Let’s talk about the different types of braids!
Braids are a timeless hair trend, adorning heads across cultures for centuries. They’re known for their versatility, functionality, and sheer beauty.
Whether simple or complex, braids can morph your hair into various shapes and styles, suitable for every occasion. From the traditional 3-strand braid to a trendy fishtail, there’s a braid for every person, hair type, and aesthetic.
This comprehensive guide explores the different types of braids, basic techniques, various styles for different hair types, and tips for maintaining the health of your braided hair.
So, get your hair tools ready; it’s time to explore the fascinating world of braids!
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Different Types of Braids
#1. Basic 3-Strand Braid
The 3-strand braid, also known as the “classic braid,” is like the OG of braids. It’s really easy and the most common type you’ll see.
To create this braid, start by dividing your hair into three equal sections. Cross the right section over the middle one (which becomes the new right section). Then, take the left section and cross it over the new middle section. Keep going with this pattern all the way down and secure the end with an elastic.
It might take a few tries to get it right, but it’ll be a breeze once you do! The result is a gorgeous and versatile hairstyle that works for anything from a chill day at the beach to a fancy night out. So, grab your comb and give this classic a whirl.
This braid is the base for many other fancy braided styles, so it’s a great one to start with if you’re new to braiding.
#2. French Braid
Once you’ve mastered the 3-strand braid, try out the French braid. This elegant style seamlessly incorporates outside strands into the braid, making it a favorite for both formal occasions and casual outings.
Like the 3-strand braid, a French braid also starts with three sections of hair. You’ll begin the weave close to your scalp, crossing the right section over the middle and then the left over the new middle. However, each time you cross a section, you’ll also pick up additional hair from the side of your head and add it to the braid.
This continuous integration of hair gives the French braid its distinctive appearance. While it may sound a bit complicated, remember, practice makes perfect!
#3. Dutch Braid
Next is the Dutch braid, often called the “reverse French braid.” This style is a fantastic option if you’re looking for more volume and drama.
The Dutch braid follows the same basic process as the French braid but with a twist. Instead of crossing your hair sections over each other, you’ll cross them under.
Start with three sections of hair. Take the right section and cross it under the middle, then take the left section and cross it under the new middle. As you continue to weave, incorporate additional hair from the sides, just like the French braid.
The result is a stunning, raised braid that stands out from the rest of the hair, giving a 3D effect. It’s an eye-catching style perfect for anything from gym sessions to glamorous events.
#4. Waterfall Braid
The waterfall braid is a stunning variation that gives the illusion of cascading hair, just like a waterfall – hence the name. This style is ideal for those who want to wear a braid while still keeping some of their hair loose.
To start the waterfall braid, you’ll need three sections of hair on the front side of your head. Like the French braid, you begin by crossing the top section over the middle, then the bottom section over the new middle.
Here’s where things get a little different: you’ll drop the section of hair that’s now at the bottom, letting it hang loose to create the “waterfall” effect. Pick up a new section of loose hair from right behind where you dropped the previous one, making that your new bottom section.
Continue this pattern all the way around your head. The result is a gorgeous, cascading braid with a relaxed, boho vibe. The waterfall braid is perfect for a chic daytime look or a romantic evening out!
#5. Box Braids
Now, let’s dive into the world of box braids. Originating from Africa, women have worn box braids for centuries and have gained international popularity for their beauty, versatility, and protective qualities.
Box braids are created by sectioning the hair into square or rectangular “boxes.” Then, using either natural hair or extensions, three strands are braided together all the way to the ends. Since the sections are distinct and clearly visible, it gives the appearance of a neat, grid-like pattern on the scalp.
These braids are not only stylish but also a great protective style. They help reduce stress on the hair and scalp, providing a break from daily manipulation and exposure to harsh elements.
Plus, you can keep them in for weeks at a time with proper care, making them a low-maintenance option for those with busy schedules.
Whether you wear them long, short, thick, thin, or adorned with beads, box braids offer endless styling possibilities. They can be worn loose, tied up, in a ponytail, or even in an updo. So, go ahead and give box braids a try — your hair will thank you!
#6. Micro Braids
Micro braids, as the name suggests, are small, delicate braids, often about the width of a pencil. They’re perfect for those who love detail and have the patience for braiding, as they can take several hours – or even days – to complete.
Like box braids, you can use your natural hair or add extensions to create micro braids. You begin by sectioning the hair into small, evenly-sized parts. Then, you braid each section all the way to the end, securing it with a small band or allowing it to hang loose.
One advantage of micro braids is their versatility. They can be worn straight, curled, twisted, or even woven into larger braids or updos – the styling possibilities are endless! Plus, their size makes them less likely to become tangled or knotted, making them easier to manage than other types of braids.
