Why pancake braids are about to be your latest hair obsession

And it literally takes seconds to do. Yes, please.

And it literally takes seconds to do. Yes, please.

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

Pancake Day is just around the corner. Oh yes, it’s almost time for us to start slathering Nutella on those sweet, golden discs of goodness without a care in the world.

But as the day when it becomes socially acceptable to eat your bodyweight in pancakes edges nearer, we’re going to look at a different kind of pancake.

Enter the pancake braid.

Don’t panic. We’re not going to suggest drenching your hair in Nutella, although Kate Middleton might not disapprove.

A pancake braid is, simply put, a technique that will flatten your braids and thus give your tresses the illusion of looking thick and delightful.

Now you want to start pancaking your braids, don’t you?

And luckily, we’ve put together this go-to guide for everything you need or want to know about the hairstyling trend that is perfect for Pancake Day.

In fact, pancakes and pancake braids should be celebrated every day of the year, because both are amazing.

What is a pancake braid?

A pancake braid is a plait that has been loosened to give the illusion of a fuller braid. By carefully pulling the braid apart once it has been tied, it creates a much softer, thrown-together look than a traditionally neat, tight French plait or fishtail.

A photo posted by on

How to pancake braid

Thankfully, it’s not a fiddly hairdressers-only technique. If you’re a fan of the Dutch, French, fishtail or halo braid, weave together your hair as you normally would and secure the end with a hair tie.

Then hook your thumb into the centre of the braid, and use your fingers to gently pull the strands away from the middle. Start from the bottom, working your way up the braid and voila, you have created your first pancake braid.

See? Told you it was easy.

Now keep your braids on lockdown by finding the perfect hairspray for your hair...

A photo posted by on

Show me a pancake braid tutorial

If you’re still not sure how to pancake braid then there are some amazing quick tutorials on Instagram.

Take a look this helpful video. It’s honestly as simple as that.

A photo posted by on

The best pancake braid styles

Whether you want a slightly thicker braid or you want to go full on just-rolled-out-of-bed, the pancake braid is perfect. It’s up to you just how much you want to flatten your plait.

The pancake braid works perfectly with fishtail, French and Dutch braids. Just take a look at Erin Heatherton’s gorgeous halo braid. It has been pancaked to make it look fuller, and the wispy front section makes it look like she’s just been casually running through a field of tall grass with her hot stable boy lover.

Just us getting carried away? Erm, probably. But you get the idea.

If you want to try something less fiddly for your first time, try something like Lucy Hale’s soft side plait.

And if you want to go glam and don’t give a damn, Drew Barrymore’s dreamy disheveled ‘do is your pancake braid hairspiration

So what are you waiting for? Get pancaking, in all senses of the word.


The leading destination for fashion, beauty, shopping and finger-on-the-pulse views on the latest issues. Marie Claire's travel content helps you delight in discovering new destinations around the globe, offering a unique – and sometimes unchartered – travel experience. From new hotel openings to the destinations tipped to take over our travel calendars, this iconic name has it covered.