Braids are a trendy choice for women who want a cute, low-maintenance look. Braided hairstyles can be beautiful, youthful and easy to wear, helping you create an effortlessly chic vibe that will take your look to the next level. These popular braid styles can elevate your look and allow you to highlight your creativity while offering your hair protection.
Whether you want an intricate pattern or a quick and simple design, these stunning protective hairstyle ideas will make a statement. Some women will want long box braids for a modern and feminine finish, while others may prefer cornrows or goddess braids in a low bun for an easy style.
With so many different types of braiding techniques, it can be a challenge choosing the perfect look.
To inspire you, we’ve compiled examples of the best braided hairstyles. From simple to classy, explore these cute braid styles to find stylish designs for women.
Short braids have become a popular hairstyle trend for women who want a low-maintenance, functional and stylish look. From bob to box braids, there are several beautiful braided styles for short hair that offer a cute and creative vibe. You might want chin-length braids styled into a bob or a naturally feminine look. If your natural hair is very short, you might even consider a Bantu knot for a modern and chic finish.
Long braids are sexy, feminine and versatile styles that can be left down, pulled back into a half-updo and even put into a ponytail or bun like your natural hair. You might prefer brightly colored weaves or extensions as part of your long braids or choose to stick to natural colors.
Black braided hairstyles are timeless and iconic looks for African American women who want a protective style that will them feel beautiful and confident. There are many braid styles for black hair that allow you to express your creativity and personality. From timeless cornrows to the gorgeous Fulani variation, braiding hair is a tradition that has been around for thousands of years. If you’re looking to transform your natural hair, braids offer a universally-flattering and trendy style that will allow you to embrace your texture and achieve a stunning look.
Box braids are one of the most popular and versatile protective styles for black women who a modern and cute look. Box braid hairstyles can be short, long, small, jumbo and knotless, offering several different types that can suit your needs. Your stylist will section your hair off into squares all over your head, then create braids with each individual square to style the iconic look. Box braids look great with natural hair and extensions, and they can be made as thick or thin as you choose. Smaller options are lighter, so they are less likely to damage your hair if it is thin or fine.
The French braid is a timeless style that can be adapted in hundreds of ways to create unique, highly personalized looks. While a single braid is the most popular and familiar version, you can also do a half-up, half-down style for formal events, pigtails for a cute and flirty look or an upside-down variation for a unique touch.
Top Knot For Small Braids
A top knot for small braids is a functional and cute hairstyle that can suit any occasion, giving you a beautiful and easy look to pull off. The top knot continues to be a cool updo that you can wear to church, formal events and work. The style can be ideal for those hot summer days when you need to keep all that hair away from your face and neck. There are many top knot styles so work with your stylist to determine which type and shape will look best on you.
Curly braids can help show off your natural hair texture with a versatile and cute style. These curly braids hairstyles can include box braids, mini cornrows, French braids and half up half down styles that look classy and beautiful. For a stylish finish, you’ll want your braids with curls to offer definition and volume without frizz.
A high braided ponytail is a stylish option for those who want to wear their hair in this semi-permanent style. These ponytails are great for the office, an intense workout or even a daytime shopping trip. You can even add accessories of all kinds to suit the occasion, but make sure that you’re using the right elastics so that you aren’t causing damage to your hair.
Dutch braids are a style that look universally cute and feminine, creating a fun and youthful vibe for women. The Dutch braid comes with an underhanded style that causes the finished look to stand up on top of the head rather than lying flat. Dutch braiding can be an exceptionally flirty and romantic look that works well with medium to long hair.
Crochet braids are an easy and low-maintenance style that look great on all different hair types, lengths and textures. Also known as latch hook braiding, crochet hairstyles involve connecting extensions into pre-existing loose cornrows. As a trendy look for Afro-textured hair, crocheting hair is a time-consuming process and often requires an entire day spent in a stylist’s chair. Once in place, these can last for a very long time when properly cared for.
Lemonade braids have become an iconic look for black women who want a beautiful side cornrow style. Popularized by Beyonce, this braided hairstyle features neat cornrows on the side of the head that move from left to right rather than the traditional front to back. Lemonade braid styles are easily adaptable and can be tailored to your look. To create your style, just alter the thickness or size to your personal preferences, add beads or charms, and pull them into a cute updo or feature some brightly colored extensions.
