Hair

25 Trendy And Timeless Braiding Styles For Every Occasion – And How To Achieve Them

Picture this: you're gearing up for a summer getaway, and you need a cute and easy hairstyle to keep you looking stylish and feeling cool under the sun. Enter braids. They offer the perfect solution with their effortless charm and practicality. From classic French braids to trendy summer afro braiding styles, the options are endless. 

Whether you’re looking for long hair braid inspiration, or searching for braid styles for short hair, you’re in the right place. These styles are suitable for work, special occasions or just hitting the gym.

BRAIDING STYLES: KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Braids for long hair = French braid, Dutch braid, fishtail braid, waterfall braid, ponytail braid, braid extensions, rope braid, bubble braid.
  • Braids for short hair = side braid on short hair, braided bob, baby braids.
  • Braids for afro hair = box braids, cornrow braids, spring twists, crochet braids, goddess braids, Fulani braids.
  • Braided updos = milkmaid braids, braid bun, afro updo with braids, braided half-updo.
  • Braids for men = braided man bun, men’s cornrows, men’s box braids, men’s double Dutch braids

 

BRAIDS FOR LONG HAIR

Long hair makes the perfect blank canvas for all kinds of braided looks. With a lot of length to play with, you can go all out with a gorgeous braided updo or keep it simple and loose with a side-parted Dutch braid. Whatever your skillset and timescale, we’ve rounded up a range of fabulous styles for you to rock.

1. French braid 

The classic French braid, sometimes called the French plait, is the ultimate braided style for effortless chic. It’s versatile too – wear yours tight and neat for a preppy vibe, or opt for a messier, loose version by pulling out a few strands here and there to create a more boho look. While it may take a little practice to perfect your French braid skills, follow these steps and you can’t go wrong:

Step 1: Prep your hair: Brush your hair to remove any knots or tangles. For added texture and grip, you can apply a small amount of texturising spray or mousse.

Step 2: Start with a section: Take a small section of hair near your forehead and divide it into three equal sections, just like you would for a normal braid.

Step 3: Cross and add hair: Begin braiding by crossing the right section over the middle, then the left section over the new middle. Here's where it gets French: each time you cross a section over the middle, gather a small section of hair from the sides and add it to the braid before crossing it over.

Step 4: Continue braiding: Keep adding small sections of hair from each side as you braid, working your way down the back of your head. Keep the braid tight and close to your scalp for a neat look.

Step 5: Finish and secure: Once you've reached the nape of your neck and brought in all the hair, continue braiding the remaining length of your hair without adding any more sections. Secure the end of the braid with a hair elastic.

2. Dutch braid

Just like its French sister, the Dutch braid creates a seamless braid right from the front and top of the head, all the way down into a flowing plait. However, with a Dutch braid, you weave your strands under rather than over, creating a puffy, raised result. The technique is similar to that used to create cornrows, only the hair is held much looser, and the braid is done on a much larger scale. To create a flawless Dutch braid, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prep your hair: Start with clean, but not freshly washed hair. Brush to remove any knots or tangles. For added texture and grip, you can apply a small amount of texturising spray or mousse.

Step 2: Start with a section: Take a small section of hair near your forehead and divide it into three equal sections, just like you would for a French braid.

Step 3: Cross and add hair: Begin braiding by crossing the right section under the middle, then the left section under the new middle. 

Step 4: Continue braiding: Each time you cross a section under the middle, gather a small section of hair from the appropriate side and add it to the braid before crossing. Keep adding small sections of hair from each side as you braid, working your way down the back of your head. Keep the braid tight and close to your scalp for a neat look.

Step 5: Finish and secure: Once you've reached the nape of your neck and brought in all the hair, continue braiding the remaining length of your hair. Secure the end of the braid with a hair elastic.

3. Fishtail braid 

A fishtail braid is the perfect way to achieve that casual, beachy feel, making it the ideal summer braiding style. While it may look complex, this two-section braid is just as easy to achieve as a classic plait. Wear all of your hair woven into this style, or just part of it, leaving the rest to flow free in boho waves. We recommend using our 2-in-1 Contouring Iron Pro to achieve this look.

