Dutch Braid vs French Braids: Differences and Similarities

french vs dutch braids explained

Everyone has had a thing for braided styles at some point, some of us still love it and get giddy about getting braided styles done no matter how many times it has been done.

There are various braided hairstyles that are suitable for different occasions and purposes, and new braid styles are brought to light now and then. Out of these numerous braid styles, French braids and Dutch braids are popular favorites that are easily mistaken or confused for each other.

Here we explain the similarity and the distinct difference that exists between French braids and Dutch braids to clear the confusion surrounding them.

The main difference between Dutch braids and French braids is the technique used in braiding, Dutch braids are done using an underhand braiding technique while French braids are done using an overhand braiding technique.

What are Dutch Braids?

Dutch braids are a three-strand braiding style that is done by crossing a strand of hair underneath the middle strand of hair to make it stand higher than some other braiding styles.

This is usually referred to as a reverse French braid or an inside-out braid because it uses an underhand braiding technique.

What are French Braids?

French braids are one of the most popular types of braiding that has been a part of the beauty industry for centuries and will continue to live on because of their history and relevance.

A French braid is a three-strand braiding technique crossing the left strand of hair over the middle strand and crossing the right strand over the middle strand and continuing in this same manner till you reach the end of each braid.

When you hear the word French braid, it is easy to believe that it was started up by the French, however, it is proven to have begun in North Africa, and it was practiced by Chinese people during the reign of the sung dynasty six thousand years ago.

What are the similarities between a French braid and a Dutch braid?

Despite the difference in the name and the appearance of a French braid and Dutch braid when it is done, these two braiding styles are strikingly similar when closely studied side by side.

A Dutch braid derives the three-strand method it uses from the French braid, these two braiding styles can only be done using the three-strand braiding technique even though the outcomes are different. If you reverse a Dutch braid, it becomes a French braid- this goes to prove that they are more alike than we may think.

What are the differences between a French braid and a Dutch braid?

While French braids and Dutch braids have a similarity that makes them seem like they are almost the same, there exists an important difference that changes everything.

The technique that is used for creating a French braid was tweaked a little to create the technique used in making Dutch braids.

A French braid is done using an overhand braiding technique where you have your name separated into three strands each step of the way, the left strand should be crossed over the middle strand while the right hand is crossed over the middle strand as well, the hair should be held tightly to avoid it getting loosed easily.

Back view of braided hairdo
Image: Envato Elements

This process is to be continued neatly and ended at the nape of the hair. This technique is the reason why a French braid looks flat and tucked in.

A Dutch braid on the other hand reverses the entire process, it is made using an underhand braiding technique. Instead of crossing the left strands and right strands of your hair over the middle strand like you would in a French braid, you are meant to cross both the left and right strands of hair under the middle strand, repeat this until you are done with the braid.

While a french braid is ended at the nape of your hair, a Dutch braid must be started at the crown of your head. This technique is what gives the Dutch braids its upright, firm, and standing look.

How long do French braids last?

French braids are usually done as a hairstyle for a particular occasion, they can be done in a matter of minutes and are usually done on the day of the occasion.

Even if you want to pull your hair in a French braid or two for a school day or a day at the office, it is best to do them the morning before you leave for school or work because they do not last very long.

Depending on how tightly a French braid is done or what style it is braided into, French braids can last a couple of days, it is unlikely that it would still look good enough to flaunt when it’s kept for up to a week.

How long do Dutch braids last?

Dutch braids on the other hand are more resilient than French braids because of the braid technique used to make them. If Dutch braids are made in smaller partings, plaited so that they are tight and treated properly to avoid frizz, they can last up to three weeks.

However, if your Dutch braids are pretty big and not well taken care of, they will begin to loosen or look dull in a couple of days just like French braids.


Braid styles are one of the most buzzing hairstyles, they last long, protect your hair, give you a break from your natural hair, and have you looking gorgeous- it’s all wins with braided hairstyles, and you know it.

French braids and Dutch braids are very popular and loved braid styles, they both have history and are easily mistaken for each other.

With the simple informative guide above, we’ve answered questions that make it easier to differentiate between both braids and know exactly which one you have in mind to get done at a particular time.

I would advise that you try both, they can be decorated to look stunning, and who doesn’t want that? They are lovely styles, and you deserve to look lovely.

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