Four-Strand Braid

On a much lighter note, I’m excited to share another hair tutorial today…

My friend Caroline introduced me to the four-strand braid, which is such a pretty twist on a regular braid. Wouldn’t you love to wear it with a cozy sweater all winter? Here are Caroline‘s steps, and Jamie Beck took photos (you might recognize a few from this post!)…

1. Divide your hair into two equal sections. I did this one on the side of my head, but you can have it facing straight back or in a higher ponytail. Whatever you like!

2. Take those two sections, and split each of them in two, so now you have four equal sections.

3-4. Take the section on the outside and pull it UNDER the section next to it, then OVER the next section. Repeat the opposite for the section on the inside: it goes OVER the section next to it, then UNDER the next section.

(I’ll break this step down a little more: Let’s label the sections 1, 2, 3, 4, starting closest to your ear, then outward. Section 4 goes UNDER section 3 and OVER section 2 (it will then become the new section 2). Section 1 goes OVER section 2 and UNDER section 3 (it will then become the new section 3). Repeat: Section 4 goes UNDER section 3, and OVER section 2, and so on.)

5. Keep repeating these steps until you have reached the end. You might need a minute to get the hang of it (it did for me), but just keep remembering the under-over, over-under pattern. Then tie off with an elastic band.

6. Fatten your braid out a little so you can see all four sections clearly.

Voila! It takes a second to get the rhythm down, but I promise it’s easy!

What do you think? Would you guys do this?

P.S. More hair tutorials, including a messy side ponytail and the perfect top knot.

(Photos of Caroline by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. Caroline is wearing a striped dress from Madewell, black patent loafers, and a tote from Dusen Dusen. All her jewelry is from her own line, BRVTVS.)

  1. Windi says...

    Great tutorial it was by far the clearest instructions I have seen on this and I’ve been looking for it for a while so thanks a bunch!!

  2. That is so simple tutorial for Four-Strand Braid. It look really beautiful and i will introduce for my friend.

  3. This was in the Birchbox blog today! My two favorite blogs!! Also your friend is GORGEOUS.

  4. Yes! I just finished doing this to my sisters hair! It took a couple tries, but once you get it’s so simple. I can’t wait until my hair is long enough to do this to myself!

  5. I am HORRIBLE at doing my hair, and I’ve been dying to learn how to do the four strand braid. Yours is the first tutorial that clearly explained how to do it, and I actually got it down within the first few minutes of trying! Thank you so much!

  6. OK, love the tutorials, the photos…the whole look. However, I’m getting a little frustrated with trying to SEE how the braid looks! You have your arm covering most of the braid in one shot, an awkward angle in another, braid on far side of face in a few more… In most of the photos the model is too far away and it’s hard to see the detail. Can you you at least have a few close up shots of the front of the braid (I’m talking really damn close, here), that is what you’re trying to show us, right! You’ve got some of the sides, but the front would be nice. Or, is it just me that’s getting mad at your photographer, who is obviously talented? I’ve looked at everyone of your tutorials and have gotten a little frustrated with the photos in every one. OK, I’m done with my rant. Thanks for listening. Love the braids.

  7. Gray T-shirt is from Club Monaco! I’d love to see some ideas for braiding short hair! thnx JO!

  8. my neighbor’s sister-in-law brought home $12419 a week ago. she works on the computer and bought a $486200 house. All she did was get fortunate and use the information leaked on this link

  9. So pretty and simple! Caroline is gorgeous. Any idea what shade of lipstick she’s wearing?

  10. I love doing a 4 stranded braid. I typically do mine in the style of a french braid (where I pick up strands)… I tend to think of it as weaving: over-under-over-under rather than braiding.

  11. I just wish my hair was a bit longer! I love that you have tutorial for straight, fine hair. Almost every other hairstyle ideas are for wonderful, thick, wavy hair. Thanks!

  12. I just checked out her jewelry line and I must say it’s AMAZING! I wish I had every single piece!

  13. I really like her dress.
    cute braid too, but I’ve got to say, I feel like I’ve seen this exact post before! You’ve done many, many variations on the braid, all with a pretty similar look. I know you love braids and since you and your friend both have long straight hair, its an easy, casual look for you both. But, I’d really love to see some variety in your hair tutorials.

  14. Its perfect!


  15. Love that! Simple but effective!Kisses!

  16. Looks cute but I’m not sure I’d be able to get the rhythm. I can barely do a regular braid.

  17. Looks cute but I’m not sure I’d be able to get the rhythm. I can barely do a regular braid.

  18. Kinda looks like when I accidently mess up my regular 3-strand braid.. haha.

  19. I would really love to see a makeup tutorial as well!

  20. Love that! can’t wait to try it!


  21. Wow! Simple {in theory} but effective! And what stunning photos! I would try this but I have layers so it’d be the messy look I think. Thanks for explaining how to do it : )I’ll take a look at some of your other hair tutorials now…

  22. Very unique and I ♥ any hairdo on the side of the head.

  23. I encho Emma’s comment, please have Caroline share her makeup information!

  24. oh its really lovely!

  25. oooh adore the tshirt— hints?

  26. where is that grey t shirt from? absolutely loved the braid!

  27. Ooh a makeup tutorial on this look would be great! It’s so fresh and simple :)

  28. I braid my hair all the time, I must try this! Thanks!

  29. SO cute, and I LOVE her style! The dress w/loafers is so unexpected and stunning.


  30. Hi Jo – your hair tutorials always look so nice but seem to be for only 1 type of hair – thin, calm, straight, long. My hair is very thick and curly…any tips for me?! Thanks :)

  31. ** helo’s mama, sorry!

  32. I am in love with that dress, but Madewell is no longer carrying it! If anyone has it in a size 10 or 12 to sell, I am interested! custicke at gmail dot com

  33. I’m with Helo’s mother, I would love a make up tutorial!

  34. Love it! So loose and casual but at the same time so put together!

  35. Where is her grey tee shirt from?

  36. Sigh… if only I had straight hair to actually wear this! Curly hair doesn’t work so well…

  37. She looks adorable, very nice braid! :-)

  38. This is super cute! I’ll definitely be trying. Glad you and your fam are safe. East Coast is in our thoughts over here on the West.

  39. Neat. I’ll be trying that out!


  40. Very cute! I love braids with cozy sweaters. I’m also loving sweater tights these days too. And wool socks. Anything to snuggle up in! Thoughts are with you and everyone else in NYC and region.

  41. I’m going to need to sit down and read the instructions CAREFULLY to decipher them… But I’m really looking forward to trying this out! Thanks Joanna!

    waiting for kittenheart

  42. not gonna lie, this braid is not happening for me.

  43. is there any way you can ask Caroline to do a tutorial on her eye make up? it is so simple yet so sweet. I love that she bring her eyeliner down.


  44. I absolutely love it! I should try braiding my hair again…. I’m always afraid to because my hair is so thin and when I braid it, it never looks that great. Try and try again I guess! Thanks for the tutorial!


  45. Totally trying it but I never look as glamorous as Caroline!

  46. where is her grey t shirt from?? must have it.

  47. I like that she mentioned to flatten the braid out at the end. That is something I never think to do, but makes a lot of sense! Very cute post.

    And please keep us posted on how things are going in Manhattan after the storm…we are glad you are all safe!

  48. I am totally trying it tonight. Such a pretty do:)LOVE. xoxo

  49. SO pretty!!!

    p.s. loved your Manhattan photo…it’s hard to picture the Big Apple so quiet. Glad you’re all safe!