The fishtail braid is a cute and feminine Bohemian hairstyle that offers a unique and fun look. While easy and timeless, fishtail braided styles require some patience and practice since failing to maintain the right tension can cause the entire plait to fall apart. If you like wearing long flowing dresses, seashells and hemp jewelry, the fishtail can be the perfect choice.
Feed-in braids are a trendy look that offer an alternative to the more traditional styles. Feed-in braid hairstyles create a unique and charming aesthetic that draws the eyes. When adding extensions, the stylist generally secures the extensions to your hair with a knot. The feed-in method eliminates the need for the knot, so there’s less pulling and weight on the scalp. While standard extensions tend to feel stiff, a feed-in feels and moves just like your real hair.
Goddess braids can take your style to the next level with a gorgeous look. Goddess braided hairstyles boast the same underhanded plaiting style as the Dutch option, but emulate cornrows in the way they are handled and secured. Once the rows along the scalp are finished, your hair can be braided to the ends or the stylist can opt to secure the braided section with an elastic at the scalp and let the natural curls fall free from there. This iconic style can be worn in hundreds of ways that are perfect for work, play and formal events alike.
Criss Cross Braids
Criss-cross braids are feminine, flirty and fun, offering a popular hairstyle for black women who want to transform their look. Criss-cross styles come in both a standard and knotless variety and generally involve dividing the hair into boxed sections then crisscrossing the hair across those sections before braiding down the length. When paired with long hair down the back and sides and perfectly wavy baby hair, the criss-cross boasts an intricate look that draws the right kind of attention.
Braided buns are a fun updo hairstyle that offer a unique take on the classic double Dutch! These bun styles can be easy to create so just start the Dutch plaiting at the nape and work upward toward the crown of the head. You’ll need to secure each braid on top of the head and twist the remaining hair into a bun. This updo is one of the coolest styles to wear in the summer since it keeps all your hair up and out of your way.
Tribal braids are one of the cutest hairstyles for black women who want to stand out with a stylish look. Tribal styles feature different types and sizes to create a unique and personalized look. Whether you have an idea in mind or just want to experiment with something new, there are several different looks to explore.
Cornrows have been a popular hair trend in recent years, offering a versatile and trendy look. While some women choose to wear cornrows because they like the look, this braided style can also protect your hair. When done by an experienced stylist, these plaits can last many weeks without any negative impact on your hair.
Fulani braids have become one of the coolest styles for women who like to stand out with stunning patterns. Fulani braid hairstyles are inspired by the Fula people in West Africa, where they have great cultural importance. With many ways to create and wear these plaits, all the looks require a central twist at the crown alongside plaits that run along the sides of the head. This trend has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years because they are beautiful, adaptable and interesting.
Waterfall braids are a soft and feminine hairstyle that allows for a flowing and cute finish. Waterfall braided styles look great for weddings and formal events such as First Communion ceremonies and graduations. As a beautiful modified French design, the “waterfall” effect is created by only braiding across the top part of the hair and leaving the remaining strand to fall free. The result looks carefully woven and pairs nicely with a flower crown or other simple accessories.
Yarn braids are an easy way to create a cool and youthful look that will add length and color to your style. While hair extensions are common, yarn extensions make use of this artificial acrylic material to build a protective hairstyle. The yarn is woven into and around in various ways. In some cases, it can provide a simple pop of color, but in others, it can wrap around the entire braid. With short or long hair, yarn braids are always an option.
The crown braid is a Bohemian style that has become a popular trend and can be a great look for formal events. This options wrap around the head to create a royal vibe. To do it, just plait in a Dutch or French braid on both sides of your head, then lift the end of each and pin it to the other side. If you are confident in your plaiting skills, you can look like a princess in 10 minutes or less.
The butterfly braid is an eye-catching and interesting hairstyle that will make you stand out. The “body” runs all the way down the middle of the head and down the back while the “wings” are the delicate cornrows that fan outward from the center toward the face and ears. It’s a unique style, but it can take some time – especially if you want it to be intricate.
The mohawk braid is a great way to experience the rock-and-roll hairstyle with a bold, daring and temporary look. Mohawk braids are essentially a thick Dutch style that is plaited right down the center of the head. If you want some extra height, you can do it backward and start the Dutch braid at the nape, attach it to the crown, then keep going! Loop it over and secure it with pins to hold it in place.
