If you are looking for a unique way to wear your hair, consider braids and braid hairstyles. For thousands of years, people have been wearing them to look pretty and send messages to each other.
I am thrilled that you are reading this post. We will cover the fascinating history of braids before looking at over 25 different types of braids and braided hairstyles for women. Then, I will give specific recommendations for those who want to wear braids.
In the end, I will also share some tips about how to take care care of your braids.
Let’s get started!
Understanding the history of braids may help you foresee future trends that you want to embrace.
I love history, and I hope you do too. The history of braids is undoubtedly a long one with many exciting twists and turns.
What are braids?
The term braid means weaving three or more strands into a single unit. In this post, we will be discussing interweaving three or more hair strands, but you can also braid many other things, including bread, ribbon, and fabric. Braiding is the term used to describe the act of making braids.
Many argue that the act of braiding hair is a cultural tradition that is passed down from one generation to the next, with each putting their spin on it. Many times, the act of braiding hair takes hours to perform. Therefore, friends and family gather to chat while someone is getting their hair braided.
This is still true today in many homes. A favorite activity at many little girls’ sleepovers is getting their hair braided by a mother or grandmother who knows how to do this art form. Meanwhile, all the girls are giggling and admiring how beautiful each other’s hair is when finished.
People often communicated messages through how they braided their hair in the past. While the exact style may have differed based on location and ethnicity, people could often tell their social and marital status depending on how their hair was braided. This was particularly useful when people lived close to each other but did not speak the same language.
Over time, wearing braids became a cultural tradition within some groups and was seen as a sense of ethnic pride. In some cases, if a person who was not of that ethnicity chose to wear their hair in a particular style, they may even have been hated by people of a specific race.
History & origins of braids
No one is precisely sure where the tradition of braiding hair began. In fact, archeologists believe that people started braiding their hair over 25,000 years ago. In some areas, it was a way to keep the hair neat, while in other areas, the practice of creating braids has great cultural significance.
I find it amazing that people worldwide wore braided hair, with many sharing very common beliefs without meeting each other. You can see examples from Austria, Africa, Russia, India, and the United States, where people believed that wearing braids gave them supernatural powers. Let me explain a little bit further about the history of braids.
In Austria, archeologists unearthed a statue they named Venus of Willendorf with braided hair that they believe is over 25,000 years old.
Stone Age cave paintings found in the Tassili Plateau of Sahara, Africa, depict a hairstyle similar to cornrows. Archeologists believe these paintings date back about 5,500 years. Similar evidence comes from the horn of Africa, and archeologists believe these paintings date back at least 4,500 years.
Other statues, like the Brassempouy from France and the Kostienki from Russia, indicate that people braided their hair worldwide as early as the Bronze Age.
The oldest examples of human hair come from Denmark. These bodies, which you can see from many Northern European countries, including Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and England, were preserved in peat bogs, so there in fantastic shape, considering they are about 2,500 years old. Archeologists believe that Elling Woman died about 280 B.C., and she had braided hair. Her hairstyle started with a ponytail divided into seven parts at her neckline. Then, the seven strands were braided together before joining near the end to form two pigtails.
Viking men and women wore their hair in braids. Viking men usually wore a reverse mullet and gathered the loose hair at the top of their heads into a braid. Viking girls often wore their hair loose until they were married. Then, the hair was braided on top of their heads.
In Japan during the 1500 and 1600s, women were expected to braid their hair and pile it on top of their heads. The weight of the hair was believed to keep women from overthinking because thinking was a man’s job. People in Japan also thought that a woman’s hair could trap the spirits of their dead ancestors. Therefore, women would often cut off their braids and leave them in houses of worship. If you travel to the Higashi Hongan-Ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, you can view one example left by female worshippers who cut their long hair before braiding it together to form one strand.
It is believed that many Hindu pujaris wore their hair braided and long to listen to their ancestors better. This belief has been described as an upside-down tree with the roots on top. Then, the roots receive spiritual wisdom, helping them know what they need to say and do to lead their followers.
Braided hair was also significant in many Native American cultures. Many people believed that people who grew their hair long had a stronger connection with the supernatural. Therefore, in many tribes, a special ceremony was held when a child got their first haircut. Then, the hair was kept braided and never cut again.
