As a busy career woman and mom, I’m always seeking hairstyles that are both beautiful and practical for my active lifestyle. After years of experimenting with different looks, I’ve found butterfly braids to be a gorgeous, versatile option that also saves time compared to more intricate styles. The whimsical, woven shape lays gracefully and keeps my natural hair protected. If you’re looking to upgrade your hair game with a stylish look that’s functional for real life, then join me as I share my favorite butterfly braid tutorials.
I still vividly remember getting my first set of butterfly braids in college. I sat in the salon chair nervously anticipating the sharp tug of the braiding comb. Instead, I was met with a soothing sensation as the stylist gently parted my hair into sections before expertly weaving strands into an elegant butterfly pattern. She incorporated hair extensions for fullness and length, so my new braids cascaded gracefully down my back. When she angled the mirror towards me, I barely recognized myself. The shimmery braids framed my face elegantly. I exuded a natural confidence that day, feeling beautiful yet carefree.
While traditional box braids and cornrows remained ubiquitous, these butterfly braids represented a more whimsical and artistic look. The intricately looped shape evoked a sense of freedom and transformation. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, I felt a new sense of grace and possibility. Ever since then, I’ve turned to butterfly braids to express my versatile spirit. The woven shape complements both dressy occasions and laidback weekends. When crafted correctly, butterfly braids move fluidly and feel weightless. The look can be tailored from bold to subdued. I appreciate the functionality of keeping my hair protected and out of the way without sacrificing beauty.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with diverse colors and textures for my butterfly braids. I’ll share some of my favorite styling tips later in this article. But first, let’s go over the basics of achieving the signature butterfly braid shape. While intricate, these step-by-step tutorials make butterfly braids accessible even for beginners. With patience and practice, you can elevate your hair game at home with salon-worthy braids. Shall we get started?
Butterfly Braid Tutorial for Beginners:
Start by sectioning clean, conditioned hair into squares using clips. Partings don’t have to be perfect since braids will cover them. Focus on creating four straight-edged sections.
Take a top section and divide it from ear to ear into three even parts. Secure the lower two parts temporarily out of the way.
With the uppermost section, make a regular three-strand braid down toward the nape of your neck until you have about 6 inches left.
Now transition into a four-strand braid by picking up a piece of hair from below and incorporating it as a new fourth strand. Braid down a few more inches using the four strands.
Once you have a few inches of four-strand braid, begin forming the “wings” of the butterfly by taking the two outer strands and crossing them over the two center strands so they switch places.
As you braid the entire length of the hair, keep switching up the outer strands into the center. You will see the characteristic butterfly wings begin to form.
Once you get to the ends, fasten them with a rubber band and seal them by gently dipping them in boiling water. For the remaining sections, repeat these steps.
I hope these detailed instructions provide a helpful starting point for beginner braiders to begin experimenting with the beautiful butterfly shape. As you practice, the muscle memory will kick in. Butterfly braids involve new techniques but create stunning results worth the patience required. You’ll get faster with time. Expect the initial few to take an hour or longer per braid as you learn the new motions. Don’t worry about perfection. Once complete, fluff and shape the braids for a voluminous, flowing look.
Customizing Your Butterfly Braids
Now that you have the basics down, let’s explore some fun ways to customize butterfly braids and make them your own:
Length: For an elegant evening style, try extra-long braids that graze your waist or hips. For convenience, keep them shoulder length or shorter. Multi-length braids are also an option.
Partings: Change up your partings from straight lines to a curved or zig-zag pattern for visual interest. Vary the sizes of each section.
Color: Ombre braids that transition from dark roots to light ends are always stylish. Or get creative with vivid highlights interwoven.
Texture: Try braiding in loose curls or waves to contrast the straight braided hair for cool texture.
Embellishments: Add metallic beads or cuffs for an edgy vibe, or keep it minimalist and let the braids speak for themselves.
Occasion: Dress up butterfly braids with jewel tones and accessories for formal events. Style with oversized tees for a laidback weekend look.
The versatility of butterfly braids lets you customize your look to suit any occasion or mood. Once installed properly, they last 4-6 weeks with care, making them a functional protective style. Simply tie a silk scarf or bonnet at night, moisturize your scalp and edges daily, and avoid excessive friction that can cause frizz.
Maintaining and Refreshing Butterfly Braids
Speaking of frizz, let’s discuss how to give butterfly braids a second lease on life when they start to appear worn out. Fortunately, updating the look is easy: just seal the ends with hot water and roll them on flexi-rods for defined curls. DIY keratin treatment can provide moisture and tame flyaways if you use human hair extensions. As braids get older, don’t be scared to appreciate the slightly fuzzy look—the “imperfect” stage also radiates easy beauty!
When installing or maintaining butterfly braids yourself feels too tricky, don’t hesitate to enlist a professional stylist. Their expertise crafting intricate braids is well worth the investment. Regardless of whether you DIY or outsource, proper care and handling of your natural hair underneath is crucial. Avoid tension from styles that are too tight, moisturize frequently, and remove braids gently without ripping out hair.
Speaking of hair health, let’s chat about the benefits of braids as protective styles. When done properly on a regular basis, braided hairstyles like goddess braids styles can promote hair growth by minimizing manipulation and breakage. The anchored braids shield fragile strands from environmental elements like harsh weather, pollutants or pool chemicals. Regular moisturizing and gentle scalp massages are still key though. Avoid excessive pulling at roots which can cause permanent hair loss over time. Be mindful if you have issues like alopecia or dermatitis – discuss wig options with your doctor if braids cause scalp irritation.
The Benefits of Butterfly Braids
The takeaway? Butterfly braids balance beauty with practicality when maintained properly. So the next time you crave gorgeous braided hair but lack hours for a salon visit, try mastering the essential techniques for these versatile butterfly locs at home. Whether worn for an event or casual day, a touch of whimsy never hurts. Challenge yourself to move beyond the basics by incorporating creative accents that reflect your unique essence.
Braids tell stories. They speak of history, culture, identity, and sisterhood. For many black women including myself, braided styles instill confidence by honoring our heritage. More than just a hairdo, braids become part of who we are. As an art form passed between generations of creative women, braiding teaches patience and teamwork. My daughter now eagerly climbs onto the bathroom sink so we can bond while I shape her thick mane into unicorn braids or mermaid waves. When her dexterous fingers instinctually learn to loop strands with rhythmic motion, I will know she has inherited this legacy. For now, we experiment together, alternating colorful clips and beads into her braids. The joy lights up her face.
I hope my functional butterfly braid tutorials have inspired you to also approach braided styles as both aesthetic adornment and shared experience. There is an artistry in braiding that interweaves community and self-actualization. By learning new techniques yet also embracing the imperfections that arise in real life, we open new pathways for growth. May your braiding journey be one of joyful exploration. And when you catch your reflection wearing gracefully woven wings, I hope you feel empowered to soar. You’ve already begun upgrading your hair game simply by embracing the process.