The tradition of braiding your hair dates back nearly 5,000 years and has roots in many different cultures. In old times braids were both functional, and sometimes used as a status symbol in tribes around the globe.
Today, the art of braiding is taken to new heights. With inspiration on the internet, including easy to access how-to videos on social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, it's easier than ever to create beautiful, intricate braided designs.
Here we showcase 30 ways to braid your hair that range from simple to complex to give you a few ideas just in time for summer.
Double Braids with a Bun
This gorgeous up-do is perfect when you're heading to the great outdoors in the hot summer months. The double french braids will hold in any medium to long length hair, and the bun is an easy twist. You can make your braid big and chunky like in the photo, or opt for a tighter look depending on the thickness of your hair.
Half Up Fishtail Braid
The fishtail braid is surprisingly easy to do even though it looks incredibly intricate. To get this half up style, start by drying your hair and curling it in loose waves with a large-barrel curling iron. You can choose to leave out a few pieces in front to frame your face like the model has in the photo, or you can pull it all back for a sleeker look that gets your hair off your face.
Mohawk French Braid with a Bun
This is another surprisingly easy braided style with gorgeous results. You can start by styling your hair in loose waves, or simply leave your lower layers natural. Taking the top half of your hair, french braid your layers back and secure at the crown of your head with an elastic. Then, take the remaining length of your braided hair and twist it around your hair tie, pinning it into a bun as you go. This look is designed to be carefree, so looser and messier it is, the better.
French Braid Pigtails
This pretty twist on the pigtail french braid is a chic way to sport a favorite childhood look. Start by applying a light hair oil and some styling product to your tresses to give them hold and shine. Part your hair down the middle, and braid each section from the top down to the nape of your neck. Secure each side with a hair tie. Next, separate out a few stands of unbraided hair and use it to wrap around your elastic. Secure it with a bobby pin to finish the style.
Mohawk French Braid with a High-Volume Pony Tail
If you love the idea of having big, voluminous hair and also want to incorporate a funky braid into your style, this one is for you. Use a volumizing styling product and blow out your hair with a large, round brush to create lots of lift. Next, braid your hair in a chunky french braid style and secure it at the very top of your crown. Cover your elastic by wrapping and pinning your hair, and tease your ponytail up to create ultimate lift.
Wrap Around Crown Braid
The crown braid is the perfect solution to make any girl feel like a princess. The whimsical style can be done a variety of ways, and all it requires is two braids and a few bobby pins. Be sure to design the rest of your hair in soft curls or waves to make this romantic look really pop.
Simple Fishtail Braid
The fishtail braid is a great casual style for everyday wear. Pull your hair back and throw on a ball cap to hit the game, the gym, or head outdoors for a picnic or festival.
Fishtail Side Braid
This twist on the classic fishtail brings the braid to the side and adds some pretty twisted curls up front to make this braid look more elegant and refined. All you'll need is two hair ties, a few pins, and a good styling product so that your look holds all night long.
Double Dutch Braids
Dutch braids look lovely, and they are just as easy to do as a French Braid. The only difference is, instead of taking sections of hair and pulling them over like you do in a French Braid, if you use the Dutch technique you'll pull them under other strands. Here the stylist has doubled up on the braid, working with six pieces instead of three to create this intricate and beautiful up-do.
Bohemian Braided Up-do
This soft and sassy braided look is perfect for anything from a wedding to prom. The loose waves that fall around your face and neck have a very bohemian feel, while the beautiful braid is held securely in place to give you a style that will let you dance all night long.
French Braided Pigtails
Tightly braided French pigtails that run the entire length of your hair are an excellent choice for athletes, or anyone looking for a very secure style. The French braid will hold all of your hair securely in place, even layers, and bangs, making it the perfect choice if you're heading to the gym, the pool, or out for a swim in the ocean. It will keep you from getting tangles in your locks and looks great at the same time. Just don't forget to apply sunscreen to your part if you're going to be outdoors.
Dutch Side Braid
This chunky Dutch side braid starts by creating a deep part and sweeping most of your hair up and over to the side. Create lots of volume up front and in the top before securing your strands in this easy to weave style.
Reverse Braided Bun
In the hot summer months sometimes you just want to get your hair up off your neck, but you don't want to sacrifice style to do it. With this easy reverse braided bun, you can have the best of both worlds. Start by flipping your head upside down and begin your braid at the nape of your neck. When you reach the crown of your head, tie it off with an elastic. Then, take the remaining length of your unbraided locks and twist them around your hair tie securing with pins as you go. You can make your chignon tight, or leave it a bit loose and messy for a more boho feel.
Simple Bang Braid
Growing out your bangs is on most everyone's list of not fun things to do. This simple braid that incorporates the pieces of your long and unruly bangs can be the perfect solution.