Braided hair has deep roots in many different cultures, and you may want to follow your ancestors by braiding your hair. In the next section, we will look at different braid styles in-depth, so be sure to keep reading. I will be discussing many unique ways to braid hair.
Instead of leaving braids as a part of our past, in this chapter, we will dive deeply into various types of braids and braided hairstyles for women. I hope this will give you a deep appreciation of what is possible when you braid your hair.
I encourage you to watch this YouTube video to learn more about ten basic braid styles before we take a deeper look at them:
Here are the most well-known types of braids:
Simple 3 strand braids
One of the simplest braids to make is a simple three-strand braid. This braid is so simple to do. Start by dividing the hair into three equal parts. Then, pull the right strand into the middle, and move the left band to the center. Keep rotating until you have all the hair in the braid. Then, hold the end with a ponytail holder. Come back to the top and gently pull hair out of each bunch until the hair lays flat.
The French braid did not start in France, but instead, you must head to the Tassili n’Ajjer Mountain Range in Algeria to find its origins. Celtic warriors often wore this hairstyle created by adding a strand of hair each time before you made the braid. This style that starts high on the head and continues down to the hair’s end became called the French braid after Arthur’s Home Magazine released a short story in 1871 in which a husband tells his wife to fix her hair in the new French style. Each time you put hair into the middle, make sure that you add a little unbraided hair to the middle strand.
While the rope braid looks like a braid, technically, it is not because you only use two hair strands while a braid requires at least three. In its simplest form, it is easy to do this hairstyle. Start by dividing your hair into two strands. Then, twist the right strand two times and bring it over the left strand. Twist the new right strand twist and bring it over the other one. Keep twisting and rotating until you run out of hair and hold it in place with an elastic tie.
There are many ways to change this hairstyle up. For instance, you can make a little braid on the side of your hair while leaving the rest of your hair down, or you can do a rope braid until you reach the base of your neck and finish it off with a messy bun.
French rope braid
If you love the look of a French braid, but you find it challenging to do, then you will love the French rope braid. Start by grabbing two strands of hair near the top of your head and twist each two times clockwise. Cross the right strand over the left strand and incorporate some hair from the left side of your head into the right strand. Twist both strands again and cross them over each other. Incorporate new hair into the strands each time that you cross them. Continue until you run out of hair on each side of your head. Complete the look by braiding the remaining hair and holding it in place with a hair tie.
People who immigrated to the Netherlands from South Africa created the Dutch braid to protect their scalps from the blazing sun. It is especially a great option for people with curly hair who love braids. Depending on your location, this braid is also called an inverted French or pineapple braid. Unlike the French braid, you weave new hair strands under the strand instead of over, as it happens in the French braid. After incorporating the side hair, you can finish this hairstyle with either a ponytail or a regular braid.
The fishtail braid originated in Africa, and it is not an actual braid as you divide the hair into only two sections. During the 19th century, it was called the Grecian braid. Create this hairstyle in tiny sections by consistently passing hair over to the other side before swapping the two main strands. You can wear this type of braid in several different ways. You can gather your hair loosely in the center if you have long hair before starting the braid. Then, complete this beautiful braid while getting gradually tighter as you near the bottom. Alternatively, you can also create this look upside down by starting at the top of your head. A third alternative is to create fishtail pigtails on either side of your head.
French Fishtail braid
One of the most elegant ways to wear braids is a French fishtail braid. While fishtail braids start near the nape of the neck, French fishtail braids start at the top of the head. Two fishtail braids are created and then French braided together. Usually, people braid the two braids together before using a hair tie to hold the bottom. This hairstyle looks especially lovely when it ends with a messy bun.
While I love the YouTube video I suggested you watch above, one thing it assumes is that you know how to do an infinity braid, and that may not always be the case. Create an infinity braid by dividing the hair on top of the head into four strands. Then, French braid three of the strands. Weave one strand through the other strands in figure 8 shape, like an infinity sign. This style that can take up to 60 minutes to create requires very long hair. Since the braiding pattern is complicated, you may want to enlist the help of a friend when you are using this American-born hairstyle.
Dutch Infinity braid
The Dutch infinity braid is a trendy look that starts with a Dutch braid on top of your head. As you are working, you incorporate a figure 8 into the braid. Unlike the regular infinity braid that is usually long, this choice is often only braided until reaching an imaginary line connecting the top of your ears. Then, the remaining hair is left down. However, it is possible to keep braiding until you have a long Dutch infinity braid.
