Actress Nina Dobrev wears two cascade braids at the Teen Choice Awards in Universal City.

How to Do a Waterfall Braid on Someone Else

by Hilary White

The waterfall braid, also called a cascade braid, is a romantic yet modern style for long hair. Perfect for weddings, this elegant braid wraps around the back of the head, ensuring that you look just as good from the back as from the front and sides. Get together with a friend and try this deceptively simple, half updo on each other before your next special occasion.

Skip the morning shampoo and start this style with day-old hair, which offers better texture for updos. Begin with straight hair for a sleeker-looking style or wear it wavy for a more romantic vibe.

Part on the usual side and detangle hair with a brush or wide-tooth comb. Tangled hair is harder to braid and could cause painful tugging on the scalp.

Apply a small amount of smoothing serum, starting an inch or two away from the roots and work throughout the length of the hair.

Begin with a small section of hair at the top of one side of the head near the part. Divide into three sections and braid the strands three times like a normal braid.

French braid the left section of hair to the center position and let go of the right section, closest to the face, letting it fall completely out of the braid.

Pick up a new section of hair directly behind the dropped piece and add an additional piece to the left side, as you would in a traditional French braid. Braid the three sections again, dropping the right portion and picking up a new piece each time you've completed a braid.

Continue French braiding in this manner around the side and back of the head. When you've covered the back of the head and reached the beginning of the other side, you can choose to tuck the end of the braid underneath a section of hair and secure with hair pins or finish with a traditional, vertical braid, securing with a clear elastic. Finish with a light hold hairspray.

Items you will need

  • Comb or brush
  • Smoothing serum
  • Elastic band
  • Hairspray


  • Experiment with tighter plaits or a looser braid to achieve the desired look.
  • Tuck fresh flowers into individual plaits or add a jeweled clip at the juncture of the waterfall braid and traditional braid for special occasion style.
  • Consider variations on the basic waterfall style, like creating two separate but parallel cascade braids on the same side or two waterfall braids on either side of the head that meet in the middle at the back.

About the Author

Hilary White is a professional writer and editor based in San Diego. White has been writing articles on fashion, style, fitness, nutrition, movies and entertainment since 1994. Her articles have been published in "Westways" magazine, "Pages" magazine, "Book Street USA," "Magill's Cinema Annual," and numerous titles from Visible Ink Press. White holds a bachelor's degree in English from Michigan State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images