PREP: Lay your foundation and plan for the outcome. Trying to create a fat braid on fine, limp hair? Put some bulk in your braid with a small crimping tool like the like the Sam Villa "Textur" Iron. Fly-away hair? Smooth it down with a product like Kerastase Elixir Ultime for control.
MUSCLE MEMORY: Get the placement of your fingers worked out on the first stitch. Everyone braids differently. Find your comfort spot on that first complete step of the braid before moving on. Repeat the first stitch over and over until you are comfortable with it. Then you can move on to either repeating it all the way down the strand or going on to the next step of adding in hair.
STAY ORGANIZED: Learn your pattern well and repeat the steps to yourself as you go so that you don’t get confused. For example, with a four-strand braid, you might say to yourself, “over, under, under over.”
DON'T WORRY ABOUT PERFECTION: Just get the hair where it needs to be with each stitch. If you have developed your finger-placement strategy on the first stitch, you should have a good sense of how to get the strands in place. You can always adjust, tighten and/or straighten as you go. There’s no need to rush. Take your time.
START SIMPLE AND BUILD UP TO COMPLEX: Be sure you have a traditional, three-strand braid mastered before going on to a French Braid or Dutch Braid.
EXPAND, EXPAND, EXPAND: Even simple braids can be made to look amazing by “petaling” the strands.
PRACTICE!: Whether you are working on tight, intricate braiding, trying to develop dexterity, or complex braids expanded for drama. There really is no way around improving, except to just keep working at it!