The five-strand braid requires basic braiding skills, but it looks more elegant than a three-strand braid. Start by dividing your hair into five sections with ties. Then, think of your hair as numbers from left to right. Start with the left strand and place it over the strand next to it. Then, bring it under strand three. Move to the right side of your head and repeat the process by going over strand four and under strand three. Strands one and five should now be next to each other. Continue braiding your hair, starting with the strand on the left, followed by the strand on the right. Secure your hair at the end.
We have now completed the braids shown in the video, but there are many other types of braids to consider.
Reverse French braid
The difference between a French braid and a reverse French braid is that when you add hair to a French braid, you bring the added hair underneath the braid to reach the middle. When doing a reverse French braid, you bring the added hair over the braid before adding it to the center. Once there is no more hair to add, finish with a regular braid and an elastic band.
If you go to a salon in France, do not ask the beautician to give you a French braid because, in that country, they are called reverse African braids or sens inverse la tresse africaine. You can also skip the salon and learn to do reverse French braids at home by watching this YouTube video:
A waterfall braid is a beautiful hairstyle where hair strands hang down through the braid. In most cases, the braid lies along the side of the head. To create the main braid, you can use many braiding styles, including strand, French, and Dutch. You can easily create the look on both sides of your head and join the two braids in the back or create it on just one side of your head.
Watch this video to see how easy it is to create this elegant look that can easily take you from work to a night out on the town:
Rope twist braid
A rope twist braid is an easy braid that you can customize for many different occasions. Calling this a braid is a misnomer because you are not braiding the hair. Start by pulling the hair up in a high ponytail. Divide the ponytail into two sections. Take one area and twist it clockwise for its entire length. Use a clip to secure the end momentarily. Then, repeat with the other section. Make sure to rotate it clockwise too. Now, twist the two pieces together in a counter-clockwise direction and secure the ends together.
A pull-through braid is another option that you do not braid. Instead, start by creating two high ponytails. Now, pull the left one through the middle of the right one. Add some loose hair to make a third ponytail. Then, repeat until you reach the end of your hair. It helps to pin up the section you pull through as you work to create the third ponytail. While this style is usually done in the back, you can make side pull-through braids.
A milkmaid braid is a beautiful option for those days when you want to wear your hair up as it wraps around your head. Likely, the first people to wear this braid that wraps around your head were milkmaids who wore it to keep their hair out of their way while milking cows and preparing dairy products. Usually, this hairstyle is done using a center part because you need the same amount of hair on both sides of your head. Start at the top on one side of your head using a three-strand braid. Stop about 3 inches from the end of your hair and secure with bobby pins. Braid the other side in the same way. Pull one side across the front of your head and secure it behind your ears with bobby pins. Then, wrap the other side behind it.
The ladder braid is a great way to create visual interest in your favorite braid style, such as French, Dutch, or three strands. Take a tiny section of the left side and pull it out to the side as you are working. Then start braiding the pieces that you have pulled to the side while picking up a new piece as you work down the length of the hair. There should be a connected gap between the main braid and these tiny braids. Be careful not to get closer to the main braid as you work accidentally. Finally, wrap the mini-braid around the main braid.
Get a better idea by watching a ladder braid created. While I consider myself a pretty patient person, I am not sure that I could hold as still as this little girl does for that long.
A lace braid is a one-sided French braid. Start by parting your hair on one side. Then, create a braid on the side where you have left the most hair. Start the braid down the side of your head while adding small sections from the side where you are creating the braid as you work along. This braid should be angled towards your face and ahead of your natural hairline. Keep adding hair until you reach about your jawline. Finish by securing the end of the braid. This short braid is particularly useful when you have a long type of bangs or your bangs get longer, but you do not have time to cut them.
Once you master the feather braids technique, you will find yourself turning to this technique that creates a braid around your hair often. Start by grabbing your hair on the front on one side and dividing it into two equal strands. Then, cross the two strands over each other. Bring a piece of your loose hair between the two strands and bring them across each other from top to bottom again. While this is not an actual braid, it looks fantastic, and it’s super quick. Try to keep the width of each strand going down the same.
