Braid hairstyles have always been classic. You have probably worn braids since you were a little girl. However, braids have gotten grown up. There are hundreds of ways to create a braid. You can weave the traditional three-strand braid, a four-strand braid, a fishtail or a waterfall braid. Check out this braid glossary to get your braid technique down pat before trying the 40 top braid hairstyles pictured below.
The French braid of your youth is grown up with a carefree technique and escaping strays. Don't worry about pulling it too tight or keeping the ends of your layers tidy. Let shorter hairs poke out of the braid. If everything still looks too put together after you've finished weaving, tug on each section of braid as though you're pulling it apart. You can even pull out some tendrils to frame your face. Pair this look with some long earrings for a laid-back style.
Prevent this style from looking like Heidi by keeping the braids messy. Divide your hair into two sections. Beginning toward the forehead, create a three-strand braid on each side of the head. Wrap each braid behind the head, and tuck the ends under the front of the braid. Add a narrow headband for a little added bling.
Get long hair off your nape on a hot day by braiding it into a crown. Pull on the edges of the braid to make it look thicker. The trick to this braid is to make it by touch. Don't even look in the mirror.
Start by creating a deep side part. The part should sit above the arch of your eyebrow.
Begin inverse French braiding the section that sweeps across the forehead, following it around your head, picking up one-inch pieces of hair as you go. You'll have to reposition your hands as you move around to the back and other side of your head.
As you run out of sections to pick up, continue braiding to the end of your hair. Wrap that braid around your head, pinning as necessary. Tuck the ends under the braid and pin.
Add pencil-thin, colorful extensions to a fishtail braid for a boho look that takes things to the next level. The key to this style is letting your hair fall out of the braid. Don't create a braid that's too tidy. You want lots of long layers flowing around your face to blend in with the feather extensions.
Little braids get a Game of Thrones feel with metal accents. Create braids of different thicknesses, and wrap the tiny ones around the big ones. Add metal beads here and there before securing the braids. Give this style an extra edge with strong red color.
You don't have to braid all of your hair to rock this style. Choose a chunky section to braid, or create random plaits throughout your head. You can even create some that only peek out from the inner layers of your hair.
This braid looks beautiful from above. The top half of the hair is woven into a loose reverse French braid and secured in a bun at the crown.
Instead of the traditional braid, add unique flair with a different technique. Knot sections of hair instead of weaving them. Play up the texture with icy blue dye. The blue looks great paired with a blond mane, ash brown color or hair that's already gone gray. Have it painted in for a blended effect that continues to look great as it grows out.
Neon color, a perfectly layered bob, and a tiny braid complement each other well. Even if you have short hair, you can gather the back or side into a small braid. This is a youthful look with an edge. You won't look too young if you keep the bangs super heavy. Have the ends of your hair razored for added texture and rock-star appeal.
Diagonal Feather Waterfall
Cut through a straight style with a braid that's easier to create than it looks. It adds a focal point while letting the length flow. To create this braid, part your hair on the side. Begin the braid just above the part. As you move back, weave the braid so that it falls diagonally behind your head, pulling back pieces from the front. Secure the end with a rubber band.
Messy Braided Updo
This inverted French braid gets its softness from tons of volume at the crown. Before creating the braid, blow out your hair while holding your head upside down. Lift up the back section of your hair and tease it to get height at the crown.
Then, gently pull back the top and side sections. Don't pull too tight. Gently weave it into an inverse French braid, extending the braid to the ends. Tuck the end of the braid underneath and push it into the hair you've already braided. Pin the ends under the braid to secure them.
Braided Side Bun
The messy bun is a huge trend right now. Transforming a braid into a bun is one way to add interest.
Make a low ponytail toward one side of your head. Separate the ponytail into three sections. Braid one of those sections into a messy fishtail. Pull out a lot of strands here and there.
Then, wind the braided and loose sections around the base of the ponytail one at a time. Leave a lot of loose ends, and pin it here and there.
This bun looks best when it's really messy. If you have highlights or ombre ends, this is a great style to bring out your color.
Braids are a wonderful way to keep your hair from flying into your eyes at the beach. They look amazing whether your hair is wet or dry. After you've gone swimming, let your braids air dry and unwind them for the perfect mermaid hairstyle.