Step 1: Prep your hair: Brush through your hair to remove any knots or tangles, then use a comb to create a neat parting of your preference. Bring all of your hair around to one side of your head.

Step 2: Section and braid: Pick up a small section of hair from the back left side, then pull it over the top into the right section of your hair. Repeat but mirrored, pulling a section from the back right side over to the left.

Step 3: Repeat to the desired length: Keep repeating step 2, crossing small sections of your hair from left to right and right to left until you reach the end of your hair.

Step 4: Secure: Fasten your completed fishtail braid with a small hair tie. For that trendy beach babe look, you may want to mess your fishtail braid around a little and pull out a few small strands to make it look a little lived-in.

4. Waterfall braid

This look suits both curly and straight hair and is a versatile half-up-do for any occasion. Whether you opt for a single waterfall braid that wraps around your head, or two waterfall braids that meet in the middle to form a crown, this style adds a boho vibe to your look. While it can be a challenge for your dexterity, this braid is an impressive addition to any hairstyle repertoire.

Step 1: Prep your hair: Smooth out any tangles in your hair with a brush, and part it down the middle. For added smoothness, straighten your long hair with the CLOUD NINE Wide Iron Pro.

Step 2: Begin your braid: Grab a small section of hair from the right side of the very front of your middle parting and split it into three equal sections. Cross the top strand over and into the middle. Repeat with the bottom strand and hold all of the strands in your right hand, using each of your fingers to keep them separate.

Step 3: Create the waterfall effect: Take a new piece of hair from the top, near your parting, and add it to the top strand of your braid. Cross this into the middle of your braid. Now let go of the bottom strand and pick up a new piece of hair next to where your original bottom strand was. Cross this new piece into the middle, treating it as your new bottom strand.

Step 4: Repeat until complete: Repeat step 3 until you reach the other side of your head. Here, you can either fasten your braid off with a hair elastic or continue your braid as a standard plait before fastening off.

5. Ponytail braid 

Looking for an easy work hairstyle that’s smart, sleek, and on-trend? Try the ponytail braid. This twist on the classic ponytail keeps your hair out of your face and looks as professional as it does cute – taking you from a day in the office to a night on the town in style.

Step 1: Prep your hair: The aim of the ponytail braid game is sleek and tidy. Start by combing out any tangles in your hair and smoothing it back into a ponytail – either high or low. For an extra sleek look, apply a product like CLOUD NINE’s Magical Remedy to smooth and condition.

Step 2: Fasten your ponytail: Secure your ponytail with a hair tie. 

Step 3: Braid to the end of your hair: Divide your ponytail into three strands of equal thickness, and cross them into the middle, alternating one at a time to create a classic three-strand plait.

Step 4: Finish and accessorise: Fasten your braid at the bottom with another hair tie. This look is just begging for hair accessories. We love adding bows over each hair tie to conceal them and add a cute finishing touch.

6. Braid extensions

If you’re searching for a way to add a pop of colour or even more length to your look, braid extensions are a fun option. In recent years, this eclectic look has become a favourite summer braiding style thanks to its bright, bohemian vibe which is ideal for festivals, parties and holidays. It’s often referred to as the ‘mermaid braids’ look thanks to the fantastical colour option available.

For best results, we recommend getting your braid extensions installed by a trained professional. Here are some care tips to prepare your hair before getting synthetic braid extensions:

Tip 1: Arrive to your appointment with clean, dry hair

Wash your hair two days before your appointment to ensure it is fresh enough to help your braids last but has enough natural oils present to help the braids grip.

Tip 2: Straighten your curls

If you have naturally curly hair, it will need to be straightened before it can have extensions braided in. We recommend the CLOUD NINE Wide Iron to tame long and thick hair. Do this ahead of your appointment to save time.

Tip 3: Go natural

Don’t use any kind of product in your hair before your braid extensions appointment, as this could impact the installation of the extensions, and mean your braids don’t last as long.

7. Rope braid 

Bored of the standard three-strand plait? A rope braid could be your new favourite style. This simple braid uses just two strands, but the finished look offers something a little different. Reminiscent of elven princesses and Viking maidens, the rope braid is often used on characters in fantasy TV and films and offers a taste of romance and adventure.

