A hair braiding tool grabs sections of your hair to twist them into French braids, "waterfall" braids or other styles. These tools are usually made of plastic and may consist of one piece or require you to put together several interchangeable parts. Some braiders are made of a spongy material and look like a toe separator for pedicures. Regardless of the type used, a braiding implement can help you look chic and beautiful even without a trip to the hair salon.
Hair Braiding Overview
Why use a hair braiding tool? It's quick, easy, and you can do it yourself. It may take practice if you're all thumbs, but you'll soon master the technique. You can create a French braid, fishtail braid, or any braid you want with bands and decorative beads.
A standard hair braiding tool won't last very long, but hair braiders are inexpensive and easy to replace. If you are careful when using hair tools, however, they will last longer.
Does your hair get knots and tangles easily? If so, spray some detangler or use a leave-in conditioner before braiding your hair.
Once you start using a hair braider, you'll understand which steps to take to get the results you want. Your fingers and muscles have a "memory" of their own, and after using the braider for a few weeks, you'll know how to complete the step-by-step braiding without using an implement.
Find hair braiding tool instructions on YouTube or Instagram by searching for French braid or waterfall braid tutorials, or simply hair braiding. You can also check the websites of braiding tool manufacturers since they usually feature video tutorials and articles about how to use their products.
Here are some of the hair braiders you can use to make French, fishtail, waterfall, and twisty braids by yourself (or with a friend's help).
Reviews of Popular Hair Braiding Devices
The Ckeyin hair styling tool/braider helps you make stylish pigtail braids or other braids all over your head. It requires two AA batteries to operate and contains round beads and rubber bands to secure the braids.
This braiding tool for hair is a plastic unit with retractable hooks to grab onto sections of your hair. You press a control button to twist the sections into rope-like strands. To create braids all over your head, you take a thin strand of hair and divide into two strands to twirl. Then push up the arms to expose the hooks and put a strand of hair under each hook, with one cm of hair free at the end of the strand.
Take the styler away from the head so the strands of hair are stiff. Slide the button to the "A-Twirl" setting and hold in place to twirl the strands. When the twirl reaches the hair roots, release the button, and don't "over-twirl" the hair.
Slide the button to "B-Twirl and hold it to twist the strands together. Push up the styler's arms when a braid is formed and hold the braid end to unlock the braid from the hooks. Then secure the braid with elastic or a rubber band.
- Includes beads and rubber bands
- Goes forward and backward
- Compact and easy to hold
- Creates double, triple, or quad strand braids
- It may take several tries before you learn to operate it
- Batteries not included
- Machine may stop working after a few uses
Use this Magic Hair Braiding Kit to make a long, lovely fishtail braid on the back of your head. Fishtail braids are best for medium to slightly long hair.
Use by gathering some hair from the middle of your head and twisting it. Attach the anchor, similar to a bobby pin, to the back of your head. Once the braider is attached, grab a small section of hair from one side of your head. Twist the hair and insert it into the opposite side of the hairstyling braider.
Repeat this process with the other side until all your hair is in the braiding implement. Do the same with the other side and continue on until all of your hair is in the braider.
Use two mirrors to look at your progress from behind. The mirrors are helpful anytime you braid your hair by yourself, regardless the type of braid.
- Easy to use
- Works best with medium length hair
- Can use for fishtails, French braid, and other braids
- Works on straight, thick, curly, or fine hair
- May take a long time to learn
- Comes only in black
- Not suitable for very long hair
The Conair Topsy Tail Kit lets you perfect a flattering topsy tail ponytail in a few minutes. Use a detangling spray before using the Topsy Tail to prevent hair from getting knotted as you use the styling tool.
When you're done, your hair will look like it's braided, but it's actually been flipped through your other hair, creating the illusion of being braided.
Gather your hair in a half-up style. Put the loop side of the Topsy Tail up behind the elastic and feed your hair through the loop. Pull on the end of the Topsy Tail to make the hair go through the loop.
For a braided ponytail look, repeat the steps above four times and then tug at the hair strands and ensure they're loose. You can do a messy bun, a five strand braid, and lots of other looks with this simple tool.
- Easy to use
- Comes with 10-style instruction booklet
- Has two tools — one for a large ponytail and one for a small ponytail
- Great for kids' hair
- Works best on long hair
- May not work well on curly or wavy hair
- Loop is too stiff
A waterfall braid adds volume to your hair and keeps it off your face. Waterfall braids are the most complicated braids to create, even with a tool. Conair recommends that you have a friend help you braid your hair with this tool.
Use the Waterfall Braid Maker by twisting together two strands of hair from one side of the front of your head. Take the waterfall braiding tool and add the top strand of hair to the device's right slot and the bottom strand to the left slot. Add another strand from the top of your head to the middle slot and pull the hair from the left slot and let the strand drop down. This strand is the first part of the waterfall braid.
Turn the braider clockwise and place a new hair strand from under the strand that dropped to the right. Place a new strand in the middle slot and continue until you have braided all the desired hair. The Conair hair braiding tool apparatus to create waterfall braids has seven pieces — a foam wedge to insert hair strands and six silicone bands.
- Conair is a respected manufacturer
- A seven-piece set
- For all hair types
- Easy to fit in purse or makeup bag
- Use with a friend for best results
- May need to practice several times before getting it right
- Too complicated
A French hair braiding tool is excellent for beginners. It helps you create a tight, attractive braid, without any stray hairs, every time. Most stylists prefer to use a sponge tool to create French braids. The Sponge Hair Braider Braiding Machine is a small foam implement with four spots for placing hair strands to form a braid. It works on curly, fine, thick, or straight hair.
To use the sponge braider, you separate three sections of hair from in front of your head. A sponge braider has four components, numbered from left to right. Place hair in slots 1, 3, and 4. Move hair from slot 4 to 2, then from slot 3 to 4, slot 1 to 3, slot 1 to 3, slot 2 to 1. Add hair to slots 4 and 1 and repeat the process outlined above (4 to 2, 3 to 4, etc.) until you get to the end of the hair.
After placing the initial sections of your hair (left in the first spot, middle in the third, and right in the fourth spot), you crossover the hair (from fourth to second spot, third to fourth, etc.), you create the French braid pattern. It sounds confusing at first, but check out video tutorials or diagrams before braiding with a sponge braider to understand the process.
Use two mirrors to look at your head from behind the first time you French braid your hair with a tool to help you master the procedure.
A tool for French braids is helpful for beginners, but many people move on to braiding with their fingers after learning the basics with this tool.
- Simpler for many users than braiding by hand
- Fits on thick hair
- Works fast
- Smooths out hair
- Tires out your arms
- Instructions not included
- Takes a lot of practice before it works properly