Fishtail Crown Braid
The fishtail crown braid is a fun way to spice up the traditional crown braid with a lovely twist. Start by drying and styling your hair. In the photo, the model has opted for sleek, straight locks but you could do this look with waves or loose curls too. Next, section off two pieces of hair on either side of your head at your temples and use the fishtail braiding technique on their length. Finally, wrap the braids around your crown and secure them with bobby pins to score this perfect design.
Mermaid French Braid
This modern take on the traditional French braid has the feel of someone who has spent a carefree day in the ocean. Also known as the mermaid braid, the loose and slightly messy french braid style is ideal for anyone with long hair. If you want to achieve the look but have shorter tresses, you can add clip-in extensions to get the volume and length without having to wait months for your hair to grow.
Triple Flower Braids
These whimsical flower crown braids are the perfect addition to any outfit. They look complicated, but are actually simple to do, and will give your wedding or prom style an extra level of visual interest. All you'll need are three hair ties and several bobby pins and a little bit of time to get the blooms just right.
Crisscross Pigtail Braids
These sweet braids are perfect for little girls and grown-ups alike. If you're doing them on your little one for picture day or a special occasion, secure the ends of the simple, traditional braids with an elastic and then add a bow that matches her outfit for an extra dose of cuteness.
Funky One Side Braid
Braids are so hot right now you see them everywhere, including all over the red carpets on Hollywood Stars. Here, Cara Delevingne sports a funky side braid that's tight and close to her head to add a little bit of fun to her otherwise sleek runway style.
Classic French Braid
The classic French braid may be one of the most simple ways to weave your hair, but it's also one of the most elegant. It's an excellent choice if you have lots of layers or bangs as it pulls sections into the style as you go, securing them tightly and preventing them from slipping loose. In this photo, the model opts for a loose style leaving a few pieces free around her face and takes the braid straight down her back for a touch of classic beauty.
Waterfall French Braid
The waterfall technique takes a traditional French braid around your crown and holds the hair securely in place without needing to use any pins. To get this beautiful look, style your hair before you braid using a medium-barreled curling iron for perfect waves. Be sure to spray with a styling product when you're done to give your tresses hold and volume.
Hollywood has long been known for setting trends, and when the Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013, the "Elsa Braid" was born. The chunky twist on a traditional Dutch braid, the Elsa braid starts on one side of the head and goes around your face to then fall over one shoulder. This style is so beautiful it can be worn with your Halloween costume, or literally any other day of the year.
This intricate braided flower is a beautiful example of an up-do for a special occasion like prom or a wedding. This isn't a do-it-yourself style, but a good stylist will be able to recreate the look with a little time and a lot of bobby pins.
Katniss French Braid
Another braid that's straight out of the movies is the Katniss French braid. The main character in the Hunger Games trilogy of films, Katniss Everdeen, is known for her trademark braid from her hometown of District 12. While we might not actually be living in a post-apocalyptic society, you can still score this look without needing to resort to violence.
High Volume Braids
One way to spice up your style is to use braids to create a dramatic look that's totally out of the ordinary. You can flip the direction of your braids like the model did here and start at the base of your hairline and braid up for an effect that's full of volume and drama.
Quad Braided Ponytail
If you like the french braided mohawk, this is an intricate twist on the design. This is the perfect solution if you have short bangs or lots of layers up front and need your hair to be extra secure. This style does take some time to do, but if you do it right, you get a gorgeous, intricate design that will stay put all day and into the night.
Braided Crown Up-Do
This milkmaid-inspired hairstyle is equal parts quirky and sexy and an excellent choice if you want a simple up-do. All you'll need to do is create two pigtail braids that wrap up and over around the crown of your head. Secure them with bobby pins and voila, instant cuteness.
Spiral Lace Braid
This twisted style takes a traditional ponytail up about ten notches. You don't have to have uber long locks to pull off this look, but you will need an extra set of hands to get it right. This isn't a look that you could easily do for yourself.
Cross Over Micro Braids
Another sweet and sassy option, these crossover micro braids use a tradition three strand braiding technique and then weave them into an attractive design that creates a visual masterpiece. Here, the model tops the look with a large bun. If you have shorter hair, you could also pair these with a messy knot or a traditional ponytail.
Double French Braid Bun
This easy addition to pigtail French braids creates a whole new look that's both elegant and classic. To do it, simply take your two french braided pigtails and twist them around one another, pinning as you go into a perfect bun. Instant glamor achieved.
There's no such thing as the perfect braid. In fact, some styles require that you leave your locks a little messy and free to get the right effect. However, it is important no matter which you choose that you use a high-quality styling product to give you hold and dimension so that your braid stays put and looks great all day long.