Step 1: Prep your hair: As usual, brush through clean, dry hair to smooth and detangle.

Step 2: Start with a ponytail: Brush your hair back into a sleek, high ponytail and secure it with a hair tie.

Step 3: Divide and twist: Separate your ponytail into two strands of equal thickness. Twist one section clockwise through its whole length. Secure this with a clip to prevent it from unravelling, then repeat with the other strand.

Step 4: Entwine and fasten: With one twist in each hand, rotate both counterclockwise and entwine together into your rope braid. Secure this at the bottom with another hair tie.

8. Bubble braid

A bubble braid is so easy, it’s barely even a braid. With no plaiting involved, this style is super beginner-friendly. All you need is clean hair, a few hair ties, and your own hands. A favourite on social media, the bubble braid is playful and offers the ideal middle ground between casual daily style and evening glam. Try it for yourself:

Step 1: Prepare and pony: Brush any tangles out of clean, dry hair. Brush your hair into a neat high ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic that matches the colour of your hair.

Step 2: Volumise: Backcomb and tease the hair in the ponytail to create volume.

Step 3: Create your first bubble: Secure another hair elastic one to two inches below the first. Gently tug at the hair between the two hair elastics to create a puffed-up bubble look.

Step 4: Continue your bubbles: Repeat step three until you reach the end of your hair.

Step 5: Add the finishing touches: Accessorise with ribbons or scrunchies around each hair tie.

BRAIDS FOR SHORT HAIR

Having shorter hair doesn’t exclude you from styling some gorgeous braided looks. From a simple side braid to an intricate crown braid, we’ve got plenty of braiding options for short hair in this article.

9. Side braid on short hair

This beautiful side braid works perfectly on shorter hair. It’s a quick and easy way to sweep your hair off your face in a style that looks like way more effort than it is. Try this braided style on workdays, the school run, or out for drinks. Following a similar technique to the French braid, the side braid is as elegant as it is simple and even works with a fringe. To achieve a side braid, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prep and part: Brush your hair and create a deep side part. Style smooth and straight or into casual waves with the 2-in-1 Contouring Iron Pro.

Step 2: Section and start braiding: Take a small section of hair from the front, divide it into three, and begin braiding towards the back of your head.

Step 3: Add hair as you go: Incorporate small sections of hair from the top and bottom as you braid, angling towards the nape of your neck.

Step 4: Secure the end: When you reach the nape of your neck, continue braiding without adding hair and secure the end with an elastic.

Step 5: Adjust and finish: Loosen the braid for a softer look, secure any loose strands with bobby pins, and finish with hairspray for hold.

10. Braided bob

While braids look lovely on long and flowing locks, they’re also a chic option for shorter hair. In a bob, braids add structure and motion, creating a look that’s a little different to many typical short styles.

These types of braids look great in a bob style:

Box braids

The hair is parted into square-shaped sections before braiding. With a box braid, artificial or human hair extensions are usually added, and tight tension is applied while braiding to create a polished final look. Box braids are a great choice for a braided bob hairstyle thanks to their neat finish.

Goddess braids

Add a bit of a boho twist to your braided bob with goddess braids. This style is looser, with each braid interspersed with spiralling stands of hair for a more casual look. 

Twists

For something a little different from typical braids, choose twist braids at a bob length. Unlike traditional braids, these use just two strands twisted together from the root to the end. This can be done with thick or thin pieces of hair, depending on your preference for the finished result.

11. Baby braids

Baby braids are trendy and cute. They’ve been spotted on celebs such as Haley Bieber and Margot Robbie, and the good news is, they’re suitable for all hair types from 1a to 4c. The style consists of two teeny tiny plaits at the very front of your hair, either side of your parting, with the rest of your hair styled as usual – wavy, curly or straight. This look suits bobbed hair perfectly, adding a frame to the face. For the perfect baby braids for any occasion, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prep your hair: Follow your usual hair care routine for your hair type, washing, conditioning and applying the appropriate post-wash products like serums, curls creams and texturising sprays.

Step 2: Style: Brush your hair to remove tangles, then part down the middle with a comb. Straighten, curl or wave your hair with a heated tool like our 2-in-1 Contouring Iron Pro, as preferred.