But remember that micro braids are so small they stress the hair and scalp more than larger braids. It’s important to give your hair a break between installations and ensure you’re taking care of your hair and scalp while the braids are in.
Micro braids are a beautiful, intricate style that can add sophistication to any look. Just remember – patience is key when it comes to both installing and maintaining these tiny little treasures!
#7. Infinity Braid
The infinity braid showcases a stunning pattern that resembles the infinity symbol. This intricate braiding style is more complex, but the result is uniquely stylish and well worth the effort.
To create an Infinity Braid, start by dividing your hair into three sections. Take the middle section and divide it in half – these two strands will serve as the center of your ‘infinity symbol.’ Then, weave the left and right outer strands around these central parts in a figure-eight pattern, taking additional hair from each side as you go along. Once you reach the end, secure the braid with a hair tie.
The Infinity Braid makes a captivating, sophisticated statement due to its detailed pattern. It’s ideal for medium to long hair lengths and can be worn for any occasion.
#6. Rope Braid (Twist Braid)
Simple yet stylish, rope braids, also known as twist braids, are one of the easiest braid styles to create, perfect for beginners or those in a hurry.
To create a rope braid, you start by splitting your hair into two equal sections. Twist both sections tightly in the same direction, then twist them together in the opposite direction to create the “rope” effect. Secure the braid at the end, and voila, you have a beautifully twisted rope braid!
The fantastic thing about rope braids is their versatility. They can be worn as a single braid for a classic look or multiple rope braids for a more intricate style. They can be worn loose, in a ponytail, or even to create an elegant updo. Plus, they work great on both straight and curly hair types.
But the best part? Once you unravel a rope braid, it leaves your hair with gorgeous waves, giving you a whole new style to rock. So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to switch up your hair game, rope braids are a must!
#9. Milkmaid Braids
This vintage-inspired hairstyle has roots in various cultures, dating back to the countryside of old Europe and even ancient times.
The beauty of milkmaid braids lies in their simplicity. To create them, you begin by splitting your hair down the middle into two sections. Each section is then braided into a basic 3-strand braid and secured at the end.
The magic happens when you lift each braid up and over the top of your head, securing them in place to form a braided crown. Tuck the ends under the braids and pin them in place, and you’ve got yourself a pair of lovely milkmaid braids!
Milkmaid braids are perfect when you want to add a touch of elegance to your look or when dealing with second-day hair. They’re also a great way to keep your hair out of your face while still looking chic.
#10. Ladder Braid
This charming and unique type of braid stands out for its complex appearance.
But even though it might look intricate, don’t be intimidated! It’s simply a combination of a classic 3-strand braid and a waterfall braid.
To create a ladder braid, you start with a waterfall braid, which involves leaving pieces of hair out as you braid along the side of your head. These dropped pieces then become the “rungs” of the ladder braid. After you finish the waterfall braid, you start a second braid parallel to the first, incorporating the dropped pieces from the waterfall braid into the second braid as you go.
The appeal of the ladder braid lies in its distinctive pattern and versatility. Moreover, it works well with long and medium-length hair, straight or curly.
#11. Lace Braid
Let’s move on to the lace braid, a variation of the classic French braid that is both elegant and fashionable. This braid type is unique since it only adds hair from one side while braiding, giving the illusion of a braid that’s been “laced” along your hair.
To create a lace braid, you start by sectioning off a part of your hair where you want the braid to be. Then, you start a French braid, but instead of adding hair from both sides as you go, you only add from the side closest to the face. This makes the braid appear to be cascading down your hair, creating a stunning, delicate effect.
Lace braids offer many style possibilities. You can use them as a headband, create a half-up style, or incorporate them into an updo. They’re perfect for adding sophistication to your look, whether it’s for everyday wear or a special occasion.
#12. Fishtail Braid
This beautifully intricate hairstyle is surprisingly simple to create. Named for resembling a fish skeleton, this braid style provides a sleek, chic look ideal for casual and formal occasions.
Creating a fishtail braid involves splitting your hair into two sections. Then, you take a small piece from the outer edge of one section and cross it over to the inner part of the other section. Repeat this process, alternating sides until you reach the end of your hair.
The beauty of a fishtail braid lies in its versatility. You can keep it tight for a neat, sophisticated look or pull at the strands gently to make it look more voluminous and relaxed. Plus, it works with a variety of hair lengths and textures!
So, if you’re searching for an elegant and user-friendly braided style, the fishtail braid could be the perfect match for you.
Cornrows are a traditional African style of hair grooming where the hair is braided very close to the scalp. This type of braid is achieved using an underhand, upward motion to create a continuous, raised row. They’re often done in straight lines but can also be formed in intricate geometric or curvilinear designs.
Creating cornrows involves taking a small section of hair from the hairline, then dividing it into three equal parts. You then begin to braid the hair, adding more hair from the root as you go. This results in neat, tight braids that lay flat against your scalp!