Buns and Bling
This style has it all. Tiny French braids that flank a center part end in sweet buns at the crown. The rest of the hair flows freely. A glimmering band adorns the top of the head. This is a great braided style to wear even if you have short hair.
Smoky Blond Braid Bun
The smoky tone of this hairstyle is emphasized by the inverse French braids on each side. If you have dark roots, your lighter ends will stand out in each braid. Braid the sides loosely, converging them in a messy bun at the nape of your neck.
Big To Small
This style has a little bit of everything. A large French braid is framed by smaller bohemian braids that start at the front and meet in the center of the back of the head. Below that, long hair flows loosely to the center of your back.
Create smaller braids from the front of your head, and bring them together in one big braid in the back. Let most of your hair tumble in natural waves down your back. An ethereal color, such as silver, makes this style look even more magical.
Faux Braid With Halo
Make three braids on each side of your head, and bring them together in the back to create this style. Instead of braiding those plaits together, however, make a big faux braid. Secure loose strands every 2-3 inches with a rubber band. Between each band, pull the hair out to make large loops.
Tiny French Fauxhawk
Start making tiny French braids that start at your ear and travel upwards. /When you get to the top of your head, tease the end of each braid to secure it, and leave the ends of your hair long and loose. This creates an instant fauxhauwk with lots of height.
Unstructured Mermaid Braid
If you have long, loose hair, you don't need to brush it to get this great look. Keep the waves natural, and make a messy braid that starts underneath the outer layer and goes from the front of your head, along the side and down the length.
The Prettiest Mess
It doesn't really matter what you do with this style. Pile your hair on top of your head, pinning it wherever you want. You can even knot and tease it to get it to stay in place. Braid a section on either side of the front of the head, bringing them back and under the updo.
Faux Long Pony
Get the look of a super long ponytail by tying up the top section of hair just above the nape, letting the layer underneath extend down. Leave a large section at the front out of the ponytail. Braid it loosely, pinning it back underneath all of your hair at the nape.
Create an elegant but unfussy look by braiding a few sections of hair, weaving in a strand of pearls as you go. Pull the braids back into a ponytail. Wrap the elastic with a strand of hair for a natural look.
Do you have trouble securing small braids at the back of your head? Cross the braids in back. Secure then with three pins placed in the shape of a triangle.
A basic waterfall braid is pretty when it surrounds the top of the head like a halo. Blended highlights bring out the woven texture.
Instead of braiding a crown around your head, what if your braids become the headband that holds your hair back? This is a perfect way to pull bangs off your face. Just work them into the braids.
You can create a braided look just by twisting two strands. Pull them around your head like a crown, and pin the ends where the twists cross.
You don't have to braid all your hair for a beautiful woven look. Create a Celtic knot out of two strands for a built-in hair accessory.
This braid travels around and around to turn your head into a floral work of art.
Inverse French Side Braid
Make a French braid go from one ear to the other. Add interest by creating an inverse braid. Secure the end by wrapping it into a bun behind the ear.
Dark hair gets a kick with braids wrapped around the crown. Purple balayage ends create a fairy-like feel.
French Braid Ponytail
A single French braid goes from the forehead to a high ponytail. Wrap the braid around the ponytail elastic for a polished finish.
Simple Side Braid
Pull all your hair to the side and loosely weave it for a simple way to wear a braid. You can add a small braid around the crown for added interest.
Who said pigtails couldn't make you look tough? Pull the inverted French braids tight as you go for a tidy but edgy look.
Dutch 5-Strand Braid
This thick braid looks like a woven basket. It takes the French braid a few steps beyond traditional.
Add a delicate touch to your hair by weaving a garland with tiny flowers through your braid.
Thick Elsa Braid
A thick braid is actually created by making twisted ponytails down the length of the hair. This is perfect for women who can never seem to achieve that long, lush length with a traditional braiding method.
When your hair is beautifully highlighted with vivid colors, show them off by weaving them into a braided updo.
Side Stacked Braid
This stacked braid is beautifully designed. It makes your hair look thicker and gives a polished style without being too fussy.
Side Rows And Volume
Keep hair away with your face with cornrows on the side. Let most of your length flow. Create huge curls for a contrasting effect.
Don't think you can't wear braids just because you have short hair. There are plenty of braid hairstyles for short hair. Braids are even popping up as a surprising new men's hair trend. If you find your hair too slippery to work with, spray it with a dry shampoo before creating the braids.