I love plaiting or braiding hair, whether it's my own or for others. Braids have become very popular over the last few years, I remember having my hair tugged and twisted into a (slightly wonky - sorry Mum) French plait for school but now I see fishtails and rose braids - and of course the Frozen inspired Elsa braid (just let it go) and the catwalks always have braids in some style.
It was one of the skills I picked up quickest whilst I was studying, but if you feel a bit of a plait prat then hopefully this advice will help.
Feel itI tend to close my eyes when I braiding my own hair. Sounds odd hey! I promise I don't do this when I'm plaiting clients hair - or maybe I do, all whilst humming 'Unchained Melody' (ask your parents, or watch Ghost) Not looking at a plait whilst you do it means you 'feel' the process and it helps you move your fingers in a way best suited to achieve the plait you want. I often hold my little finger out from the rest to use as hooks for sections of hair, but however you feel comfortable will work for you.
Mirror ImageIt sounds bizarre, but looking in the mirror when styling your hair - especially plaiting/braiding will only hinder you. It's hard enough getting your fingers to do what you want to braid without the added complication of it all being reversed.
Start SmallIf you are struggling with a French plait, why not perfect the simple three-strand braid. Being able to do the basics well mean you have solid ground to build on. It's worth practicing on smaller sections of hair, do this around the whole head (plaiting at the back of your head is a lot harder than the front) and it's even easier with wet hair.
Let me know how you get on!