This post is from 2013, so deal with this repost because this is still highly accurate and just know braids are rad for the holidays. My hair probably looks best when it's like this, so allow me to re-share the one thing I have to give to the world regarding hair. K?
Braids are the easiest to do when your hair is dirty. This is a fact of life.
Here's how you get a messy French braid (I have shoulder length hair, so this is describing that length, FYI):
1. Shower then get dirty. Get your hair dirty with sea salt spray or literally rubbing lotion together in your hands and drying your hair. People like to pretend that it takes a fortune in products to make your hair texturey, but these are lies. Go work out, if you want. That's free salt water spray from your own head. I like making my hair dirty with sea salt spray, some oils, and some other creams — disclaimer: my hair is incredibly dry and I swear to you this combination makes the frizz go away. You don't have to shower, I guess. But if your scalp is itchy and too dirty, you will hate your life when you realize every time you scratch your itchy scalp you are ruining the beautiful braid fruits of your labor.
2. Dry your hair. This gives you a chance to look at all the annoying frizz and baby hairs that would have ruined your beautiful braids. Your hair should be horrendously coarse and maybe even sticky and poofy. This is most excellent, so don't panic. You're committed now. Alternatively: spray most of those flyaway suckers down with a hair spray while the hair is wet (mostly near the roots, this is where the baby enemies live). Don't over do it though. The key to all of this is it has to be kind of messy. So wage war against the frizz and baby hairs, but don't obliterate the species into slickness.
3. Comb your hair loosely with a wide-tooth comb. Or use your fingers as a brush. Seriously, most hair tools are just a silly ploy for your money. Your fingers will work just as much as that beautiful Mason Pearson wide tooth comb. This entire combing process just helps your fingers grasp the strands later because now the hair is all going in the same direction. Plus you've helped tame some of the mess you've just made with product.
4. Part your hair down the center, or, deep part it. I love the look of deep parts, so this is my go to. Start the part right where your eyeball is when you look straight forward, and brush all the way to the back of your skull. Take the brush and comb the line to straight perfection. You'll want to comb the back of your head into roughly two sections (one going left, one going right). This is not a science, you can be all willy nilly if you'd like. You'll look extra charming this way.
5. Rest and let some blood pool in your hands because you're about to put them above your head for what feels like hours.
6. Start french braiding your hair slightly in the center of the two major sections you've got. This is because you need hair ammo from each side of the braid to keep it going. Expert people can make a french braid by only feeding one side. I've tried this: it's hard but beautiful.
[Olga, how do you french braid, help plz.]
Watch this before you do anything.
7. Tie your hair once you've braided as far as you can braid. Use those little rubber bands they have at CVS since they are the best. Look: Your hair will look sloppy and you will look silly right now, but just remember you are not done. By the end of french braiding the sides of your heads you will have two tiny, sad looking braid ends. Don't even curr about it.
8. Grab an army of bobby pins and start pinning the braid end around your head. The neater your braid, the more pins you'll use. Also, the cleaner your hair is, the more pins you'll use. This is an adventure in mediocrity, so you do you, bb, and you'll be fine.
Just keep pinning them braids around the back of your head until you see them stay into a Heidi shape.