39 Of The Top Braid Hairstyles

Published By Brooke
Updated 11-25-2023

Braid hairstyles have always been classic. You have probably worn braided styles 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 simple three-strand braid, a four-strand braid, a fishtail braid, a Dutch braid, a French braid, box braids, crown braids, milkmaid braids, cornrow braids, rope twisted braids, halo braids, tribal braids, ladder braids, feather braids, jumbo braids, or a waterfall braid.

Check out this braid styles glossary to get your braiding technique down pat before trying the 40 top braided hairstyles pictured below.

History & Origins of Braids

The origin of braid style is traced back to the distant 3500 BC in Africa, which means the basic braiding pattern is as old as about 5000 years old. Initially meant for Afro-textured hair, this protective style was incredibly popular among the Himba women, who lived in the territory of present-day Namibia.

Across the African continent, different braiding techniques were used to differentiate tribes, age, religion, wealth, and marital status – besides serving the practical goal of taming that unruly textured hair, braids styles also had a significant cultural mission.

Since creating different types of braids took a lot of time, it was also an opportunity to socialize in the process: the elderly taught kids, and kids were practicing on their peers. Eventually, the tradition was formed and spread worldwide for women, children, and even men.

Different Types of Braids

These days it’s hardly possible to say the exact number of different types of braids that exist. Moreover, people get more and more creative in coming up with new different braid styles types every now and then, so this list is not full:

  • Simple three-strand braid
  • Four and five-strand braid
  • French braid
  • Dutch braid
  • Reverse braid
  • Ladder braid
  • Rope braid or rope-twisted braid
  • Waterfall braid
  • Crown braid
  • Fishtail braid
  • Lace braid
  • Halo braid
  • Milkmaid braid
  • Pull-through braid
  • Jumbo box braids
  • Crochet braids
  • Tribal braids
  • Cornrow braids

Tips to Prepare Your Natural Hair for Braids

Different types of braids are a perfect protective style for any hair texture, but to get the maximum out of any braid style so that your natural hair is well-protected, and the braid is long-lasting and beautiful, you’d better follow these simple steps:

  • Don’t braid dirty hair: properly shampoo any built-up dirt, grease, and oil from your scalp and hair.
  • Deep condition your natural hair or even use a good moisturizing mask.
  • Get rid of split ends and knots in your textured hair so that you get neat and smooth knotless braids that last long.
  • As an extra point for a perfect goddess braids finish would be to apply a leave-in conditioner before you braid hair.

Messy French

Messy French


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.

Wrapped braids



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.

Thick Halo



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.

Feather Extensions

Feather Extensions


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.

Viking Braids



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.

Rapunzel Boho



This relaxed Dutch braid interpretation 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. Bobby pins will keep that voluminous full braided bun in place, making the hairdo super versatile, comfortable to wear, and neat even though you keep most of your hair loose.

Knotted Blue

Knotted Blue


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.

Bright Pink

Bright Pink


Neon color, long straight hair (or extra strands of synthetic hair for length), and neat cornrows braiding technique that grows into a multiple goddess braids protective style complement each other well. Even if you have short hair, you can get this iconic straight-back braids look.

This is a youthful hairstyle with an edge. You won’t look too childish if you keep your reverse braid cornrows hairdo bright pink. As an option, you can cheat by using pink-colored hair extensions in your braids – thus, you can experiment with your hairstyle without actually making any drastic changes to your hair.

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.

Beach Braids



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. This carefree two-braids beach hair solution mixes fishtail braids and Dutch braids in one style: unique, comfortable, and cool.

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. Trendier than milkmaid braids, more authentic than waterfall braids, easy to do, and open for interpretations.

Smoky Blond Braid Bun

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 crown braid. Braid the sides loosely, converging them in a messy bun at the nape of your neck with bobby pins. This braiding technique is perfect for straight hair.

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 in a kind of rope-twisted braid at the back of the head. Below that, long hair flows loosely to the center of your back.

The perfect finish will be achieved if that rope braid blends in naturally with the messy texture of natural hair, and no hair elastic is used to secure the braid.

Mermaid Braid



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

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 hair elastic. Between each band, pull the hair out to make large loops.

Tiny French Fauxhawk

Tiny French Fauxhawk


Start making tiny reverse French braids that start at the forehead and travel back to the ear level. 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. Different hair gems and beads will turn a regular braid into a unique personalized style.

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. All types of braids to your liking will work magic in braided hairstyles like this.

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. Leave a couple of strands in the front right under the crown braid to flatter your face.

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, tie it with a hair elastic, and pin it back underneath all of your hair at the nape.

Pretty Pearls



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 hair elastic with a strand of hair for a natural look.

Triangle Pins



Do you have trouble securing small braids at the back of your head? Cross the braids in back. Secure them with three bobby pins placed in the shape of a triangle. Enjoy your super simple but super authentic half-up crown braid hairdo for any hair type.

Waterfall Crown

Waterfall Crown


A basic waterfall braid is pretty when it surrounds the top of the head like a halo. Blended highlights bring out the woven texture of waterfall braids and those relaxed waves.

Braided Headband



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 a combo of several Dutch braids or rope braids.

Two-Strand Twist



You can create a braided look just by twisting two strands on top of your natural hair growth. Pull them around your head like a crown, and pin the ends where the twists of lace braids cross.

Celtic Knot

Celtic Knot


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. Light brown ombre with black hair roots is gonna deepen and enhance the visual effect.

Rosette Braid



This regular braid travels around and around to turn your head into a floral work of art. Make sure you use tiny bobby pins so that they don't stick out and don’t ruin the tenderness of this romantic braided hairdo.

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.

Purple Paradise



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.

Fierce Pigtails



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

Dutch 5-Strand Braid


This thick braid looks like a woven basket. It takes the French braid a few steps beyond traditional.

Spring Bling



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.

Multicolored Ends



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

Side Rows And Volume@danielequintinopenteados

Keep hair away with your face with cornrows on the side. Let most of your length flow. Create huge curls for a contrasting effect.


What braids are most popular?

It is micro braids and box braids with hair extensions that are on top of the most popular protective style options for natural hair. If talking about not-so-long-lasting types of braids, it’s a waterfall braid combined with loose hair, fishtail braids, and French braids in various interpretations.

How many different types of braids are there?

The number is countless. Here is just a part of the different types of braids list: a Dutch braid, a French braid, a fishtail braid, a rope braid, a waterfall braid, a crown braid, a lace braid style, a halo braid, a reverse braid, a ladder braid, a three-strands braid, an infinity braid, a pull-through braid, a milkmaid braid, long tribal braids, tree braids, twist braids, bob braids, knotless braids, cornrow braids, micro braids, box braids, and this is not the end of the list.

What is the hardest type of braid?

The Dutch braid is one of the hardest-to-perform types of braids. It’s similar to French braid but instead of crossing the strands over, they are crossed under. Fishtail braid is also among the confusing types of braids.
If talking about braided hairstyles rather than about braiding techniques, we’d say that a braided bun is one of the difficult ones.

Which braids last the longest?

The smaller the braids, the longer they last. Thus, narrow braids, tiny braids, micro braids, and box braids are much more durable than classic three-strands one or two-braids styles or other thick braids variations.

Bottom Line

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.

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