Learning to braid extensions can be a time consuming process that requires patience. The most common ways to braid extensions are box braids, cornrows crochet braids. While they can be time consuming, each method is easy to learn.
Method 1 of 3: Box Braids with extensions
Step 1. Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner before braiding it
Extensions that are braided small usually last longer, so start with clean hair and a clean scalp. Make sure your hair is dry before braiding it.
You can also cut the extensions to the desired length before braiding them. If you are going to use the full length of the extensions, then you can leave them as they are
Step 2. Divide your hair into small, even sections
For box braids, braid numerous strands into small, long braids. Begin the process by splitting your hair into small, even, box-shaped pieces. Then secure each section into a bun with a small elastic band. For best results, use a comb and make sure your hair is combed loose before you begin.
Step 3. Wrap the extension around the natural hair strand
Hold the strand of natural hair in one hand. Take the extension and loop it around your natural hair. Essentially, you wrap the extension half way around the natural hair. You have two strands of extensions in one hand and your own strand of hair in the other.
Make sure the extension is looped evenly around the strand so that the ends meet. This will keep your braid even
Step 4. Wrap the extension around your natural hair
Keep your natural hair taut as you twist the two strands of the extension around the natural strand of hair. If you can't quite get it by twisting it, just cross the extensions under the natural hair. You now have three different strands of equal size.
Step 5. Start the basic braid
Take the natural strand (one of the outermost ones) and cross it over the middle strand. Pull the extension to the side, making it an outer strand, while the natural strand of hair becomes the middle strand. This results in three strands.
Spray the extension and natural hair with water to hold stray hairs in place while you work with them
Step 6. Braid a few strands
With these first three strands, plait a first piece of the braid -- for starters. Then slide the extension up towards the scalp to secure the braid.
Be careful not to braid the hair too tight. This can otherwise cause serious damage to the scalp and hair
Step 7. Interweave the natural hair with the extensions
Divide the natural hair into two strands. Do the same with one of the extensions. Combine one of each of the strands into two new strands. Now two of your strands should be a combination of a natural hair strand and an extension. You should still have three separate strands of hair at this point.
Step 8. Keep braiding
Now that the braid is started and combined, continue braiding all the way to the end of your hair.
If you get to the ends of your natural hair, use some hairspray or water to smooth the hair while it is combined with your extensions
Step 9. Fasten the end
When you've reached the end of the extensions, secure the ends with a small hair tie or other method.
Method 2 of 3: Braiding Cornrows with Extensions
Step 1. Take a line of hair separately
Start your cornrow by marking off a long, narrow section of hair. This part should be in a straight line from your scalp to your neck. Make sure to separate the edges as clearly as possible.
- Secure the hair that is not in the cornrow with rubber bands, clips, bobby pins or any other hair aid. You want to make sure the rest of your scalp hair doesn't get caught up in the cornrow.
- Comb the hair in the canal straight back before you start.
Step 2. Separate a thin section at the scalp
To start your cornrow, you need to make the base for the braid. Start by taking a thin, even section from the front of the section, near the scalp.
Step 3. Add the hair extension
Place the extension around the natural hair so that the natural hair rests in the center of the extension. This creates three strands to braid – an extension on the right, the natural hair in the middle, and an extension on the left.
Prepare these strands for braiding by placing the three strands between your fingers on one hand. One strand comes between your thumb and index finger, the middle one between index and middle fingers, and the last one between your middle and ring fingers
Step 4. Start the braid
Bring your fingers as close to the scalp as possible. Start with the hairs resting between the ring and middle fingers. Take that lock of hair between your thumb and forefinger on your free hand. Wrap the strand of hair around the base of the hair in the direction of the hand you're wrapping. Hold the hair tight against the scalp. Holding that strand between your thumb and index finger, place the middle strand between your index and middle fingers, while the outer strand is between your middle and ring fingers.
The strands have now changed position. The hair that started in the back is now in the front, the original middle strand (your natural hair) in the back, and the original strand in the front in the middle
Step 5. Repeat on the other side
Now repeat the same steps with the other hand, wrapping around the other side of the strand. Take the strand or strand currently between your ring and middle finger and wrap it around the hair with the thumb and forefinger of your free hand. Make sure you wrap it around a different side than you did in the previous step -- you wrap it around your free hand. Now place the middle and outer strands between, respectively, the index and middle fingers, and middle and ring fingers.
If you wrap with your left hand, the hair will be wrapped on the left side of the strand. If you wrap with your right hand, the hair will be wrapped on the right side of the strand
Step 6. Wrap three or four times
Continue to braid the hair in this manner in three to four wraps. You need a tight, secure base braid for the rest of your cornrow.
Step 7. Add hair to the braid
Now that the basic braid is done, start adding hair to the braid. Take a small amount of hair from the canal and add it to the strand of hair between your thumb and forefinger. Make sure your hair is from both sides of the section you are braiding.
Keep adding little bits of hair from directly under the braid, braiding full wraps each time
Step 8. Continue braiding until the end of your hair
When you have incorporated all the hair from your scalp into the braid, continue braiding, but move to a box braid and so on all the way to the tip of your hair. Secure your hair with a small elastic.
After the first part is done, repeat the whole procedure for the other rows
Method 3 of 3: Crochet braids with extensions
Step 1. Braid cornrows in your hair
To prepare your hair for crochet braids, braid your hair in cornrows. You can make 5-6 large cornrows, or smaller braids.
- The number of cornrows you braid in your hair can depend on the type of extensions you braid in your hair. If you are braiding bulky extensions, you can braid fewer cornrows in your hair.
- Crochet braids are braids where you first make cornrows and then weave the extensions into the cornrows using a clip crochet method.
Step 2. Sew your tails to your cornrows
If your hair is long enough to extend past the crease at the nape of your neck, fold them so that they are along the cornrow. Push needle and thread through the cornrow and braided tail, then through a loop at the end of the thread. Pull the strand tight to secure the hair. Repeat a few times along the cornrow.
Step 3. Secure the extension with a smyrna knot
Fold the extension in half so that the ends are flush. The center of the extension should make a loop. Carefully slide the smyrna knot under the cornrow. Hook the loop of the extension into the smyrna knot and then close it.
- Buy a tool for making a smyrna knot. This tool closes the hook so it won't tear, break, or get caught in your hair. Using a regular crochet hook can damage your hair.
- You can also use a hairpin. Slide the hairpin under your cornrow until only the end with the loop is sticking out on the other side. Slide the extension through the loop of the hairpin. Make sure to pull the hair through until both strands are even. Slide the hairpin and extend it under the cornrow.
Step 4. Pull the extension through
Gently pull the extension under the cornrow until the loop of the extension is under the cornrow. Take the strands of the extension and pull them through the loop. Tighten the loop until it is snug against the cornrow, thus attached to your hair.
Step 5. Repeat the same crochet procedure
Once you've pinned an extension, repeat the same process at the very bottom of the cornrow. Place them as close together as you want depending on the look you're going for. You can twist or braid the extensions when you are done attaching the extensions.