braided hair image by Pix by Marti from

Plaiting or braiding is a technique for securing long hair in an attractive way. Unlike a ponytail that allows the length of the hair to remain free, a plait ties it up completely. There are many styles and types of plaits, but learning a standard three-strand technique is the building block for all of them.

Comb hair straight back and gather into a pony tail at the nape of the neck. You may secure the ponytail with an elastic band if you choose. If you do, you'll have a braid that is tied off on both ends. If you don't, your braid will be looser at the top.

Divide hair into three equal sections. Hold the left section between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, the middle section in the palm of your left hand and the right section in your right hand.

Cross the right section over the middle section. Shift the middle section into your right hand and the right section into your left palm. The middle section has become the new right section and the right section is the new middle section.

Repeat with the left section, crossing it over and switching its position to the middle.

Continue down the length of the ponytail, crossing the sections over the middle. As you make a switch between the middle and one of the sides, make sure the hair section doesn't twist and that the hair is forming a smooth, tight braid. Secure the end with an elastic band.

About the Author

Shaunta Alburger

Shaunta Alburger has been a professional writer for 15 years. She's worked on staff at both major Las Vegas newspapers, as well as a rural Nevada weekly. Her first novel was published in 2014.