A braid is a unique pattern structure that is formed when you weave three or more strands of hair together. They are one of the most popular black hairstyles out there, all thanks to the fact they are protective and come in so many cool variations, which also require different techniques to achieve them.
From box braids to cornrows, goddess braids and everything in between, no matter your hair type or length, there’s bound to be a braided hairstyle, below, you’ll want to try next. Scroll down to see our top picks for 2020.
Double Dutch Braids
Two French Braids
Confession time: our love affair with the classic high bun still burns bright! And since Sister, Sister star Tia Mowry styled her braids into a slick high bun for an A-list event (combining it with dramatic lashes and a swipe of red lipstick), she proved just how chic this ‘do can be!
The bigger the braid, the better the hairstyle! This middle-parted, chunky plait style is bound to get you noticed. Credit: @the_frohaven
Cornrow & Box Braids Combo
This Instagrammer is having plenty of fun with her blonde braids. Teaming her cornrows with box braids is pretty fabulous alone but with her beaded tips, she takes this combination to the next level! Keep slaying, honey. Credit: @leveluphairstylez
We’ve fallen head over heels with Jourdan Dunn’s intricate albaso braids. Credit: @jourdandunn
After a style that’s as cute as it is practical? These pigtail braids are utterly adorable and will keep your strands in check. Credit: @izabelag4
Double Dutch Curly Braids
Getting the best of both worlds, this Instagrammer manages to show off her gorgeous curls with double Dutch braids, neatly secured at the nape of her neck. Credit: @braidsgang
Editor’s tip: Keep your fishtail braid in place with a spritz of the VO5 Invisible Firm Hold Hairspray.
This ultra-fine fast-drying hairspray offers frizz control and humidity protection and had a gorgeous coconut fragrance.
Box Braid Space Buns
Live your life in bright colours and bold outfits? Then you need to try box braids space buns! Credit: @hairrcastleby_cshami
If you want a style that’s sure to get all eyes on you, try out the chunky twist look that’s so versatile and oh-so pretty!
The sky’s the limit when it comes to braided updos. From power ponytails to beautiful buns, which braided updo will you choose? Credit: @stylesbykrystalj
Braids for Short Hair
Whether they’re real or faux, dreadlocks never fail to impress. Credit: @naturalbabepro
Not only are ponytails pretty much the easiest hairstyle ever, leaving a few pieces of hair hanging loose at the front like this Instagrammer will give you a major ’90s fashion edge. Credit: @samiahamps
Half-Up, Half Down
Two Dutch braid
Why have one Dutch braid when you can have twice the fun with two? Credit: @black.lyst
Editor’s tip: Finish your braided look with the TRESemmé Botanique Air Dry Natural Hold Gel.
Arianna Braided Pony
We like to think Ariana Grande has contributed as much to the hair industry as she has the music scene. While her endless array of fancy hairstyles are a constant source of updo inspiration, we think it’s this braided pony that steals the show. Credit: @the_braid_bar
A halo braid is all the rage with celebs and real girls alike and it’s the perfect boho look for any occasion. Credit: @reneebigtime
Give your hair the illusion of longer fuller braids by using the feed in braids method.
By attaching braiding hair extensions to your natural hair while weaving, you’re left with a more natural seamless finish. Credit: @braidedbytee
Stand out from the crowd with these stunning jumbo braid twists. If you’re looking for a stylish low maintenance hairstyle that protects your strands, you can’t go wrong with jumbo box braids. Credit: @annrdrz_17
Editor’s tip: Make styling your hair easy with the TONI&GUY Flexible Hold Braid Balm. Whether you’re creating your styles or need a touch-up while on the go, this is the handbag essential you’ve been missing.
Jumbo Box Braids
Poetic Justice Braids
When you marry Senegalese twists and goddess locs together, you get passion twists. They’re the perfect summer style! Credit: @braidsgang
Crochet Box Braids
Looking for alternative ways to get box braids? Try using the crochet method instead to install your braids. Credit: @msnaturallymary
Crochet Braids Twists
These crochet twists are another example of the crocheting method in action. Credit: @rekaylacurls
Braided Half Bun
You’ve heard of the hun (AKA the half-up bun), now meet it’s plaited counterpart. This is one of the best braid hairstyles for naturalistas who want the effect of undone hair, yet you don’t want the hassle of maintaining it. Credit: @elainewelteroth
Red Ponytail Braid
A hairstyle that needs no introduction. Credit: @braidmama
You can score the curls of your dreams by leaving your box braids undone like this. Credit: @nigerianbraidshair
This elegant braiding style allows you to protect your natural strands and show them off, too. Credit: @braidsgang
Curly Crochet Braids
Your secret weapon for envy-inducing curls? Curly crochet braids! Credit: @chimerenicole
Fulani braids are usually accessorised with beads to give a unique and beautiful look. Credit: @gsterl
Free from parabens and silicones, the botanical blend of coconut milk, coconut oil and aloe vera will leave your hair feeling nourished.