Often made using synthetic hair, box braids create a box shape in each part of the braid through the complicated braiding technique. Some versions allow the braider to create triangle or diamond shapes. Generally, you will need the help of a professional to complete this hair design. Usually, many tiny box braids allowed to hang down naturally cover the head. There are numerous ways to style box braids. You can create a three-strand braid out of two and wrap it around the rest to hold all the box braids on one side of your head. Alternatively, you can create a deep side part and pull the strands while twisting them together to the other side of your head.
Micro braids are incredibly tiny braids. They are so little that they often resemble thick strands of hair. You will need the help of a professional to create these braids, and it can take a long time. There are numerous ways to style micro braids, including pulling them all to the top of your head and placing them in a bun. Alternatively, you may want to consider leaving them loose in a ponytail. Since these braids are so tiny, you can also use them to create your favorite braid styles, such as French, Dutch, or three-strand.
Crowned braids are created using the French braiding technique, but instead of hanging down, they wrap around your head. This braid requires you to create a center part from the front of your head to the back. Start braiding to the right and angle your braid up over your ear while incorporating new hair as you work. Then, keep braiding across your forehead. Keep braiding until you reach the point where you started. Continue braiding until you reach the end of your hair and secure it with an elastic.
Cornrow braids are narrow braids used to create geometric patterns on the scalp. The braiding technique used to make cornrows leaves a raised braid that is very narrow. Sometimes, beads or shells are incorporated into the braids. This braiding technique is one of the oldest still in existence today, and it may date back more than 5,000 years.
There are numerous ways to style cornrows. See some of them in this video:
Crochet braiding, sometimes called latch hook braiding, is a process that uses a tool similar to a crochet hook to attach hair extensions to the natural hair. The extensions are typically connected to cornrows made with natural hair, and this technique provides the wearer with heavily textured hair. Then, the hair with the extensions can be braided or styled in many different ways. They are an excellent alternative for people who do not want to spend hours at the salon because an experienced beautician can usually install them in under an hour.
Beyonce introduced this style of braiding on her Lemonade album in 2017. The style combines cornrows with Fulani style, with a narrow cornrow down the center of the head and one or a few cornrows going in the opposite direction near the temple. Lemonade braids usually have numerous beads incorporated into the style. The long hair on one side of the head can be worn in many different ways, including pulled back, a jumbo rope, or a top knot. Some people even choose to pull the hair from the long side to cover the cornrows for special occasions.
Watch the process of making lemonade braids in this video:
A braided bun gathers the hair at the top of the nape of the neck before being braided into a bun. There are many different ways to create braided buns. You can choose to wear the bun on top of your head with bangs brushed forward to frame your face. Creating a ballerina bun with the braid against your scalp is a fun look for a casual date. You can also create numerous smaller waves feeding into a bun in the back. You can even create a half-up, half-down bun if you have extra-long hair.
Also called Fulani braids, this hairstyle features one cornrow braided down the center of the head, going from the front to the back. Additional cornrows are braided on either side, going from the back to the front. The cornrows are placed further apart than in many hairstyles, making it easier to moisturize the scalp. You can wear these braids that often incorporate synthetic hair in various styles, including high buns, side parts, and crown braids, but generally, you need to wear your hair in the same manner for three to five weeks when you need to repeat the braiding process. Often beads and other accessories are woven into these beads.
Halo braids consist of one or two long Dutch braids formed around the head before being placed on top of it, creating a halo. It looks very similar to a crown braid but uses the Dutch braiding technique instead of the French braiding technique. While it is often done with two Dutch braids to give the halo an upright effect, you can also do it with one braid, which provides a tilted halo effect. The tiny hairs around your face that are too small to be incorporated into the braid are shaped and molded to create an immaculate effect.
We have covered a lot of different braiding styles in this chapter. In the next chapter, I will provide you with a more in-depth look at the ten most popular braid styles, so be sure to keep reading. Learning these ten braid styles will help you create many different looks.
In this chapter, I will cover ten popular options and describe when you might want to wear them. If you love to do your hair or the hair of a friend, then mastering these ten braids is a great place to begin learning more about braiding.
