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Any girl with long hair has probably had French braids at least once in her life. Who can forget sitting on the floor while your best friend told you to stop moving while she braided your hair? Because this is one thing you probably had someone else do for you, you may not have tried to French braid your hair since high school. What you may not realize is that there are many ways to wear French braids that look romantic, beautiful, and grown-up. And you can create them all by yourself.

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French braided bread

Although French braids, or three-strand gathered plaits, did not originate in France, braided bread is distinctly French. Rather than call this braided hairstyle by its origin country, which no one really knows because they have been around for so long, people refer to gathered plaits as French braids likely because they are reminiscent of French braided bread. In France, even their bread looks pretty.

French bread braided bread tanya_emsh / Getty Images
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Classic single French braid

A classic French braid starts at the crown and goes all the way to the nape with a long braid extending to the length of the hair. The braiding is done by crossing the gathered plaits over the center. Dutch braiding, on the other hand, is done by crossing the gathered plaits under the center resulting in a distinct braid that sits on top of the hair. Many people call Dutch braids French braids, but they are actually a different hairstyle.

Hairstyle French pigtails on the girl
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Double French braids

Double French braids are the next most common type of French braids and often seen on young girls. This hairstyle starts by creating a part down the center from the forehead to the neck. Each side is braided from the crown to end in a long braid. Double French braids are easier to do yourself because you can see each side of your head better than when you do a single French braid down the back.

French braids double French braids SweetyMommy / Getty Images
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Side French braid

You can make a side French braid by braiding the hair straight down from the part on the largest side of a side part until you reach the ear. Once you reach the ear, you start to angle the braid toward the back careful to pull hair evenly from the other side. Side French braids are romantic and are often adorned with ribbons and flowers

French braids side French braids melenay / Getty Images

Partial French braids

French braids don't always end in a braid. You can do a partial French braid just on the top of the head, or just to the nape and end the hairstyle with a ponytail rather than a braid. This is true of the double French braids, the side braid, and the other French braid variations. Securing the braid closer to the head keeps the plaiting from becoming loose.

Girl with brown braided hair and daisies

Partial side French braids

A partial side French braid can be a braid that is just along the hairline to the ear while leaving the rest of the hair loose and free. Variations of the style include a single small braid on the smaller side of a side part. Partial side French braids are the perfect blend of the beauty of braided hair and the freedom of loose hair.

French braids partial side French braids metamorworks / Getty Images

Diagonal French braids

A diagonal French braid starts on one side and sweeps around toward the nape on the other side. This style usually starts on the smaller side of a side part so it goes from a smaller, tighter braid to a looser less defined braid as a more hair becomes a part of the braid. A partial diagonal French braid looks very elegant when the loose hair is curled for a romantic look.

French braids diagonal French braids dimid_86 / Getty Images

Spiral French braids

Spiral French braids are braids that start at the crown and circle round and round getting larger and larger as more hair becomes a part of the style. In some cases, the braid is not a full spiral and instead starts at one side, sweeps to the other and then sweeps back to the original side. This back and forth style is sometimes called the snail braid.

French braids spiral French braids snail braids Vesnaandjic / Getty Images

Big and loose side French braids

Popular variations to side French braids are the big and loose versions reminiscent of Elsa in Frozen. These beautiful styles are created by taking the innermost part of the braid and pulling it to loosen it up. You work your way from one end of the braid to the other, pulling each inner piece to loosen it. As you adjust it you get this lovely big, loose braid. You can bobby-pin parts of the braid together to keep the loose pieces from sticking out.

Beautiful, red-haired girl with long hair, hairdresser weaves a French braid, in a beauty salon

Big and loose diagonal French braids

Big and loose diagonal French braids also look amazing. You can end the diagonal braid in a big and loose braid or make a partial braid, secure at the nape, and curl the loose hair. Either way, this hairstyle is beautiful and perfect for weddings, prom, or just to feel a bit like a princess for the day.

French braids big and loose diagonal French braids dimid_86 / Getty Images

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