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French plait - am a bit stuck, actually.

(24 Posts)
quidnunc Thu 06-Aug-09 10:33:21

Morning, all.

Need some help, please!

DD (4.5) has very fine hair, about 'that' long (hold hands out to illustrate). I saw a little girl walking along with similar hair in a french plait so thought I'd do the same to DD, which might stop quite so much porridge, pesto, etc needing to be removed.

I tried, and failed. Badly. Humiliatingly badly. Almost resorted to using sellotape badly.

So how is it done?

PS - actual hair length is about 2" higher than shoulders, sort of a bob.

Merci smile

ZZZenAgain Thu 06-Aug-09 10:35:24

I'm useless at that kind of thing but a friend of mine does this with her dd's long (very thick) hair and it always looks great.

There are some videos on youtube about plaiting. If you go to and write french plait in the search engine, I think you'd find them.

ZZZenAgain Thu 06-Aug-09 10:36:09

I looked at the videos but I still couldn't do it tbh

quidnunc Thu 06-Aug-09 10:38:59

Thanks, ZZZ, I'll take a look (once I get home, as youtube blocked at work!)

Snowtiger Thu 06-Aug-09 10:42:55

Hi - will try and explain, not sure if it'll come across but will give it a go!
Start with DD sitting in front of you with her back to you, and take the middle part of the top of her hair i.e. the bit from her forehead or just behind her fringe if she has one. Divide into three sections. Do one 'row' of a plait i.e. left over middle then right over middle, then as you progress down the plait, bring in another section from each side as you go, and incorporate it with either the left or right section of the 3 sections as you put that particular section over the middle one. Continue down the plait, adding in a bit on either side on each turn. Does that help?! Probably made it sound more complicated than it is but it just takes a bit of practice.
Best thing to do if you can't do it on your own is make an appointment at your local hairdressers for them to plait your DD's hair for you, and watch as they do it - that's what my Mum did when I was little and had long hair!

sundew Thu 06-Aug-09 10:49:03

Snowtiger has described it well! If your dds hair is shortish then you may be better trying to do 2 frenchplaits - ie split the hair as if you are going to do piggy tails and then plait as snowtiger says.

It takes practice though - it took me quite a few goes to master it - as at first I was all fingers and thumbs and couldn't work out how to hold the hair whilst I got the next section.

PortAndLemon Thu 06-Aug-09 10:50:04

If it's very fine it'll be difficult to get into a French plait, particularly if/when it's very clean (but once it's full of porridge and pesto it should be much easier grin).

I would start by gathering the front half of her hair (IYSWIM) into a ponytail on the top of her head (but not pointing straight up into the air) and securing that with a band (whatever you call a bobble that doesn't have bobbles). In principle you don't need to do that for a French plait, but it will make your life a lot easier.

Then divide ponytail into three and start plaiting working backwards down the head -- but each time you plait a side section over into the middle you also pick up that section of the loose non-ponytail hair from that side and incorporate that in with the side section of the ponytail hair before plaiting it over into the middle.

Then put another band on the end.

I'm trying to visualise the length of your DD's hair; it's possible it could be slightly too short.

sundew Thu 06-Aug-09 10:51:15

forgot to say - almost impossible to do if your daughter has clean hair. My dd has fine hair and I find it difficult unless it hasn't been weashed for a day or two [slummy mummy smiley]

ZZZenAgain Thu 06-Aug-09 10:52:07

is there some clever trick to weaving in these side sections so they sit nicely? whenever I have tried to do this, I make a total mess of it. I think dd's hair is just too thin (it's very long but there is not a lot of bulk to it).

bleh Thu 06-Aug-09 10:52:50

It does sound like it might be a bit short, but you could do a half plait which would keep it out of her eyes and relatively pesto free. My hair sounds about the same length, and I can't do a full plait (not enough hair), but manage a half one.

bleh Thu 06-Aug-09 10:54:10

I think you have to try and keep the hair straight, rather than twist it IYSWIM? So take "slices" of hair from the side and pull it in. Or else just go over it with a comb at the end to smooth it out.

PortAndLemon Thu 06-Aug-09 10:57:48

The "sit nicely" is the challenge, really. If you happen to have three hands, you can incorporate the side sections with a brush while you hang onto the other two sections without releasing the tension in the plait, but if you're one of those poor unfortunate souls who had the misfortune to be born with only two hands it's a bit more tricky. It comes down to practice, mostly.

[Disclaimer: DD's hair isn't long enough yet to do any of this stuff with. My experience was with plaiting my (quite a bit) younger sister's hair (who needs a Girl's World head? grin) so was extensive but a while ago]

quidnunc Thu 06-Aug-09 11:03:13

Right, so i think I can do this now. Thank you for the descriptions, I've just printed them outsmile

Forgot to say that DD has no fringe - same length all round sort of affair.

BTW I have secret weapons for clean hair: Do it wet, or squirt some clever anti-frizz stuff on. Works a treat & makes DD feel all grown up.

However, I will probably hedge this one by having a hairdresser demonstrate first!

sundew Thu 06-Aug-09 11:03:22

to get the side sections to sit nicely I use a nit comb! You don't need to get all of the hair either just the side section - so you are not plaiting all of the hair - you are plaiting on top of the underneath bit - if that makes any sense at all smile

quidnunc Thu 06-Aug-09 11:04:37

P&L - that's exactly the problem: not having three hands!

flier Thu 06-Aug-09 18:43:04

I've been meaning to ask this question for ages smile

LIZS Thu 06-Aug-09 18:45:39

I asked this a while back and never did get the hang of it.

MrsBadger Thu 06-Aug-09 19:00:53

you just need lots and lots of practice
this site is pretty good

you need much longer hair than you think to do a french plait that still has a plait hanging out the bottom (iyswim)
but you can get a good effect from shorter hair by tucking the sctraggly end under and pinning it - v good for ballet, gym etc

actually once you have the knack two look even better on little girls imo - less severe

ZZZenAgain Thu 06-Aug-09 19:05:07

wish I knew how you get in all that practice though, dd gets so annoyed if I fiddle around much. I fancy having a go at that lacy braid. Am just reading it now. Nice site.

MrsBadger Thu 06-Aug-09 19:12:37

if you ahve long enough hair practice on yourself

if you can do it wihtout looking with your hands behind your head it is a breeze to do on someone eelse

cat64 Thu 06-Aug-09 19:17:22

Message withdrawn

MrsBadger Thu 06-Aug-09 19:18:29

actually the ones she calls 'lace' are sloigthly easier as you only add hair from one side

there was a fad of doing what she would call 'lace crowns' when I was at school (we called them birds nests)

Slubberdegullion Thu 06-Aug-09 19:19:15

I practiced on a Girls World head for ages until I got it.

It's all in the little fingers. The hooking with the little fingers is the key.

aristocat Thu 06-Aug-09 19:30:26

i have been putting two plaits in DDs hair for school for ages now.
they're not quite french plaits but look really good.
we started with two bobbles & then plaited that - they stuck out a bit[looks cute when 4/5yo] and it was just past her shoulders then. now it is halfway down her back and so much easier to do.

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