Inside: A beginners guide to braided hairstyles for mixed hair that includes a tutorial for french braid pigtails.
If you AREN’T a rockstar hair stylist, (don’t worry, I’m not either!) it’s intimidating to try different hairstyles on your kids hair.
If you only know a couple basic hairstyles you may want to stick to what’s comfortable and fast for you to do.
Then to add to it, your kid has biracial hair so you’re probably dealing with different textures, lots of curls, more tangles, and lots of ouches from your kid as you fumble along!
But you don’t want to be that mom who sends their kids out in public with their hair not done for the world to judge…(I always worried about this).
Here’s my confession…
I knew exactly what to do during the detangle and moisturize process, but I SUCKED at doing any kind of hairstyle other than a basic ponytail or regular braid.
I remember when we were little, my cousin was able to french braid her barbies hair, and I just couldn’t for the life of me figure out how she did it.
(I was psyched when I figured out how to do a regular braid on my barbie!)
While regular braids are great, knowing how to do other braided hairstyles for mixed hair gives you more options to protect your child’s hair from the weather, their physical activities, and while they’re sleeping.
I know how important protective hairstyles are and as my daughter’s hair is getting longer and thicker, keeping her hair in protective hairstyles also helps the detangle process go much faster.
(Less tangles means avoiding a pretty terrible bath time experience!)
The problem was, she would never want to keep her hair in a ponytail or a regular braid, and even though I’m obsessed with her curls and I think they’re gorgeous, keeping it down every day wasn’t an option either.
It gets SO tangly if it’s left down for a few days, which again, makes for a pretty terrible bath time experience…
If you’re intimidated by fancy looking hairstyles, trust me I get it!! I thought it would be too complicated to learn, but I’ve practiced and I’m getting better!
Now my daughter wears these cute french braid pigtails and other protective hairstyles much of the time.
If you find that braided hairstyles for mixed hair are complicated for you, I want to assure you that you can do this!
How To French Braid Mixed Hair
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This is easiest to do this after the detangle process. You can see the whole cleansing, detangle, and moisturizing hair care routine for curly mixed hair here.
Because this process can take a little while, if your child is younger or lacks patience while they’re getting their hair done, you’ll probably find this process easier if they’re distracted while you’re working with their hair.
You can have them color, play on an Ipad, watch a movie, read stories, whatever helps.
You’ll start by using a wide tooth comb or a rat tail comb and make a part down all the way down the middle of their head.
You’ll probably also want to use some clips to keep the two sections apart.
Apply your products before you begin braiding. You can see the best products for biracial curly hair here.
I like to use this edge control at the front of her hair and down the hairline, and under her hair, (at the bottom of her head).
This gives a smooth, polished look to the braid with no frizzies or fly always.
I use a little bit and smooth it in with my fingers but you can also use a toothbrush to smooth it in their hair.
I start the braiding process right after she gets out of the bath so her hair is still very wet.
Starting at the top of the head from the part down, make a small triangle section with your comb or finger. From that triangle section, you’ll separate it into three strips of hair and those are what you use to begin the braid.
You’ll braid the hair normally one time and then as you begin the second braid, when you’re crossing over, you’ll grab an extra section of hair on that side you’re crossing to, and add that section you just grabbed, to the section in your hand.
For example, if you’re braid is crossing over to the left, you’ll grab an extra section of hair on the left hand side and include that in the section that’s already in your hand.
Then once you’re crossing to the right, you’ll grab an extra section of hair from the right side of the head and include it in the braid.
You’ll continue that pattern all the way down your child’s head.
Repeat for the other side of the head.
(I couldn’t for the life of me get a good picture of me braiding my daughter’s hair so this shows you the cross over and grabbing the next section)
If your child’s hair starts to dry too quickly you can always use a spray bottle and add water to their hair.
Keeping it wet while you braid will also help smooth any frizzies down.
Now, when I first learned how to french braid, I would always get a droopy bottom by the nape of the neck and it would drive me crazy! I could not for the life of me figure out how to get a tight braid all the way down her head!
However, the more I practiced, I eventually figured it out!
So here’s the secret I learned to avoid the dreaded droopy bottom…
Once your braid gets to about the middle of the ear, you want to have your child tilt their head down, (I tell mine put her chin to her chest) and keep your hands and fingers as close to their head as possible while braiding.
You’ll also want to keep the actual braid tight in your grip.
These two things are important because they ensure the braid stays tight to the head!
When I finish the braid, I take a final dab of Shea Moisture curl enhancing smoothie and twirl it on the ends to give it extra moisture.
After two or three days, I’ll tuck the ends under to keep them protected. (Basically when you’re putting the hair tie on at the bottom of the braid, don’t pull the ends all the way through on the last loop.)
This is a great protective hairstyle and it can last several days or longer depending on how old your kid is or what activities they do.
For example, my kid is very active. She loves to jump around the house, goes to gymnastics, practices her gymnastics around the house, and usually ends up rolling around on her hair at some point.
Because of this, her hair gets pretty frizzy and I have to re-do the hairstyle after a couple of days.
If your kid is older and doesn’t roll around as much, their hairstyle will likely last longer.
(A little frizz cause her hair dried too quickly before I added product, but I wanted to show you the final braid. If you make sure your child’s hair is wet when you add the product you won’t get the frizz).
When I re-do the hairstyle, I spray the front of her hair and sometimes the hairline and underneath her head, (at the bottom of her hairline) to tame any flyaways.
Again, I’ll use the edge control around the hairline and the Shea Moisture on the ends. (I wet the ends again as well).
I find that when I’m re-braiding her hair, keeping the rest of the hair dry helps me to braid it more easily because it’s still tangle free from being in the braid and wetting her entire head again causes some tangles.
For bedtime, all we do is put her satin bonnet on, (this one is amazing and never slips off her head) and I tuck the braids under the bonnet.
The next day she’s usually able to wear the braids as is without me needing to do anything.
If she’s been tumbling, then I’ll have to re-do the braid but again, it doesn’t take long.
Now that I’ve had my fair share of practice, I sure could rock a french braid on that barbie’s hair now, (without the dreaded droopy bottom!).
And now that you know how to french braid curly hair, your daughter can have beautiful french braid pigtails too!
I’ll be making a video at some point to show how I do this, but for now this is a good video tutorial to see how to begin a french braid.
In the beginning it may take you a little extra time and effort if you’ve never done any braided hairstyles for mixed hair or if you’ve never attempted a french braid before. But the more you practice, the quicker you’ll become!