Jumbo Box Braids
Jumbo box braids are a neat and attractive style for professional ladies who prefer to wear their hair in plaits. Jumbo variations offer a thicker look than your standard plait and take only a fraction of the time to maintain, making them ideal for anyone who lives a busy life. You can feel free to use beads or charms for extra flair while shaping your braids into a sweet twist for formal events.
Snake braids are a modern and cute style that play off the standard three-strand plait, allowing anyone to pull off this look. To do a snake, you’ll need to plait down to the end of the section, then push two strands up while securely holding the third. If you want to feature a boho style, create two braids with one starting at each side of the forehead and pin them together at the back of your head.
Triangle Box Braids
Triangle box braids are a funky twist on the popular classic, using the unique shape to invent a new look. While traditional braids use a rectangular or box pattern on the scalp, these make beautiful triangles! You can adjust the pattern and size the way you like, but remember that if you want the triangles that you so meticulously created to be visible, you’ll want to create thicker braids with more weight.
Side braids are a fantastic option for those who want to experiment with an edgy and bold look. Side-braid hairstyles can be perfect if you’ve ever thought about getting a bold undercut or even shaving the side of your head. For a simple look, you can get side cornrows and leave the hair free at the ends to be styled with loose waves or curls that cascade down the other side, getting that undercut effect without the commitment.
Senegalese Twist Braids
Senegalese twist braids are a popular protective hairstyle for black women who want to embrace their natural hair texture. Also known as rope twists, the Senegalese hairstyle offers a very thick and chunky rope-like effect that can be styled in different ways. This highly-coveted look involves wrapping extensions around the natural hair before the twisting process begins. It looks amazing without the need for flat irons or chemicals, and the best part is that with the right care, you can get 12 weeks of wear out of your Senegalese twists! Whether you leave it flowing freely or wrap it up in a bun, this style is sure to impress.
The halo braid is a stunning and feminine plaited hairstyle that can be achieved by wrapping your hair around the head. Like an angel’s halo, this style offers a beautiful and charming look that has become a favorite with churchgoers. Halo braids are also popular on the beach during the summer, at proms and summer weddings. It can be a bit tricky to do since you will need to sweep your hair to one side and go from left to right starting about an inch back from your temple to ensure that the braid sits at the crown of the head.
Ghana braids offer a unique and creative style that can take your look to the next level. By involving several different plaiting types, these plaits start small and eventually get wider and fuller as they taper back. Ghana styles are ideal for women who have long thick hair and want to keep their locks pulled back and out of the way while still allowing flow and movement. You can add extensions, yarn, beads and other accessories to personalize your look.
Micro braids are a smaller type of plaiting style that provides a more delicate and feminine look. While there are several different sizes, the smaller you go, the more it will flow like natural hair. If you like the micro look and want to try it for yourself, you must start with healthy hair. You’ll also want to avoid leaving these in for more than a week since they can cause significant damage to dry, brittle hair.
Ombre braids are a simple style that involves combining plaited and ombre-colored hair. From chic to fun, ombre hairstyles offer many different styling combinations. Whether you prefer a single triple-strand plait and naturally colored ombre hair or want beautiful Senegalese twists in a stunning black-to-blue ombre, you can create your favorite look. With no limit to your creativity, talk to your stylist and have some fun with this one.
Tree braids is a hair trend that has been making a comeback after being popular in the late 90s. The tree style can be fairly simple to do and all you need is to create micro cornrows that are anywhere from one to three inches long from the hairline and let the rest of your hair fall free. These are perfect for anyone who loves the look and their natural hair.
Half Up Half Down Braids
Half up half down braids are perfect for long, flowing hair because they allow you to enjoy the length you have while still rocking your favorite look on the top half. You can go for a double Dutch updo, a French twist, or even a half Halo. All the Bohemian plaits work especially well with this style, and if you leave a few face-framing tendrils free, you can even nail that intentionally messy look that’s so popular.
The braided updo is a classic style that was in the spotlight in the 1920s and has been updated with a modern touch for a fashionable look. Updos require all the hair off the nape for a cute and feminine vibe. You can try include the backward Dutch braid (from the nape up to the crown), the backward French messy bun or twisting your box braids up for a more formal look.