A three-strand braid is a prevalent option for outdoor activities. It keeps your hair contained, so it is not constantly blowing in your face. This is also a great braid to wear on those days when you are running late and need to put up your hair in a hurry. You can choose to wear this style braided down the back. Alternatively, consider starting at the front of your head and style it to lay around your head. Gently pulling on the sides allows you to create a flat braid or make a thicker one by keeping the hair very loose while braiding. In addition to being a trendy style for women, it can be a fantastic choice for girls.
A Dutch braid is an easy option to style to wear in many different places. On more laid-back days, use this style to create pigtails. You can also do Dutch braids and have them end in a messy bun in the back. Create an elegant look by starting at your forehead and braiding it straight back to the nape of your neck. Another option to consider for special occasions is to wear Dutch braids as a crown on top of your head. Dutch braids also look classy when they end in a bun on top of your head. This is a terrific option to use when creating tilter or upright halo braids.
French braids are trendy for special events, like proms and weddings. It is easy to use this style to create milkmaid braids that lay around your head. You can easily accessorize them with a tiara or other hairpiece. There is no need, however, to save this style for a special day. French braids can easily be used by styling them from the top of your head down your back or creating a long side braid. For a great casual look, consider using a side braid that only incorporates part of your hair, then leave the rest to flow freely.
Cornrows are a popular braid for guys and gals, especially in some ethnic communities. While cornrows take some time to put in, you can go weeks without messing with your hair, which is excellent for those living busy lifestyles. Many love to create unique looks with cornrows, like lemonade braids. You can opt between many different patterns, like the goddess pattern, where the hair is parted in a spiral pattern. Cornrows can be pulled back into a ponytail, worn in a bun, or as a top knot. It is also easy to add beads, shells, or gold trinkets to cornrows.
One of the reasons that a fishtail braid is immensely popular is that there are many ways to style this braid. For a special event, consider creating a thick fishtail braid across the top of your head and bring it down to about your ear on one side before braiding the rest straight down. It is also easy to do a waterfall braid using a fishtail braid to wrap around your head. You may also want to create two fishtail braids next to each other down your back and join them with a sparkly hair tie at the bottom. Many choose to create a fishtail braid when they only want to put their hair half up.
Rope twisted braid
One of the most popular reasons people love the rope twisted braid is that it is so fast to do. Therefore, they can get the extra five minutes of sleep that they are craving in the morning or get ready to greet unexpected company in a hurry. Many love to combine this look with a French, Dutch, or infinity braid to create their unique look. You can also dye only the braided hair to create a one-of-a-kind look. While most of the time, all of the hair is incorporated into a rope twisted braid, it is also easy to pull out individual strands from the braid to create a messy look.
Box braids are a popular option because they keep the hair’s natural ends protected, which leads to healthy hair. Hair extensions can be added to very short hair, making them a popular option for people who want long hair while waiting for their hair to grow out. While most people choose to wear medium beads about the thickness of a pencil, skinny braids and very thick braids are also possible so that each person can choose the right option. Many choose this option because they can go four-to-six weeks without having to visit a salon for a touchup.
Like some other braids on our list, pull-through braids are a prevalent option that is easy to do at home without requiring much work. Many people who have trouble braiding their hair find that they can easily create a pull-through braid. The finished look is similar to a Dutch braid, so there are many styling options. For casual days, consider a messy ponytail. Another great option is to create a braid on each side while leaving a little fringe to frame the face. On those days when you need to dress up, consider a pull-through braid that crowns your head or ends in a bun at the top of the head.
Tribal braids are a popular option, especially for people who like to connect with their family’s heritage. Since you can wear these braids in so many different ways, it is also easy to incorporate your personality. It is easy to create a Fulani braid with the tribal braids by gathering the braids on top of your head, and they can be parted in the center or on the side. You can also use tribal braids on part of your head while leaving other parts natural. Tribal braids also lend themselves to creating different braided looks by treating them as you would individual hair strands and braiding them together using Dutch, French, or another braiding technique. While many love the look of long tribal braids, it is also possible to have short tribal braids.
A waterfall braid is a popular style because it looks elegant while being quick and easy to do at home. Therefore, it is ideal for those last-minute parties and other events that you do not want to miss out on. A waterfall braid can be created using several braiding techniques, and each will give the hair a little different appearance, so it is a fun style to play with regularly. For example, you can create a thin band around your head like a headband or create several braids that lie next to each other. You can also create a waterfall braid and end it in many styles at the back of your head.