Step 3: Braid. Separate a small section of hair from the right side of your hair, right next to your parting. Split this into three equal strands and weave it into a simple three-strand braid from root to tip. Secure with a small hair elastic.

Step 4: Second braid: Repeat step 3 for the left side of your hair, creating two even baby braids.

BRAIDS FOR AFRO HAIR

For those with tight type 4 curls (sometimes known as afro hair or black hair), braids are not only stylish but protective, minimising breakage and tangling. This article contains plenty of unisex braid styles that are perfect for caring for your hair, while also looking great too.

12. Box braids

If you’re looking for protective braid styles that look as good as they feel, look no further than box braids. These versatile braids are an ultra-popular choice for both women and men with black hair, as they promote hair health, look amazing, and can be styled in a range of ways.

While box braiding is best left to a professional stylist who specialises in afro hair types, we have a few tips to help you get the most from this style.

Tip 1: Prep your hair before braiding

Before installing box braids, it’s essential to ensure your ends are trimmed and your lengths are detangled. This can help to prevent damage during the braiding process and ensure the best-looking results.

Tip 2: Promote scalp health

Having a healthy scalp before you get your box braids installed is the key to long-lasting, great-looking braids. To maintain your scalp’s condition and keep the lengths of your hair looking lustrous, regularly apply a scalp moisturising mask. Straight after braiding, it’s natural for your scalp to feel a little tight and itchy – apply a scalp tonic to relieve any discomfort.

Tip 3: Maintain your box braids

A good quality leave-in conditioner spray, moisturising serum or oil can work wonders when it comes to maximising the lifespan of your box braids. Apply through them every few days (especially after washing) to nourish the hair cuticle with a gentle pressing and squeezing motion.

Discover more about styling type 4c hair

13. Cornrow braids

An ultra-popular choice for black hair for centuries, cornrows are a timeless protective braiding style that lies flat to the scalp. A style with a rich history and heritage attached cornrow braids are now popular amongst celebrities and ordinary people alike. They can be worn on long or short hair with or without the addition of hair extensions.

Cornrows are best achieved with the help of a professional stylist, but here are some tips to keep yours in great condition:

Tip 1: Maintain scalp hygiene

While it’s hard to get in there and give your scalp a good scrub without ruining cornrow braids, it’s still important to remove dirt and build-up from the area. Invest in a high-quality gentle shampoo to care for your braided hair.

Tip 2: Keep it loose

When cornrows are braided too tightly, you risk tension and damage to your hair, scalp and hairline. Communicate with your hairstylist, especially if you feel any discomfort during braiding, to ensure your end result is healthy and protective as well as cute.

Tip 3: Protect for perfect results

Keep your cornrows in the best condition for longer by protecting them from friction and heat at night using a silk bonnet or pillowcase to prevent rubbing and pulling.

14. Spring twists

Perfect for type 4 coily hair, spring twists are a great protective, low-manipulation hairstyle. Not technically braids, this look is made up of coily hair extensions that give a bouncy, twisted look that’s sure to get you noticed for all the right reasons. You can either head to the salon to achieve this look or try it for yourself at home. Follow our step-by-step guide for achieving these bouncy, volume-packed twists:

Step 1: Get your supplies ready: 

Gather a rat-tail comb, sectioning clips, braiding gel or pomade, and spring-twist or right, curly braiding hair. If needed, gently separate the hair strands to ensure softness and volume.

Step 2: Prep your hair: 

Begin with freshly washed and conditioned hair. Try using a sulphate-free co-wash or shampoo followed by a creamy deep-conditioning treatment for hydration. Generously apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair to smooth flyaways and boost moisture.

Step 3: Install the twists: 

Section your hair into three or four parts. Braid a small section of your natural hair with the spring twist hair at the root (about an inch long). Two-strand twist the combined strands gently but firmly to the end, avoiding excessive tension to maintain the springy texture. Smooth pomade or gel through each strand before twisting to ensure flatness. Repeat until each section is completed, but be patient – this process may take several hours.

Step 4: Seal and shape: Rub the ends of the spring twists with your fingertips and trim any loose strands – there's no need to seal with hot water since the ends are already curly. Ensure you're twisting in the same direction as the spring hair to keep the shape even.