Single braids (or individual braids) is another term used to describe box braids. Credit: @boxbraidsbr
When you want a hairstyle that’s equal parts stylish and long-lasting, two braids are the way to go. Credit: @_braidsbychristina
Big Box Braids
Kim Kardashian Braids
Ever since Beyonce wore them in her Lemonade album videos, side-swept braids have become more coveted than ever. Credit: @freshlengths
Short Box Braids
Thought you couldn’t rock braids and get in on the short hair trend? Well, you definitely can and this stylish bob is all the proof you need. Credit: @its_jennj
Be the best-tressed in your girl gang with these cute bob-length twists. Credit: @poplaura.b
Tribal braids AKA Fulani braids are a popular choice for black women looking for formal hairstyles and more casual festival looks, too. Credit: @justineskye
If you’re loyal to your box braids but want to try something new, triangle braids are a fun way to shake things up and add extra detail. Credit: @slayedbymeliz
Heading off to a festival and want a killer hairstyle to complete your look? Get inspired by this Instagrammer’s purple ombre braids, which are giving off major Coachella vibes. Credit: @brialleringer
Medium Box Braids
Not sure which braids to go for? Classic medium box braids are a great style for braids newbies that are guaranteed to suit everyone. Credit: @tach.j
Perhaps the most seamless of braids, tree braids are partially plaited to a certain point (with or without hair extensions) to create the ‘root’, while the rest of the hair is left loose and flowing like this. Credit: @brandiwynae
As the name suggests, these braided styles are woven with yarn braiding hair, making them a great alternative for those who aren’t a fan of synthetic or real hair extensions. Credit: @stellas_out
Alicia Keys Braids
From elegant Fulani braids to cool beaded cornrow styles, Alicia Keys never fails to show us how fun and versatile braided looks are.
Braided Wedding Hair
Get the crowd talking on your big day with this gorgeous, doubled braided halo hairstyle. Credit: @stanlophotography
Ombre Box Braids
Stitch braids look like traditional cornrows but have a different graphic and linear finish. Unlike regular cornrows, this technique requires a pinky finger and nail to create the lines and a strong-hold gel to keep them in place. Credit: @braidsbyjmarie
Straight Crochet Braids
If you’re after a classic hairstyle that won’t fail to impress, go for this glossy, straight crochet braid hairstyle. Credit: @kiitana
Gone are the days of boring cornrows! You can give them a fishy update by copying this impressive braiding pattern. Credit: @steph_odia
Long Box Braids
Take a cue from this Instagrammer and embrace the Rapunzel hair trend. Credit: @chanairaskye
Elegant Side Tuck
Prefer to go for a look with a more understated and sophisticated finish? Say no more. Opting for elegant plait hairstyles, like Eva Marcille’s chic side tuck, are the perfect way to take your braids from blah to beautiful in a matter of minutes!
Thick Box Braids
The thicker and bigger the braids, the less time you’ll need to spend waiting for your dream look. Credit: @itsmyrayeraye
Triangle Box Braids
The triangle partings in this braided look take this half-up, half-down hairstyle to a whole new level. Credit: @beautycreationsinsta
Upside Down Braid
Pink Box Braids
Excuse us while we swoon over these pink box braids. Credit: @magavilhas
Delicate Braided Headband
We love this youthful twist (pun intended) on the uber-feminine halo braid. Not only is it perfect for just about any occasion, but it works a treat on almost all hair lengths and textures, too!
Give your mane a dose of the royal treatment by styling your plaits into pompadour bangs!
If ‘subtle’ isn’t your style, and you’re looking for braid ideas that will really turn heads, take inspiration from Glee star Amber Riley and her heavenly halo bun!
From Dianna Agron to Jennifer Lawrence, crown braids have been given the A-list seal of approval, so you will be in good company when following suit. Credit: @dr_kami
Characterised by their beautifully thick appearance, Ghana braids use extensions to help create a fuller-looking finish and best of all, there are so many stylish options you can try. Credit: @futibraids
Blue Half-Up Bun
Striking the perfect balance between cajzh and put together, the hun is a hair saviour for lazy girls the world over. Credit: @stylebymks
Half-Up With Small Braids
We love the way this model has swept her tiny box braids up off of her face with a half-up hairstyle, flattering her facial features while still making the most of her length. It’s basically the best of both worlds! Credit: @vanessa.padi
Taking the front section of your small long box braids and plaiting them into a braided headband looks stunning, plus it adds detail to an otherwise simple style. Credit: @naturally_candace
Strike the perfect balance between sporty and stylish by working your braids into a high ponytail. While it’s true that it’s still one of the most foolproof ways to style your hair in a flash, stars like Teyonah Parris have elevated this style to VIP status by donning the look on the red carpet!