A Hair Enthusiast’s Guide to Tree Braids
Tree braids are a wonderful way to incorporate hair extensions into someone’s natural hair without the need for glues or wigs. The extensions are literally braided in with a person’s natural hair right at the scalp so that the hair extensions look one hundred percent natural. The braids can be as long or as short as a person would like, although most people choose a braided length of about three quarters of an inch to an inch. After the extensions have been braided in with the natural hair, the extensions can be cut to the desired length and style to achieve an entirely new and stylish hair do! Although tree braiding can be time consuming, the more one practices the process the quicker they will become! If you think you would like to give tree braiding a go, then read on to learn about the equipment you will need and the step-by-step guide to tree braiding.
What You Will Need
The good thing about creating tree braids is that the equipment needed is fairly minimal. You will obviously need the artificial hair. Although there are tons of different types, it is recommended that you try to go as natural as possible—one hundred percent human hair is definitely best in this case. The hair should be loose and not on a weft. An eight ounce packet should do well, and be sure that the strands are at least 24 inches long, as they will be folded in half when they are applied to the head, resulting in about 12 inch-long hair at the finish. If the person whose hair you are braiding wants a longer end result, then purchase hair that is longer than 24 inches. You will also need a duck bill hair clip to help you hold the remaining hair out of the way as you work. You will also need a comb and scissors if you will also be cutting the hair after the braiding is complete.
Step 1: Preparing the Base of the Braid
Forming the base of the braid is by far the most complicated part—and it really is not very complicated in itself. Start by pinching off a bit of hair from the bunch in your packet. Bear in mind that the amount you pinch away will be doubled over, so the size of the hair when doubled will be about the size of the resulting braid. For a finer braid, pinch off a little less hair. For a larger braid, select a bit more. Use your comb to part a very small section at the hairline near the ear (where a man would have side burns). Use the clip to hold back the rest of the hair while you work. Take the bunch of hair and pinch away a small portion. Fold this over the center of the remaining false hair and pull the ends until they are even. This will form your three braiding strands.
Step 2: Forming the Braid
Split the section of your client’s natural hair into two parts. Hold the ‘t’ of false hair at the client’s scalp and combine one section of their natural hair with the middle strand of false hair. Begin your braid, taking care to pick up the other section of natural hair in with one of the other strands of false hair. After one or two braids, pick section of the hair away and secure them with the clip. Imagine that these will become the “branches” of the tree braid. Try to aim for about three or four tiny branches.
Step 3: Tying Off the Braid
Once the braid has reached the desired length, it’s time to tie it off. Select a small portion of the middle strand and loop it around the end of the braid. Pull the end of the strand over and through the loop, securing it tightly at the base of the braid. Use the same strand to make another knot just to reinforce the braid.
Step 4: Repeat
Simply repeat this process over the client’s entire head. Once you have completed the tree braids, you can cut and style the hair as desired.