Step 5: Maintenance and duration: Remove spring twists after a maximum of two months to prevent scalp and hair damage. During this time, apply lightweight scalp oils, such as jojoba oil, to minimize irritation. Sleep with a silk pillowcase or bonnet to preserve the twists and prevent frizzing.

15. Crochet braids

Also known as latch hook braids, this is a protective braid style with a twist – literally. Crochet braids are different to spring twists as they are braided into the roots of your hair but flow freely. They’re a smart choice if you hate spending hours in the salon, because crochet braids are quick and easy to install, adding a fuller look to your hair while also protecting it from damage. 

Some people learn to do them from home, while others prefer a short salon appointment. Whichever you choose, there’s a crochet braid style for every occasion. The foundation of crochet braids is usually cornrows or box braids that weave your natural hair with extensions, which can then be braided, twisted, curled, or left straight depending on your preference. To care for your crochet braids after installation, follow these tips:

Tip 1: Moisturise

Apply a lightweight scalp oil to moisturise and hydrate your scalp, keeping it healthy and fortified with natural minerals.

Tip 2: Keep natural hair braids clean

If you opted for human hair extensions for your crochet braids, wash them gently with a sulphate-free shampoo weekly.

Tip 3: Remove and replace

Don’t keep the same crochet braids for longer than eight weeks. Book a new appointment or remove them yourself at home. You can always get a fresh set straight after. 

16. Goddess braids

This stunning braided hairstyle combines cornrows of different sizes often woven together in complex patterns and interspersed with loose curls and waves. 

Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, this braided look was rocked by celebrities from Beyonce to Brandy, and it’s now making a comeback amongst women with afro hair thanks to its gorgeous boho look, protective nature, and social media popularity. Goddess braids are one of the most intricate braiding styles you can choose, so you can be sure they’ll always steal the spotlight, wherever you go.

Here are some tips to help you decide if goddess braids at the braids for you:

Tip 1: Opt for human hair extensions

Synthetic hair extensions offer a more budget-friendly price point for goddess braid installation, but they are much more prone to tangling – something we want to avoid for this intricate style. Human hair will give you longer-lasting goddess braids.

Tip 2: Don’t rush things

Your goddess braid installation appointment could take seven hours or more, even with more than one braider working at the same time. Trust the process. Quality goddess braids require a long washing, drying, moisturising and braiding process.

Tip 3: Pay attention to maintenance

While gorgeous, goddess braids are a knotless style which means they need a little more upkeep than other braided styles. Invest in high-quality scalp serums, a diffuser like the CLOUD NINE Airshot Diffuser, and a silk pillowcase so you can wake up with fresh, frizz-less goddess braids.

17. Fulani braids

Seen on the likes of Rhianna and other red carpet starlets, Fulani braids are a seriously stylish look, usually made up of cornrows in the front and box braids at the back. With roots in West African culture, Fulani braids have been adopted and embraced by those with 4c hair around the globe. 

This long, thick style can either be worn flowing freely down the back or brought up into a ponytail or bun for versatility. Ornaments are common with this braiding style – beads, shells and metallic accents are all common both in history and today. Before committing to Fulani braids as your next style, consider our tips:

Tip 1: Moisturise to protect

With Fulani-style braids, you can go longer periods without washing your hair, but make sure to give it the appropriate care between washes. This includes using leave-in conditioners to keep dryness at bay.

Tip 2: Wrap before you nap

Every night before bed, wrap your Fulani braids in a silk scarf or bonnet. This prevents friction and moisture-loss which can lead to frizz, dryness and breakage.

Tip 3: Take a break

Wearing your hair braided over long periods can put extra pressure on your scalp, however well you care for it. Wearing braided styles like Fulani braids constantly, without breaks in between can create unnecessary breakage and hair loss. Once your Fulani braids reach the end of their lifespan, consider taking a break and going au naturale.

BRAIDED UPDOS

18. Milkmaid braids

Milkmaid braids are one of the cutest braid styles. This classic crown style embodies hippie chic with its wispy strands and soft, loose shape. Whether you’re headed to a red carpet-event or just popping out for coffee, milkmaid braids add a touch of whimsy to your look and are very easy to style. Make this look work for you with the following steps:

Step 1: Prep your hair: The beauty of this look is that your hair doesn’t have to be freshly washed to perfect it. Simple brush through and part down the middle.

