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Hello lovely! I’ve finally been able to do the requested Intricate Five Strand Braid half-up style! It may seem a bit difficult to do at first (I thought so), but give it a shot! After breaking it down into step-by-step, it’s not at all that hard to follow. Like with everything, it takes a little bit of practice.

If you have long hair, you can follow the steps of the five strand braid and do it as a low side braid. But if you have shorter hair like me, and it’s layered, there’s still no reason to give up trying something new on yourself! Ok, so you can’t do a luscious long braid, but you can modify it into a half-up style, where you’ll only braid a part of your hair. I personally think either option would look great on long hair, and if you are blessed with long locks, you simply have more choices 😉

The intricate five strand braid half-up style for shorter or medium hair

five strand braid

First let’s talk about the trick that will allow you to do this on shorter hair. What usually seems to be the problem when your hair is short (bob length) or even medium length with layers, is that when you bring the front hair to the back and try to braid it, it will fall a bit short and those front pieces will keep popping out of the braid. Depending on your exact length, that will make it either very difficult or impossible to keep neat, especially when you’ll want to pull on the edges of the braid (the number one trick of every braider to make the braids appear fuller than they really are). Instead of fighting with those short strands, we’ll eliminate them from the braid all together 😉 The instructions below will be followed by a video tutorial in case you prefer to follow that.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Separate a circular section in the crown area, leaving the shorter pieces from the top and sides out. This will give you a more unified length section to braid. Tie everything else in a low pony to get it out of the way.
  2. Take just a small bottom piece of that circular section and braid it into a normal 3 strand braid.
  3. Release the rest of the section. Bring the braid up through the middle and pin it to the top for a bit to get it out of the way.
  4. Divide the rest of that hair into four strands (the braid will be the fifth middle strand).
  5. Take the outer strand from the right and cross it over the one next to it and do the same on the left side. The two outer strands should now form a cross in the middle. Bring the braid down and let it fall on top of the cross. That is how you begin the braid. From now on we’ll have two slightly different rounds of braiding alternating each other.
  6. Round one: Take the outer strand from the right and bring it UNDER the one next to it and OVER the braid. Now from the left side, bring the outer strand UNDER the one next to it and OVER the next one. Once again, the now inner strands will form a cross, but you’ll see that the braid has moved away from the middle. Now you have to move it back to fall in the middle UNDER the cross (see picture 10).
  7. Round two: Take the outer strand from the right and bring it OVER the one next to it and UNDER the braid. Now from the left side, bring the outer strand OVER the one next to it and UNDER the next one. Now you have to move the braid back to fall in the middle OVER the cross (see picture 11). As you see, the only difference between the two rounds is that you start crossing under in the first one, and over in the second one.
  8. Keep alternating steps 6 and 7 until you get all the way down. Remember you’ll want to pull the braid apart, so don’t go too far down. Tie the braid with an elastic and pull on the edges of the braid.
  9. Now it’s time to deal with the front. Pick up a small section near the part and divide it into two strands. Start twisting them away from your face. After each time you twist, add in a new section only into the lower strand and twist again.
  10. It’s up to you when you’ll want to stop adding in new hair, in this case I went all the way down to the top of my ears. Then just keep twisting the strands together all the way down without adding any extra hair and tie them off with an elastic. Do the same on the other side.
  11. Cross the two twists in the back and hide both ends in the pockets that have formed on the sides. Pin that in place with bobby pins.

VOILÀ! You’re done! 🙂 See the video tutorial here:

Will you give the five strand braid a shot?

I hope you’ll find my trick for shorter hair useful. You can also use it with a simpler braid. This style will also look great with a normal three strand braid instead of the five strand braid, especially if you pull it apart and make it really thick 😉

Have a great hair day lovely! See you next time!


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I'm a self-taught hair lover that wants to inspire others ;)


Reply May 13, 2016

I love this braid but the half-up look doesn't work for me at all. Any chance you would consider making a tutorial for this intricate five strand as a dutch braid, incorporating hair from the sides? I'm guessing the fingering would be tricky.

    Reply May 19, 2016

    So sorry for not getting back to you earlier! I've been a bit sick lately. Haven't done that yet, but I'm willing to try ;) I have done the five strand dutch braid, but that gives a different result. Is there any particular reason why it doesn't work as a half-up style for you? You simply don't like the way it looks or is there another reason? Depending on you hair length, you could also do it as a low side braid, that is if your hair is longer than mine ;) Will try to see if it's possible to recreate a similar result by doing this as a dutch braid though! :)

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