How to Do a French Pleat in Hair

By Michelle Powell-Smith

The French pleat or French twist is equally at home at a luncheon, a wedding or a cocktail party. This formal updo works with medium-length to long hair, and offers an elegant look that can range from mod to glam, depending on what you're wearing. The French twist is a single, vertical roll arranged at the center of the back of the head. Create a French pleat in your hair the next time you want to add a dose of chic to your look.

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Actress Kate Beckinsale leaves a lock loose near the front of her French pleat.

Step 1

Lightly backcomb or tease the hair at the crown of the head by lifting small sections and moving the comb from the ends of the hair to the roots. Spray with hairspray and gently brush over the top of the hair to smooth.

Step 2

Brush all of your hair over one shoulder, being careful not to brush out the backcombing. Pin the hair from the opposite side flat at the middle of the back of your head, arranging the pins in a zigzag pattern from the nape of the neck to just below the crown. At this time, the pins will be visible, creating a line up the middle of your scalp. This will create the line required for the French pleat.

Step 3

Hold all of the loose hair firmly and begin to twist upward and toward the pinned side. You are creating the roll that will cover the pins on the back of your head. Hold the hair in place and spray well. Leave the ends loose at this time.

Step 4

Insert pins horizontally into the large vertical roll to secure the twist into place.

Step 5

Roll the ends into a vertical roll, following the shape you've already created. Use your fingers to shape the hair and pin into place. For a more casual style, curl the ends and leave them loose. Finish with a final mist of hairspray.