Step 2: Braid: Split all of your hair into two equal sections. Split each of these into three and braid them into two simple three-strand plaits that trail from the nap of your neck. Secure each with a hair elastic.

Step 3: Wrap: Pick up one plait in each hand and wrap them over the front of your head, just above the hairline, crossing over each other.

Step 4: Secure: Tuck the end of each plait into the base of the opposite plait, concealing the hair elastic. Secure with bobby pins and pull out a few wispy strands of hair to frame your face.

19. Braid bun 

A cute up-do that looks as flawless at a wedding as it does on a casual Sunday, the braid bun is a style that delivers plenty of wow factor, with very little effort. If you know how to do a simple braid, and you know how to put your hair into a bun, this style is well within your abilities.

Step 1: Prep your hair: As with any braided hairstyle, it’s important to detangle the hair before styling. This style works well a few days after hair-wash day, so don’t worry about having freshly washed hair.

Step 2: Section your hair: Separate a section of the front of your hair away from the rest. This will be used for your braid. You may want to temporarily secure the bigger section of your hair out of the way with a CLOUD NINE Croc Clip for the next part.

Step 3: Begin your braid: Split the smaller section of hair into three equal strands, and begin braiding this into a loose standard plait from the front to the back of your head. Continue until you reach the ends of your hair, and secure with a small, discreet hair tie.

Step 4: Perfect your bun: Release the larger section of your hair from the clip, and brush it back into a low ponytail, being careful not to snag your braid. Secure with a hair tie at the nape of your neck.

Step 5: The finishing touches: Twist and wrap your ponytail around itself to form a bun, then secure it with another hair tie. Wrap your braid from earlier around your bun and secure it discreetly with hair pins, concealing the hair ties.

20. Afro updo with braids

Looking for a stylish updo for your afro or 4c hair? Look no further. This braided look is perfect for any event, or just for casual wear. The delicately woven braids contrast with the bouncy curls on top, giving a gorgeous effect that you can achieve either by yourself or with the help of a professional stylist. Try it with these steps:

Step 1: Prep your hair: Start with clean, dry hair that is deeply conditioned.

Step 2: Divide your hair: Part your hair down the middle, and split each side into two equal sections. 

Step 3: Braid: Plait each of the four sections into a French braid or cornrow and secure all at the crown of your head with small hair elastics.

Step 3: Secure: Bring all of the tails of your braids together into one hand. Secure into a high ponytail. Leave your spiralling curls to spill over your head.

21. Braided half up-do

Deciding whether to wear your hair up or down can be harder than it sounds. When you just can’t choose, go for a half-up, half-down braided look. While it may take a little time to perfect, the results are worth the effort. This style looks just as at home on the beach as it does at a formal event.

Step 1: Prep your hair: Brush your hair and spritz with CLOUD NINE Magical Potion for heat protection.

Step 2: Curl your hair: Style your hair into loose curls or waves using the CLOUD NINE Curling Wand.

Step 3: Braid the front: Separate a few small sections of hair at both sides of the front of your head. These will be used to create your braids. Separate these into six strands at each side and braid them into two plaits each. Fasten these with clear hair elastics.

Step 4: Weave them together: Pull all the braids to the back of your head and weave them around each other. Tuck in the ends to hide the hair elastics and use hair pins to secure them.

BRAIDS FOR MEN

22. Braided man bun

The classic man bun look is great, but sometimes you just want something a little different. This braided man bun adds some flair and style, plus, it looks great with shaved sides. Love wearing your hair long on top but find it gets in the way when you’re working or playing sports? This style could be ideal for you. Achieve it in the following steps:

Step 1: Detangle: Brush through your hair to make sure it is free from tangles before styling.

Step 2: Part and split: Part your hair evenly down the middle with a comb. Take one side and split it into three equal sections.

Step 3: Braid 1: Start Dutch braiding as per the instructions from hairstyle 2 in this list, taking turns to weave each outside strand under the rest and into the middle, adding new hair each time.