Cornrows are not just stylish, but they also hold cultural significance and history. They’re versatile and can be worn by men and women of all ages. Plus, they’re a great protective style that can last for weeks with proper care, making them a popular choice for those who want a low-maintenance yet fashionable hairstyle.
Remember, while cornrows can be done on your own, it might be best to get them done by a professional to ensure they’re neat and uniform, especially if it’s your first time trying this braid style.
#14. Feather Braid
Next up is the feather braid, an enchanting, feather-like hairstyle that adds a whimsical touch to any look. This braid is a variation of the classic 3-strand braid, with pieces of hair left out in each turn, creating a “feathered” effect.
Creating a feather braid begins much like a French braid. Take a section of hair at the crown and divide it into three parts. As you braid, instead of pulling all of the hair into the braid, you’ll leave out small sections every time you cross over. These left-out strands form the “feathers” of the braid.
#15. 4-Strand Braid
If you’re ready to venture beyond the traditional 3-strand braid, let’s introduce the 4-strand braid. This gorgeous braid style offers a thicker, more intricate look that will surely make a statement.
Creating a four-strand braid involves separating your hair into four equal strands. Starting from the left, take the first strand and weave it under the second, over the third, then under the fourth. Repeat this weaving pattern, pulling each strand tightly for a well-defined braid.
This braid is a head-turner, adding complexity and style to your look. It’s suitable for most hair lengths and types and can be combined with other braid styles.
#16. 5-Strand Braid
If you want to level up your braiding skills, give the 5-strand braid a try! This fantastic hairstyle may seem challenging at first, but you’ll love it once you get the hang of it.
You’ll need to separate your hair into five equal sections to create this look. Starting from the right, cross the first strand over the second, then under the third. Next, cross the fifth (far left) strand over the fourth, then under the one you’ve just moved. Continue this pattern – over, under, over, under – until you reach the ends of your hair.
The 5-strand braid is a beautiful option for a unique, complex braid style. It works best with longer hair lengths due to the number of strands involved, and it can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
#17. Pull-Through Braid
The pull-through braid is a super easy hairstyle that packs a style punch. It may look complex, but there’s no need for traditional braiding techniques – just create a series of ponytails!
Start by gathering a section of hair at the crown into a ponytail. Then, make another ponytail directly below. Split the first ponytail in half, pull the second ponytail through, and secure it with a hair tie. Repeat this all the way down your hair.
What’s great about the pull-through braid is its voluminous, chunky appearance, adding texture and depth to any look. It’s perfect for those with thin hair who want to create the illusion of thickness. Dress it up with accessories or keep it casual for everyday style.
There are numerous styles of braids, each with its own unique look and technique. From the simple 3-strand braid to the complex fishtail braids and waterfall braids, there’s a braid for every occasion, hair type, and style preference. Creativity is key in braiding, so don’t be afraid to invent your own braid styles and combine different techniques.
If you’re starting your journey into the world of braids, the traditional 3-strand braid is the easiest to learn. This classic style, also known as the English braid, involves dividing your hair into three sections and alternating each section over the middle until you reach your hair’s ends. It’s a simple weaving technique that forms the basis for many others, like the French and Dutch braid.
The most commonly seen braids are the basic 3-strand braid, French braid, Dutch braid, fishtail braid, and milkmaid braids.
If you’re looking for a braided hairstyle that will stand the test of time (and busy schedules), look no further than Box Braids and Cornrows. These styles are renowned for their longevity, often lasting for weeks with proper care.
Box Braids: This protective style looks chic and usually lasts between six to eight weeks. Box braids are created by dividing the hair into square or rectangular sections, hence the name. These individual, plaited braids are versatile and low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for those seeking a longer-lasting style.
Cornrows: Cornrows are tight, neat braids that are braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand technique to create a raised row. Due to their tight nature, cornrows can last anywhere from six to eight weeks, depending on how well you care for them and your hair growth rate.
Remember, the key to maintaining these braided styles is to keep your scalp clean and well-moisturized and to cover your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet while sleeping. With these care tips, your braids will remain stunning and intact for as long as possible!
The world of braids is vast and diverse, offering endless options for self-expression. From the classic 3-strand braid to intricate braided updos, there’s a braid style for everyone, any occasion, and any hair type.
Braiding lets you express your uniqueness and creativity while offering a practical way to manage your hair. So go ahead and try on some different styles – each braid is a fun journey of learning and discovery.
Remember, braiding is more than just a hairstyle; it’s an art form with a rich history and cultural significance.
Embrace the versatile world of braids and have fun exploring your hair’s potential!
Until next time,
Your Turn: Are you going to try any of these different types of braids? Is there anything else I should add to this list? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
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Last update on 2023-08-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API