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how to dutch braid your hair

How to Dutch Braid Your Natural Hair

Consider this braid your new go-to natural hair braid style.
20 Jul 2022
If you’re looking for a braided hairstyle to do on your own hair, sans extensions, look no further. This oldie-but-goodie style works on any hair type and length, and it’s super cute, too. Enter, Dutch braids.

Even though A-listers are making this style more popular, it’s certainly not new—especially to the natural hair community. This braid style is perfect for hitting the gym, dining out with the girls or getting your hair off of your neck on a hot summer day. If you’re looking to recreate this classic style at home, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for a step-by-step Dutch braid tutorial plus everything you need to know about Dutch braids and how to make them perfect at home.

What is a Dutch braid?

Even if you think you’re unfamiliar with Dutch braids, chances are you’ve sported this braid many times without even knowing. Dutch braids is a braid made up of three pieces woven together by crossing the two outside pieces under the middle piece. This type of braid starts at the crown of the head or the hairline and continues down to the nape of the neck. It’s most common for Dutch braids to be sported in pairs—one on each side of the head, double dutch braid style—but a single Dutch braid or multiple Dutch braids are possible, too.

How to Dutch braid

Dutch braid vs. French braid—what’s the difference?

The biggest difference between Dutch and French braids comes down to how the three-strand system is braided. With Dutch braids, the two outside strands are crossed under the middle strand. But French braids are created with the two outside strands crossing over the middle strand.

Visually, the Dutch braid is, in short, an inverted French braid. Dutch braid hairstyles will sit on top of the hair, almost giving a 3D effect.

What you need to dutch braid

To create the perfect Dutch braid, you’ll need a few tools and products to keep the hair smooth and tangle-free. The good news is, you should have most of these in your beauty arsenal:

  • Detangling brush or comb
  • Hair gel
  • Styling cream or lightweight conditioner
  • Comb (if you want do two or more braids)
  • Hair elastic or clip
  • Clear rubber bands

Step-by-step tutorial of how to do Dutch braids

If this is your first time braiding, don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t look picture-perfect on your first try. In fact, most pros recommend practicing on someone else to master the technique before braiding your own hair. And remember, slow and steady will result in the best-looking braid, especially for first-timers.

How to Dutch braid - Step 1: Part the hair

There really aren’t any rules for sporting Dutch braids, but if you’re looking to create the classic style, you want to start with a middle part.

How to Dutch braid - Step 2: Detangle and smooth

Starting with detangled hair will make any type of braiding easier, especially Dutch braids. Take each section of the hair and work out any tangles or knots. For a pain-free detangling session, apply a dollop of the Wash Day Delight Conditioner With Rose Water from mid-shaft to ends. This dreamy detangler provides the perfect slip for unraveling knots and tangles without breaking your strands. Not to mention, it helps to soften and smooth your strands, too. If you prefer a pre-poo try Goddess Strength Ultra-Shield Pre-Poo, or for a more intense hydration session try Goddess Strength Cocoon Hydrating Mask. And if your hair is prone to frizz and flyaways or you just want a sleek finish, add a lightweight gel like the Wash Day Delight Gel-to-Foam Styler with Aloe from roots to ends.

How to Dutch braid - Step 3: Make three sections

Once both sides of your hair are smoothed and detangled, it’s time to create the first braid. To avoid ruining your center part, secure one side of your hair with an elastic to get it out of the way. On the first side, grab three small pieces at the hairline. Depending on the shape of the braid you want, you can grab them towards the center part or in between your ear and the part, the choice is yours.

How to Dutch braid - Step 4: Start braiding

Now that you’ve secured the three sections, begin with the Dutch braid pattern. Wrap one outside piece under the middle strand and then the other outside piece under that strand. This will repeat all the way down the hair. If you’re having trouble holding the three pieces, work slowly. Remember, the right outside piece under the middle strand and then the left outside piece under the middle strand.

How to Dutch braid - Step 5: Add more hair

As you continue this pattern, you want to add more hair to each of the outside sections to attach the braid to the scalp. Use your fingers to sweep hair into the sections as you move down the head. The key here is keeping each of the added sections of hair relatively even, so you don’t have one part of the braid larger than another part. Continue this pattern until you reach the nape of the neck.

How to Dutch braid - Step 6: Finish the braid and secure

Once you’ve reached the nape of the neck and all the hair is secured within your Dutch braid, continue with a traditional three-strand braid to the ends of the hair and secure with a clear elastic. Then repeat steps one to five on the other section of hair.

Tips for making a Dutch braid

Now that you’ve mastered the Dutch braid technique, here are a few pointers to take your braids to the next level.

Pull Taut

Keeping the braid as close to the scalp as possible will create a cleaner Dutch braid. To help with this, hold your hands directly on your head as you braid down. If your hands begin to move further away from the head, the braid will become loose and wispy.

Add Texture

If you prefer a messy, undone, whimsical look to your Dutch braids, gently pull on the edges of the braid to loosen. This will not only add texture, but it will make the braid appear larger. This technique gives major Queen Elsa vibes, if that’s the look you’re trying to achieve. Just be gentle. This step shouldn’t be rushed. A simple tug or two on each loop should do the trick. Pat a little Black Vanilla 4-in-1 Combing Creme or Monoi Multi-Styling Milk on the braids if you overdo it.

Style Baby Hairs

Dutch braid hairstyles are the perfect opportunity to let your baby hair shine. So grab your Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother and toothbrush and create loops and swirls that make this look uniquely you.

How to Dutch braid

For more braided hairstyles, check out Your Easy Tutorial for Creating Box Braids.

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