Step 4: Secure: When you reach the crown of your head, stop braiding and secure your braid temporarily with a hair clip or elastic.

Step 5: Braid 2: Repeat the process for the other side of your head. Attach your two braids together at the crown of your head with a hair elastic. 

Step 6: Bun: Twist the ends into a bun and section with another hair elastic.

23. Men’s cornrows

Cornrows look just as good on men’s afro hair as they do on women. Go as simple or as intricate as you like with this super adaptable, versatile braiding style. Opt for larger, spaced-out cornrows, or try tiny, ones woven into detailed patterns. We recommend getting your cornrows installed professionally but don’t forget the following tips before and after your appointment so your cornrow style can last as long as possible.

Tip 1: Fight dryness

Keep up a good routine of moisturising your scalp and braids with a lightweight oil once every few days.

Tip 2: Care while you sleep

Use a silk hair wrap, bandana or pillow case while you sleep to prevent friction that can lead to frizz.

Tip 3: Keep things clean

Wash your hair once every seven to ten days with a gentle sulphate-free shampoo. Use squeezing motions, rather than rubbing.

24. Men’s box braids

Box braids aren’t just for women. Try a shorter version of this classic look for a more masculine take. For special occasions, try accessorising your box braids with beads or hair rings. When your professional braider has finished your box braids, you might have a few questions about upkeep and maintenance. These tips have the answers:

Tip 1: Put some time aside

Be prepared to sit for four to eight hours in the salon to have your box braids professionally installed.

Tip 2: Commit to maintenance

Do your research and form a strong routine to keep your braids clean and moisturised so they stay healthy and frizz-free.

Tip 3: Don’t keep them too long

Get your box braids removed after six to eight weeks to keep your hair healthy and avoid breakage that can lead to having to cut your hair short.

25. Men’s double Dutch braids

Dutch braids are another style that looks just as stylish on men. Double the look by opting for two braids instead of one. Either wear them straight down the back of your head or braid around the sides of your head and let them hang down the back. 

Because of the technique used to do a Dutch braid – gathering new pieces of hair as your braid - your hair doesn’t need to be that long to achieve this look. Pair with shaved sides for an edgier result.

To rock double Dutch braids, follow these steps:

Step 1: Separate the hair that you want to include in your braids into two even sections. Secure one side with a clip or hair elastic to keep it out of the way while you braid the other side.

Step 2: Following the Dutch braid instructions from Hairstyle 2, split the first section into three strands of equal thickness, and weave each outside strand under and into the middle, grabbing new hair as you go.

Step 3: When you run out of new hair to incorporate, continue the braid as a standard plait until you reach the end of your hair. Secure with a hair elastic.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other side of your hair.

BRAIDING STYLES: FAQs

Where did braids originate?

Braids have origins spanning diverse cultures worldwide, from Africa to Native American tribes. They served practical and cultural purposes, ranging from identity markers to social status indicators. Today, braids are a universal hairstyle, and basically anything goes when it comes to choosing the style that works for you – from appearance preferences to practical considerations like upkeep and activities.

Can white people get braids?

Yes, white people can get braids. While cultural appropriation concerns exist, people of any ethnicity can wear braids. We’d recommend being mindful of the historical and cultural significance behind the braids you select.

How long do braids last?

Braids can last anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on factors like hair type, braid size, and how well they are cared for. Proper care can extend the lifespan of your braids and keep them looking as fresh as the day you had them installed.

How do you wash braids?

To wash braids:

Step 1: Dilute shampoo with water.

Step 2: Apply to the scalp.

Step 3: Gently massage. 

Step 4: Rinse with water, avoiding excessive manipulation. 

Step 5: Follow with a light conditioner, focusing on the lengths. 

Step 6: Pat dry with a towel, avoiding rubbing to prevent frizz.

Do braids cause breakage?

When done correctly and maintained well, braids can actually protect hair and promote growth by minimising manipulation and friction. It’s possible for braids to cause damage to hair strands if they aren’t put in properly, made too tight or left in too long. If you plan to wear your hair in braids often, build a strong relationship with a professional hair braiding stylist. They will get to know your hair over time and can offer helpful tips to care for your hair both in and out of braids.