Braids are a common go-to for anyone with long hair. They keep your hair pulled back when you need it out of your face but still make it look pretty and feminine in an intricate weave. It’s no surprise that it’s a fan favorite when it comes to everyday hairstyles.
It’s also a versatile style for any age. Young girls who play sports wear them as much as edgy women in their twenties and thirties who want to sport a bold, dramatic look.
Whether you have fine, delicate hair that you love to put in pigtail braids or coarse, kinky curls that you keep in protective braids and locks for weeks at a time, there’s a braid style that’s suitable for you. Here are 22 different types of braids you may want to try for yourself.
The Three-Strand Braid
This is the simplest braid you can do—just one single braid down your back. The easiest way to do that is with three locks of hair that you weave into each other in alternating motions. Tie it securely with an elastic band, and you’re ready.
Box Braids a la Zendaya
Some braids are a bit more permanent than others, such as protective styles like box braids. These braids are installed into the hair in box-shaped sections, creating little squares on your scalp. It’s an awesome way to protect thick, coarse hair while making a bold statement with your long locks.
These braids are quite similar to box braids, but the biggest difference is that they don’t start with a tight knot at the roots. By keeping the braid loose at the very top, you can prevent traction alopecia or hair loss from too much tension on the scalp.
This is another protective style that involves creating beautiful patterns on the scalp as the braids are woven and installed, like spirals and abstract shapes. People with tribal braids also sometimes incorporate beads and shells into their hair as an homage to African culture.
If you’re intimidated by how intricate and detailed the weaving techniques for most braid styles are, you may want to try a super easy one out first, like bubble braids.
You don’t technically have to weave your locks together for this one. Just tie your hair with ponytails an inch or so apart from each other to create the illusion of bubbles that form into a “braid.” This is a trendy braid type that people are going gaga over on social media!
Lemonade braids are long, side-swept braids that drape across one shoulder in a glamorous way. It was named after Beyonce’s 2016 album Lemonade, where she appears in multiple music videos and materials with this hairstyle. This look is stunning on any strong, independent black woman!
French braids are some of the most common braids you’ll see out there. It’s very similar to the three-strand braid in terms of technique, but a French braid is attached to the head instead of free-flowing. Three strands are weaved together from the crown of the head, and you’re supposed to grab a little bit of hair as you go to keep it attached to your head.
Dutch Braid a la Kim Kardashian
This braid has a lot in common with French braids. They’re also attached to the head instead of freely flowing, but instead of weaving the three strands on top of each other, like in French braids, a Dutch braid requires you to cross them from underneath. The Dutch braid is sometimes referred to as the “reverse French braid” because of that.
Cornrows are very common among African men and women because of their stylish looks. These braids are installed close to the scalp to create a series of vertical lines—or “rows”—that go from the crown of the head to the nape before being long and flowy at the back.
Twists are a type of braid you can go for if you’re interested in getting dreadlocks but don’t want to commit to them just yet. The technique to get these braids is literally twisting two thick locks of hair together like a rope. This creates thick, sturdy “braids” that serve as a protective style as well.
In this braid style, you use the crochet method to loosely add wavy hair extensions into existing braids. This creates more texture in the hair, adding bits and pieces that replicate the look of butterfly wings in your hair, hence the name “butterfly braids.”
These girl-next-door braids were all the rage a few years ago on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, and for a good reason. Fishtail braids require you to work with two thick sections where you grab a little bit of hair from each side to bring to the other and vice versa again and again until you complete the braid. The result is beautiful and intricate, but it takes a while to master.
The rope braid is similar to twists but done in only one long braid instead of multiple braids. Even beginners can do this with no problem! Simply divide your hair into two and twist them in the same direction over and over again.
Braids look great on long hair, but they look super chic and fashionable on a shoulder-length bob as well. Try sporting braids when your hair is this length for a touch of cosmopolitan sophistication.
Side Braids a la Simone Ashley
Show off your long braid from the front view by laying them sideways over your shoulder. Instead of doing a braid straight down, make sure it falls to the side, so it naturally lays towards your front rather than down the back. This look gives major Rapunzel vibes since you’ll be showing off your length!
A lace braid is a French braid wherein you only grab hairs from one side of the braid instead of both sides. This makes it look like it’s holding on to one side of the braid only. It’s a common braid technique for partial braids, especially those that are done only on the frontal section to frame the face.
For a fuss-free look, go for a single braid that keeps your hair away from your face. Allow it to go straight down your back, so it doesn’t bother you but still looks cute from afar. This is an awesome braided style for working out or doing errands.
To achieve this serene-looking braid that allows you to show off your hair length, create a braid from one side of your head to the other, making sure to let each strand down every time you weave onto another. This creates that coveted “waterfall” effect.
This braid type is great if you want to put your hair in a protective style but want to hide them. Tree braids are invisible because you add extensions to cover up the actual braids. So, people will only see the extensions, making you look like you’re wearing your natural hair.
Crochet braids are when you elevate your braids by using a crochet needle to add more extensions to your hair, making it thicker and more textured. This adds extra oomph to your braids, giving them a lot more personality and attitude.
Infinity braids are among the most complex braids you’ll ever come across. Essentially, what you have to do is wrap a single “wrapping strand” around two sections of hair again and again.
Grab a little bit of hair from one section and pull it over the other. Then, add a bit more hair to that wrapping strand and put it over the other again. Do this again and again until you reach the end of where the wrapping strand can take.
Partial Braid a la Jennifer Morrison
A partial braid is any braid style where only part of your hair is braided. Some people do this style by doing a thin braid on one side of their face or tying their hair in a half-braid, half-ponytail combo. Here, we see actress Jennifer Morrison with a braid just at the top of her hair.