Braids may come and go, but if you ask us, the pull-through braid can never go out of style! This gorgeous hairdo was and still is ruling the ‘gram and it isn’t hard to see why—it’s complex-looking enough to suit the ecru on any elegant evening and effortless-looking enough to perfectly match that boho-blouse-and-basket vibe on a summer day.
However, as clever, adorable, and elegant as the pull-through braid is, its seemingly complicated look has deterred quite a few of our long-haired friends. Well, that’s why we don’t judge a book by the cover—this incarnation of the braid only looks complicated but is super simple to master!
Even if you’re blessed with two left thumbs, this no-braid braid is the perfect way to spruce up that pony.
So, ditch that traditional braid, bring out those hair ties, and get ready to rock this new look because we’re going to show you how to do a pull-through braid in two easy methods. Hair we go!
What Is a Pull-Through Braid?
First things first—a pull-through braid is not really a braid, though it looks remarkably like one (hence, the name). So popular was this braid that searches for it reportedly soared by 155% at one point!
Also known as a “bubble braid”, a pull-through braid involves interweaving three sections of hair.
We know what you’re thinking—isn’t that how actual braids work, too?
Well, what makes pull-through braids different (and simpler) is that you’re securing each section with a hair tie, unlike actual braids where the interweaving holds the hair in place.
Two ponytails, one on top of the other, are used to create the look, with the bottom pony being pulled through the one on top, until you run out of hair, to create a woven look.
So, at the end of the day, you’re not actually braiding. (Don’t worry! This will make sense as you keep reading.)
How to Do a Pull-Through Braid
Here are two of our favorite variations of the pull-through braid—a traditional pull-through and a side pull-through.
Traditional Pull-Through Braid
The traditional pull-through braid works just as described earlier, with two ponytails. Make sure you have lots of clear elastic bands ready for this one—you’re going to need all of them!
Start by washing your hair. Clean, freshly washed hair works best for this style.Towel dry your hair to get rid of any excess moisture—make sure you pat, and not rub, to protect your ends from splits, and always, always use a microfiber towel—from protecting your hair to quickly and efficiently sucking up moisture, we cannot sing its praises enough!
Prep your hair with a volumizing lotion or spray to give it the texture and lift required for a nice, thick pull-through braid. You could also use a mousse, applying this from the roots to the tip (not the scalp), or spritz on some blow-dry lotion evenly.
Finish drying off your hair with a blow drier and a paddle brush. To prevent heat damage, use the dryer on a low or medium setting until your hair is completely dry; you could also prep your hair with a heat protectant spray before blow drying.
You could also air dry your hair if you have the time, but the results may not be as voluminous.
All your fluffy, blowdried hair now needs is some softness and shine, so it’s time to whip out that serum! In addition to softening your hair and imparting shine to it, serum combats frizz like nobody’s business, making it easier to detangle and brush through your hair.Apply your favorite serum to your hair, working from the middle of your strands to the ends. Again, make sure you don’t rub—the “praying hands” method is much friendlier to your hair while giving you the best results.
Follow your serum application with a good detangle and brush.
Gather your hair into a ponytail at the back of your head, positioning it just a little higher than the center point. You can use either a clear elastic or a colored tie to secure your ponytail.
Split your ponytail into two, creating an upper and lower half (so you’re splitting it horizontally). You can use a fine-toothed comb for this, or keep it simple and just use your fingers.
First, we’re going to work on the top half of your split ponytail. Use a clear elastic or hair tie to create a segment in this half, just a few inches away from the hair tie securing your whole ponytail.
Ensure that both your upper and lower ponytails are perfectly aligned; if they aren’t, now is the time to make adjustments and bring them in line.
Poke a hole through the segment you created in step seven using your fingers or a rat-tail comb. Carefully, gently, pull your lower ponytail through this hole.
Just as we created a segment in the top half in step seven, create a segment in the hair that you’ve just pulled through and secure it with a hair tie.
Keep repeating steps seven, nine, and ten to create a woven effect on your hair, working till you reach the ends of both your ponytails. Once done, fluff up or “pancake” your braid by carefully and gently pulling the sides of each segment of the braid. This will even out your braid while also making it look thick and juicy!
And there you have it—a gorgeous pull-through braid! Finish off your braid with a spritz of hairspray to keep away the frizz and flyaways and you’re now ready to rock this look.
Side Pull-Through Braid
This side pull-through braid is festival flower child meets bohemian vibes meets ‘80s prepster meets the power of a Dutch braid meets the trendiness of a high ponytail—in other words, all kinds of beautiful and fun!
Here’s how to create this look:
Follow steps one to four listed in the above method!
Gather the upper half of your hair into a high ponytail on the side, directly above your ear. Secure this with a neutral or clear elastic tie.
Clip the ponytail you just created out of the way and gather the rest of your hair into a second ponytail, below your first.
Unclip your first ponytail and section it into two. Wrap these two sections around the ponytail below. Then, take your lower ponytail, clip it on top of your head, and form a fresh ponytail with the two sections you just wrapped around the hair. Secure it with a clear elastic tie.
Keep repeating this until you work your way to the ends of your hair. Leave a bit of the end loose so that you can hide the elastic ties.
Finish off by pancaking your braid and a spritz of hairspray. Et voila! A beautiful side pull-through braid.
Hopefully, you now won’t let pull-through braids scare you away—as you’ve seen, the bark is worse than the bite with this one! Nailing it will take a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, there’s no looking back.
Your hairdo can speak volumes about you and the mood you’re in, and now, you have a new one that you can flaunt on any occasion. Happy hair days!