Pop Smoke Braids
Pop Smoke braids are a protective style that looks modern and on-trend. Named after the rapper Pop Smoke, this hairstyle features four thick feed-in braids on each side of the head. Great for medium-length and long hair, the style allows you to try something different.
Small Box Braids
Small box braids have become a popular hair trend, offering a tiny version of the classic style. Practical and stylish, the small box is a protective look that can be worn for weeks at a time without fear of breakage or damage. These have more movement and swing because the plaits are thinner than the traditional ones.
Natural Hair Braids
Natural hair braids can be a versatile style that look great with all types, lengths and textures. Natural braided hairstyles are simple to get without the need to use a weave, yarn or extensions, allowing you to create a beautiful look with nothing more than your natural black hair. The length will ultimately determine the styles available to you, but a good stylist can cater to your unique needs. Leaving your natural hair can help protect it from the elements and will help you grow it longer with time.
Updo Braids In A Bun
Updo braids are a classy and professional look that can add the perfect feminine touch to an elegant outfit for an elevated style. Updo braids in a bun can be easy to wear and can draw attention to your beautiful facial features while accentuating your makeup and jewelry. While any version can be converted into an updo with an elastic or an expert twist, some styles are intended to be styled up. Whether you have medium to long hair, you can experiment by pulling many different braids into a bun.
Bob braids are a sophisticated and chic look that has become one of the hottest trends in recent years. Bob braided hairstyles start with a traditional box where the hair length is uniform and even to create a blunt cut at the end. For an edgy look, consider an asymmetrical bob or add some color to one side of your hair with a weave or yarn.
Knotless braids are a beautiful protective hairstyle that will protect your scalp and locks since they do not require knots to stay in. If you’re looking for a cute feminine look that is perfect for personal and professional settings, knotless braided styles may provide the perfect look! These plaits can also be a great choice for women working to grow healthy natural hair. There’s not as much pulling at the scalp and depending on the thickness, you can drastically reduce the risk of breakage.
Twist braids are a stunning and effortlessly chic style for ladies who want thick rope-like strands. While there are several types, the most common styles are the Senegalese twist and classic rope. To get the rope look, a stylist will wrap extensions around sections of natural hair in a box fashion before twisting them into place. You can choose small or large ropes, leave them plain or feature color, and add significant length with the extensions.
Braids with Beads
Braids with beads are a modern style that offers the ability to personalize your look for a unique finish. Beads are rooted in African culture, where they serve very important spiritual and social purposes. Braided hair and beads can help mix old and new world trends to create a gorgeous look that will honor your ancestors. You can choose from glass, wood or metal beads, and mix and match colors and styles as you see fit. You may even want special snap beads that you can change from one day to the next!
Braids with Curls
Curly braids are a unique take on a traditional look. They are usually created with curly hair extensions, but if your hair is long enough, your stylist may be able to simply leave the ends of your natural hair free to create this flirty and feminine finish.
Straight Back Braids
Straight back braids are a style that have been created to move away from your face rather than over and around the contours of the head. The unique sunburst-like appearance on the scalp is perfect for highlighting your facial features. This style can last for up to two months, but you’ll need to be very careful at night and meticulous about conditioning.
The fishbone braid is a protective style with a unique look that resembles sophisticated pigtails. The hair is parted down or close to the center and then cornrows are added from the middle outward. For the double ponytail, two long large brads are placed along the sides of the head where the ends of the cornrows come together. Popular with kids and adults alike, this hairstyle lasts for weeks on end.
Braids with Designs
Braids with designs can create a stylish and classy look that will stand out in any crowd. Many hair designs can be combined with different braided styles, allowing you and your stylist to get creative. These design styles can be incredibly intricate or relatively simple. You might find a stylist who can create a cornrow design that incorporates a criss-cross, some ornamentation and even some Fulani elements. Your look allows you to express yourself, so feel free to experiment with any style you love.
Popular Braid Styles
The most popular braid styles include cornrows, box, crochet, French, Dutch, fishtail, lemonade, Fulani, crown and Senegalese twists. These cute hairstyles can work with all lengths and textures to create a stylish finish for women who want a unique and feminine look. With so many amazing braiding techniques, you’ll want to experiment with different looks and designs to find the perfect style.