What Is a Side Braid?

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  • Written By: Lynelle Harmon
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A side braid is a hairstyle that features a single braid positioned on one side of the head. This style can feature a traditional braid, a French braid, or a fishtail braid. The braid can also be used as the base in an asymmetrical bun for a formal look. Straight hair will create the sleekest appearance, while curly or wavy hair will add a bohemian edge.

A side braid style can be started by creating a deep side part in the hair on the side of the head opposite to where the braid will be made. All of the hair should then be combed to the side for the braid. Separating the hair into three sections of even size is how a traditional braid is begun, though uneven sections can give it a different feel. Each end strand, left then right, is crossed over the middle strand, pulling them to the desired tightness as the braid gets longer.


A French braid is a slightly more complicated version of a traditional braid, but can still be used in the side style. The hair is divided into two layers, an upper and a lower, for this side braid, with each layer then divided into three sections. The sections of the top layer are begun as a traditional braid for two to three crossings, but as the French braid continues, each crossing of the upper layers combines with the complementary strand of the bottom layer. Caution should be used to ensure that the proper segments are crossing at the same time. The end result will be a braid that is bulky at the top that then narrows towards the end.

Fishtails are a more complicated side braid that may require practice to master. Hair is separated into two sections, rather than three. A small section of the exterior edge of the left side is crossed over a small section of the interior edge of the right side. Then a section from the exterior edge of the right side is crossed over an interior edge section on the left side before the two steps are repeated. As this braid grows, it should resemble the bones of a fish.

The end of any style of side braid should be secured using a hair elastic. To cover the elastic, a strand of hair can be left out that can be wrapped around the band and pinned into place behind the braid. A jeweled clip can also be used to hide the elastic.

A simple formal style can be created by wrapping the braid up and around on the side of the head until it forms a bun. A hair elastic and pins will secure the bun in a braided-style chignon. Jeweled hair clips, brooches, or clips with flowers can accessorize the asymmetrical bun. Hairspray should be applied to keep the side braid firmly in place.


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