I hope this gives you a better idea of popular braid styles. There are so many great options, and it is easy to change their look by the way that you style your hair. In the next chapter, I’ll comment on men’s braids.
While I have been focusing on braids for women, men can wear braids too. Some men pick their braid style to look fashionable, and others choose their braid style to connect to their cultural roots. Still, others prefer them to be unique.
As it happens with women, there exist lots of types of braids for men. You might be wondering whether men’s braids will look flattering on you, chances are you can find a men’s braids hairstyle you feel comfortable wearing. What’s more, you don’t need to have extremely long hair to wear braids if you are a man.
Before you make up your mind, it would be wise to ask your hairstylist what types of braids for men might be best for your hair type. There are some men’s braids hairstyles that look better on men with curly hair since others can be done on men with straight hair. The same is true for long and short hair.
You should also consider whether you’ll ask a friend for help, try to do the braids yourself, or ask a professional to braid your hair. This matters since not all men’s braids hairstyles are easy to achieve. Besides, hairstylists know how to treat your hair before braiding, and they’ll also give you some maintenance tips so that your braids last longer.
Here are some of the most well-known types of braids for men so that you can get an idea. Still, if you want to know more about braids for men, we have a specific blog post devoted entirely to Braids for men. Hesitate no more and have a look at it!
Women do not get all the fun of wearing cornrows. Many men love wearing them too. Guys often find wearing them a great way to connect with their ethnic roots, while others wear them because they love the thought of not having to do much with their hair for up to six weeks. These braids created with an upward hand motion often take hours to put in, so a professional’s help is usually needed.
As I shared in an earlier chapter, cornrows are from Africa, particularly around the horn. Their design often sent messages to others who may not speak the same language but lived nearby. You can send beautiful messages by carefully choosing your cornrow design.
Many men love the look of box braids. These square braids can be worn long or short. They can also be gathered together and worn in a ponytail. Some men choose to grow their hair long, while others use hair extensions. While some men wear them in irregular patterns, it is also possible to create geometric designs or other shapes depending on the box braid’s placement. This option can be great for guys who do not want to spend a lot of time on their hair, as too much touching and washing can cause box braids to get fuzzy and matted.
Fishbone braids are a popular option for men who often wear them in a zigzag pattern. These braids look like they have a line down the middle because hair is continually moved from one main strand to the other as you form the braid. You can also pin the braids to the top of the head to create a wave-like appearance. One of the reasons this style is trendy is that men can learn to create them at home in minutes. Some people like the fishbone look when hair is gently tugged out of the braid on either side to create a messy look.
You can style braid buns for men in many ways. A conservative way to try this hairstyle is to create three-strand braids on both sides of the head and gather the remaining hair at your neck’s nape. Men with thin hair can do a braid on just one side before ending it with the bun in the back. There is no expectation, however, that the bun remains at the back. Instead, you can place it on top of the head. Many men like this look because their hair stays out of their face all day regardless of what they are doing. Beads, gold, and other adornments can be added to the braid or the bun.
An immensely popular style for men is braided dreadlocks because there are many ways to wear them. This style was first mentioned in writings from India about 3,600 years ago. If you are new to dreads, you need to know that your hair is not as healthy when you wear them, and you cannot condition your hair frequently. Braided dreadlocks work on all different lengths of hair. You can gather them in the back, and you can choose to wear them straight or curled.
Look at this video to see some of the possibilities:
Twist braids are a prevalent choice for men with highly textured hair. You can leave the twists in, or they can be styled with lots of gel and taken out to make it appear that you have lots of hair. While they have been popular for many years on medium-and-long hair, one of the newest trends is twists on short hairstyles. Often two or more twists are twisted together and allowed to fall naturally. Many men choose to wear them with a fade. Another popular style is to use them to create a faux hawk, which is like a mohawk, but twists are placed on top of the head.
Please do not stop reading now. Next, we will look at what braids are best for natural hair. Then, we will give you some tips for taking care of braided hair. I am so enjoying bringing you this information, and I hope you enjoy learning about different braids styles.
Some of these can be worn by women, while others look awesome on men. You’ll love to wear these styles that do not require hair extensions or other synthetic hair to your head.
