Learn how to do a french braid, braided ponytail, and headband braid from the athlete behind #FastBraidFriday.


When Colleen Quigley is crushing a race, she's often sporting some variation of a braid hairstyle. After getting a lot of interaction from her fans in response to her hairstyles, Quigley decided to start an Instagram series called #FastBraidFriday, where she posts a weekly style.

Not soon after her followers joined in. "They started sharing with me their braids, but also the awesome things that they did in their braids," the Olympian and Nike athlete tells Shape. "So it's not about 'the braids made me do it,' it's 'I did this awesome thing while wearing braids and it gave me that extra gumption to get after it.'" (Related: 3 Easy Gym Hairstyles for Short Hair That Actually Stay Put)

Quigley was always the "team braider" in high school and college and still gets to practice by braiding fellow athletes' hair from time to time. She's also picked up a few key techniques when having her hair braided before races by Carly Gill of @runnerbraids.

Wet your hair by getting it a little damp. This helps to keep the frizz away, she advises. As you braid, hold the strands tight, keeping your fingers close to your scalp to the point that your knuckles are touching your head, she adds. One more braided hack: A rat tail comb is the key to a sharp, clean part.

Observe Quigley's skills in action in this video, then try your hand at three of her favorite braided hairstyles. (Related: 4 Cool AF Braid Hairstyles to Rock This Summer)

Headband Braid Into a Low Ponytail

  1. Use a comb to create a side part.
  2. Separate hair into three small strands near the part on the side with more hair.
  3. Cross the strand closest to face underneath the center strand. Cross the strand furthest from hairline under the center strand.
  4. Add a small piece of hair to the strand closest to hairline and cross it under the center strand. Repeat with strand furthest from hairline. Continue alternating, incorporating a small piece of hair in with each crossover. Try to keep the braid close to the hairline.
  5. Once the braid reaches the ears, stop incorporating more hair and continue braiding all the way to the bottom.
  6. Use a small hair tie to secure the braid then gather all hair into a low ponytail.

Style 2: High Ponytail Braid

  1. Tie hair into a ponytail at the crown of head. Mist any flyaways with hairspray.
  2. Divide the ponytail into three pieces. Take one of the outside pieces, cross it over and bring it to the middle, then repeat with the other side, alternating sides all the way down.
  3. Secure the braid with a hair tie.

Style 3: French Braid

  1. Divide a small section of hair at the top of head into three pieces.
  2. Cross right piece over the middle piece. Cross the left piece over the new middle piece.
  3. Incorporate a small piece of hair into right piece, then cross it over the middle piece. Repeat with left piece. Continue alternating sides, incorporating a new piece of hair with each crossover.
  4. Braid all the way until the base of the neck, then continue with a regular braid all the way to the bottom. Secure the end with a hair tie.

Photo Credit/Video Credit: Jordan Beckett


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