How to Do Viking Braids

If you’re a fan of braided hairstyles, you’ll never get bored. From French to fishtail to Dutch to waterfall, there is no shortage of unique braid styles. If you’re looking for a fierce yet simple new braid to try, look no further than the Viking braid. Popularized by the television show Vikings, these braids have become extremely trendy. Because there are so many variations of this style, you even have room to get creative.


EditTexturizing and Sectioning Your Hair

  1. Skip the shower. Viking braids are not perfectly neat or sleek, and it’s easiest to create this look in second (or third or fourth) day hair. The oils in your hair will give it a bit of natural hold and texture. Remember, this look is supposed to look a bit messy and rugged![1]
    Do Viking Braids Step 1.jpg
  2. Spray with texturizing spray or dry shampoo. If you have very fine, smooth hair (or if you showered recently), you’ll want to add a bit of texture. There are a few ways you can do this. You can buy a texturizing spray at your local pharmacy or beauty supply store, and this will add a bit of grit to your locks. A dry shampoo can do this exact same thing. Spritz it all over your hair, and then run your fingers through it.[2]
  3. Section the top of your hair. You’ll be creating multiple braids for this look, so sectioning out your hair is key. You can use claw clips, duckbill clips, or any sort of hair clip that you have handy. First, gather the hair on the very top of your head. Put your fingers on either side of your forehead and trace your fingers back, scooping up all of the hair on the top of your head going back. Clip this very top section up and out of the way with your hair clip of choice.
  4. Create sections on the sides of your head. Once the top section is clipped up, you need to section out the hair on both sides of your head. You will be creating two braids on each side of your head, for a total of four. First, gather up all of your hair on one side of your head, starting at your hairline. Then, create a part extending back from your hairline, splitting the side section of hair into a top and bottom section. Clip up the top section so you can work with the bottom section of hair first.
    • Do the exact same thing on the other side of your head.
    • When you are finished, you will have five total sections along the top of your head: the top section and two sections on either side.

EditCreating the Side Braids

  1. Begin with the bottom section of hair on either side. After you’ve clipped up the very top section of hair, you should’ve split the sections on either side of your head down the center horizontally. You’ll be starting with the bottom sections of hair on either side of your head, closest to your ears.[3]
    Do Viking Braids Step 5.jpg
  2. Begin creating a rope braid. Split the section of hair into two pieces for the rope braid. Start twisting them toward your head tightly, picking up more hair in the section as you work. You want the finished effect to be tight against your head, like a cornrow, so make sure you are holding the hair taut as you work.[4]
  3. Finish the section with a traditional three-strand braid. Once you’ve created a tight rope braid against your head and are behind your ear, switch from the rope braid to a three-strand braid. Don’t worry if it isn’t a perfectly smooth transition, because these braids are supposed to look imperfect.[5]
    • Braid to the end of your hair, and then secure it with a clear elastic.
    • Tease the tail of your braid so that the elastic is concealed and the end of the braid has a lot of volume and texture.
  4. Repeat this process on all of the side sections. Once you’ve created your first braid, do it again on the other side. Then, do the exact same process with the pinned up side sections. Note that the very top of your hair is still clipped up – this is just to finish the cornrow side braids. You will finish with two braids on either side.[6]
  5. Slide your braids up. This step is optional. If you want to leave your two side braids as is, you certainly can. For some added interest, you can turn these into “snake” braids. To do this, untie the braid and firmly grasp the middle strand. Combine the two outer strands and push them upwards along the braid. This will cause the plaits to slide up and bunch at the top, creating a really intricate effect.[7]
    • Pushing your braid up like this might create frizz, but that fits perfectly with the look of a Viking.
    • Tie your hair off at the bottom of the snake braid.

EditBraiding the Top Section

  1. French braid your hair to the back. Once you’ve completed and tied off your side cornrows, it’s time to work with the very top section. Unclip it and smooth out any huge tangles with your fingers. Then, French braid it to the back. It’s okay if you aren’t an expert at French braiding – the messier, the better.[8]
    • If you have shorter hair, you can end the top braid in a small bun. In fact, the Vikings character Ragnar Lothbrok often rocks a version of the “man bun” at the end of his braid.[9]
  2. End your braid wherever you like. You can braid until the ends of your hair, or you can do it about halfway down the strands. The important thing is that the very top of your head is braided, and the length of your braid is up to you. Tie it off with a clear hair elastic.[10]
  3. Tease the end of the braid. The finishing touch for this braid is the backcombing, just like with the rest of your braids. After you’ve tied off the end, use a teasing comb to backcomb whatever hair is left. You can also carefully loosen or mess up your braid to give it a more tousled, authentically Viking look.
  4. Spray your Viking braids with hairspray. Once you’ve finished braiding, teasing, and securing your braids, spritz the entire hairstyle with hairspray. This will help hold all of your handiwork in place and make sure your braids last throughout the day. The beauty of this style, however, is that flyaways and loose pieces are welcome. This style is meant to look a bit messy, so don’t worry about making sure everything is perfectly placed.
    • If you are worried about your braids lasting throughout the day, bring a comb and some extra hair ties along with you. You can always re-braid sections of your hair as needed!

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Texturizing spray or dry shampoo
  • Clear hair elastics (5)
  • Teasing comb

EditSources and Citations

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