A three-stranded is a beautiful natural hair option. First, it is so easy to do that you will find yourself doing this option often when you need to change your hairstyle during the day. You can easily make the braid from the top of your head and bring it down your back in the center. It looks excellent with asymmetrical outfits when placed on the short side, as it helps to balance the look. You can also use this braid for top knots and buns. If your bangs are getting too long, you can easily make a short one in the front. You can also opt to use this braid and incorporate all the hair on your head or leave the sides to hang down and use the hair in the middle of your head.
A waterfall braid is an elegant braid that looks like you spent hours working on it when the truth is you spent very little time at all. You can use several braiding styles to create the braid, including three-strand, Dutch and French. The trick to making this style look great is to keep the different sections of hair coming through the braid the same width. While that can take some practice, once you master this technique, you will find yourself using it on medium-length and long hair often. You can even incorporate flowers, shells, or beads into your hair using this style for special occasions.
Another terrific option for natural hair is a French braid. Most ethnicities can easily wear a French braid, and you can style it in many ways. One popular option is to do an inverted French braid where you cross the hair under instead of over. One advantage of French braids is that you can put one in while your hair is still wet, so you can get the ends protected quickly. Another advantage is that you can leave a French braid in for up to three weeks, so you do not have to constantly be messing with your hair, which may cause even more damage.
Dutch braids are another protective hairstyle that you will want to wear often. One great way to wear Dutch braids is to start the braids at the top of your head and end them with a bun in the back. This braid lends itself well to braids that stay on top of your head, like crown and halo braids. You can choose to create thick Dutch braids using all of your hair or make smaller ones. If your natural hair is damaged, this can be a great choice in a hairstyle to wear while waiting for your hair to heal because Dutch braids can be left in for up to three weeks.
There are so many ways to wear cornrows, regardless of whether your hair is short, medium, or long. If you have specific areas of your hair that have been damaged for some reason, adding cuff beads is a great way to ensure that they stay protected. There is an endless variety of patterns that you can create with cornrows. Combining this hairstyle with other braiding styles makes it easy to create unique looks, like lemonade braids inspired by Beyonce. You can also dye some of your hair to highlight different features of your cornrows.
Fishtail braids are easy to style your natural hair, and you can wear them in many different ways. You can start with two fishtail braids coming down the sides of your head and join them together at the base to make one jumbo braid. They add elegance to the bottom of a bun. Depending on what you wear with it, a high fishtail ponytail can create a whimsical or glamourous look without redoing your hair. These braids’ chic, elegant look allows you to wear them on special occasions, but you will not want to save this look until one occurs.
Box braids are an excellent option for heat-damaged hair. Ever since Janet Jackson put this look on the mainstream map, people have been finding terrific ways to wear box braids. A trendy way to wear box braids is the goddess braid. Create these braids like you would other box braids, but leave 3 to 5 inches unbraided at the end. It is easy to adorn them with various hair beads and rings. Consider wearing this style of box braid with your favorite Bohemian outfits. This style lasts weeks, so be sure that you properly condition your hair before braiding it, but I will have more to say about that in the next chapter.
If you are not a morning person, then a milkmaid braid can be the perfect option for you because you do the braid the night before. It helps to use a leave-in conditioner, so your hair will likely end up even cleaner. This is an effortless style because you can create two pigtails with the braid and pin them on top of your head. You can also wear this hairstyle down or fix it in a bun at your neck’s nape. A milkmaid braid is an option that works well with curly and textured hair, and you can leave it in the braid for several days.
Rope twisted braid
One of the simplest braids to create is a rope twisted braid. Many people find this braid to be very romantic and an easy look to create when you need an updo. There are many ways to style this faux braid, so you can choose the look depending on how you are feeling or the clothes that you are wearing. You can wear it in the back as a ponytail, wear it as a side braid or opt for a part-up, part-down look. You can also choose to create the braid and curl it with your curling iron.
A five-strand braid is a great natural hair option if you have lots of hair. Instead of dividing your hair into three strands, you use five strands and continually pass the hair towards the middle. This is an excellent option for those loving the look of a thick braided ponytail. Depending on how tightly you braid and how big you make the strands, you can also use this option with less hair. Once you learn this braiding technique, you can create it exceptionally quickly. It is easy to create a fancy look by incorporating flowers, beads, or shells as you braid.
