a French braid, it gets a little more complicated. Still, you start off with an “under, over” pattern. She does this to make a half-up French four-strand braid, which she ties off with an elastic. Before giving this a try on yourself, practice on a friend so that you can get comfortable passing four sections of hair around, while adding more hair to them.

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Want a four-strand braid without frills or added texture? This video by Luxy Hair will show you how. To give the braid a more dramatic effect, the vlogger clipped in extensions, which will make the hair appear thicker as well as obviously add in length. She starts by passing hair “over and under” and then “under and over” from the other side. She does this over and over again until the braid is complete all the way down. To cater to those who live for hair accessories, she begins the process again with a ribbon. Both examples are a walk in the park when it comes to braiding. Only downside? It’s a 10-minute watch—so you’ll need to set aside some time to really study it and press repeat.