Once upon a time, the term “Dutch braids” was not even in our vocabulary, but that feels like a lifetime ago. Now, Dutch braids have become a cool-girl staple—the "It" braid you need in your hairstyle repertoire. There’s only one issue: They’re not exactly intuitive. How many times have you started with the intention of creating Dutch braids and halfway through realized you’re actually just French-braiding? No more.
What Are Dutch Braids?
Also known as a reverse braid, Dutch braiding involves crossing the hair underneath sections versus over (as with French braiding).
We called in celebrity hairstylist Irinel de Leon to show precisely how to master the Dutch braid—step by step. And we spared no detail. "This hairstyle is really great for any hair type, " she says. "Those with straight or wavy hair can wear it overnight for pretty wearable braids come morning." For those with curly hair, Dutch braids are a great protective style to couple with a treatment or hair oil as well. Plus, though this style works beautifully on dry hair, it can be done on wet hair before sleeping for luscious waves come morning. Scroll through to learn how to Dutch braid.
Meet the Expert
Irinel de Leon is a Los Angeles-based celebrity hair stylist and curly hair expert. Her clients include Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Karlie Kloss, and Chrissy Teigen.
Watch Now: How to Make a Dutch Braid
Start with center-parted hair and brush out any tangles. "It'll make it so much easier to braid and feed hair in as you work your way down if there are no tangles," says de Leon. "You also want to make sure your part is as straight as possible—you can use the bridge of your nose as a guide and follow upwards with a tail comb." It should feel like the part is in the middle of the nape of your neck once you reach the bottom. Place a section of hair over each shoulder.
de Leon recommends prepping the hair before braiding with a gel or pomade to ensure a clean surface to feed the hair in and also to help the Dutch braid maintain its hold. Ouidad's Clear Control Pomade ($26) tames all the hair down for a clean finish without feeling heavy.
Grab three small pieces (about half an inch or less) at your hairline.
The key point to remember with Dutch braids is to weave each piece under rather than over (basically the opposite of a French braid). The piece on the right goes under the middle, and then the piece on the left goes under that.
Repeat the pattern of crossing the right section under the middle strand, and then the left section under the middle strand. Keep adding more hair (about a half- to three-quarter-inch) from the root each time you weave a new section.
Once you reach the nape of your neck, switch to a regular three-strand braid.
Tie it off at the end with a clear hair tie. We love Sephora Collection's Snag-Free Hair Elastics ($4).
Repeat the process on the other side.
Maintain tension as you braid—the tighter the better. If you’re into the loose, feathery dutch braids, you can always pull the edges of the braid out slowly for a wider and feathery finish when you're done.
For a messier Dutch braid, pull the loops to open them up. If you're prone to frizz on your braids, spritzing on an anti-frizz hair serum—like the Josh Rosebrook Serum Spray ($28)—after braiding will help tame them.
Keep scrolling for a bonus tutorial that'll take your Dutch braids from day to night.
Start with braided hair.
Grab each braid and pull them across your head to the opposite side.
Lift the tails up, lining them up against the inside edge of the existing braid.
Using bobby pins—we love the Sephora Collection No-Slip Bobby Pins ($5)—pin the ends of each braid into the braid it's lined up next to. Insert the pin in a downward motion, away from your face (the pin should go into the braid so you don’t see it). Be sure to tuck and pin the ends of your hair into the braid for a clean finish.
And that’s it! Your beautiful Dutch braid updo is complete.
Keep the updo in place while taming flyaways with a flexible hold hairspray like Drybar's Money Maker Flexible Hold Hairspray ($26).
Photographer: Paley Fairman
Hairstylist: Anh Co Tran
Makeup Artist: Stacey Tan
Model: Ali Collier
Production: Clique Studio