The waterfall French braid, sometimes called the rainfall French braid, is a variation of the French braid where instead of all the hair being pulled into the braid, some of it stays free, flowing like water or rain down your head. A fairly simple braiding technique that gives a romantic fairy tale or Bohemian look, the waterfall braid works best with wavy to straight hair that comes at least below your chin.
1) Take a thick lock of hair from one side of your front hairline. Divide the lock into three strands: the top, nearest the center part; the center, just below the top; and the bottom, farthest from the top of the head. Hold all the strands in the same direction, away from your face.
2) Bring the bottom strand over the center strand and pull the center strand forward toward your face away from the rest of your hair.
3) Bring the top strand over the remaining strand, which is then the new top strand. The old top strand is the new center strand.
4) Pick up a new strand from below the braid; this is the new bottom strand.
5) Pick up a thin strand from above the braid and combine it with the top strand.
6) Repeat steps two to five, braiding away from your face until you have plaited to the desired length. You should have a braid running along the side of your head from front to back, with a series of loose strands pulled forward from the braid links.
7) Secure the braid: You can continue to plait the three strands like a regular braid -- bottom over center, top over new center, without pulling extra hair into the strands -- and then secure the end with a small clip or hair elastic. Or you can leave the three strands loose and secure them against your head with a clip, decorative comb or hairpin.
8) Let the loose strands that had been pulled forward fall along the side of the head under the braid. Brush your hair down into a flowing curtain, or finger-style hair into flowing locks. Set with a spritz of hair spray.
Tips & Warnings
You can make braids on both sides of your head, connecting them in the back, if desired. You can also try one long, continuous braid from one side around the back of your head.
You can run the braid straight along the crown line of the head, or you can angle it slightly downward toward the back by taking the new strands from slightly lower positions on the head with each new braid link.
The style can be done on wet or dry hair, but note that wet hair is more elastic and fragile, and may be prone to damage when pulled tightly into a braid.