With so many different natural hair braiding styles, you may find yourself wearing your hair in braids more often. I hope you enjoy applying the information contained in this chapter. Before you start practicing on your hair, be sure to read the next chapter, where I discuss how to prepare your natural hair for braiding.
There is one last area I want to cover in this post before I close. Some tips apply to almost all braids, and following these tips will help you succeed in achieving the braided look you want.
Deep Clean Your Hair
Especially with braid styles where you will leave your hair up for several days or weeks, it is vital to deep clean your hair before you begin. A great option is to start with a scalp buildup cleaner. You can easily make your own at home by combining eight drops of rosemary essential oil, six drops of lemon essential oil, and four drops of grapefruit essential oil with 2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar and six tbsps. water. Stir to combine and comb through your dry hair. Let the mixture sit on your scalp for 20 minutes.
Then, use an exfoliating shampoo to deep scrub your hair. Make sure that you massage your scalp all over. Finish shampooing your hair with a conditioning mask. Leave the mask on for at least 10 minutes to give its ingredients time to work. Then, rinse your hair to remove the mask. Towel dry hair, but do not rub the towel over the hair as rubbing can cause damage to the hair follicles.
Get a Trim
Even if you are going to braid your hair yourself, you should get a trim. The length of your hair has a lot to do with how often you should have it trimmed. If you have short hair, it needs to be trimmed every month if you do natural braids. Alternatively, if your hair is medium length or long hair, you should get it cut about every three months.
There are exceptions to this rule. If your hair is not short but it’s curly, get it trimmed every six weeks. Additionally, you should get your hair trimmed as soon as possible if you see any evidence of hair damage, such as split ends. Since hair grows from the root, getting it cut frequently will not make your hair grow faster. Instead, it will help your hair be more robust and healthier so that you can braid it easier without worrying about damaging your hair.
Know the Braid’s Requirements
Not every braid style is suitable for everybody. Spend some more time learning about the styles that interest you the most. Ask your friends who know about hair if they think the braid style will look great on you. I have included YouTube videos on the various styles in this post. Watch them and think about your hair. In some cases, you may need to get your hair cut shorter or wait until it grows out before trying a particular braid. Mark those braids so that you can easily find them when your hair is ready to proceed. In some cases, you may be able to add hair extensions to achieve the look while you are waiting for your natural hair to grow out.
While you are deciding, think if you are willing to invest the time into creating the braid style. Be sure to read other posts on this blog about your various options before making a final decision.
Find a Mentor
While I have attempted to give you tips on how to do each braid style and how to wear it, you will still want a mentor to help you learn how to braid your hair. You can find great mentors at many salons. Ask the person who is doing your trim if they will teach you how to do a new braid that you want to learn.
Keep in mind that they may be great at doing the braid themselves and at cutting hair, but they may lack teaching skills. In other cases, you may find that they do not have the time to work with you because of their busy schedule. In those cases, look among your friends to see if one of them is an expert at braiding hair, and ask them if they will help you learn. It can be a great way to strike up a friendship with someone you hardly know.
Know What Hair Maintenace is Required
Especially if you are considering hair braids designed to be in your hair for several weeks or months, find out what you need to do to maintain the look. You will need to use a dry shampoo and a deep scalp moisturizer in many cases.
In most cases, dry shampoo comes in a can, and you spray it on your hair. You will want to hold the can upright and about six ins from your hair. You should use dry shampoo whenever your hair starts looking oily or feels dirty. If you have high sebum production or product buildup, you may need to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo about every two weeks to keep your hair looking great. When you do, try not to disturb the braids any more than necessary. You may also need a scalp conditioner. Avoid scratching and touching your scalp as much as possible because it can lead to oily buildup on your scalp that can cause you to need to redo your braids more frequently.
We have covered a lot of ground. First, we looked at the great history of braids. Then, we looked at the different types of braids and braided hairstyles available for women. We’ve also talked about the most popular braid styles. And I’ve shared some tips so that your braids look their best.
It is natural to have questions, so be sure to ask them. I’d love to help you, and if you want to know something that I don’t know, I have a whole team of experts that I can reach out to regularly.
If you liked this post, please share it with your friends. You may even want to plan a braiding get-together or share the information with your favorite beautician.
While you are contemplating your favorite braid style and deciding if it will look great on you, be sure to check out our other posts. I am sure that you will find them equally helpful.