11 Different Types of African Hair Braiding

Need a crash course in African hair braiding? Here's the different types of African braids styles you should know about!  

Looking for an easy and protective way to change up your hairstyle? Then you should give African hair braiding some serious consideration. Black braided hairstyles are incredibly versatile and can be traced back to 3500 BC. Hair braiding has always been popular with women, however, men with long hair are often spotted wearing braided styles. African hair braiding can vary in size and shape and have often been used to identify various tribes. Recently we have seen braids having a fashionable revival, and with notable celebs making these styles their go-to, now’s the perfect time to try them out!

Not sure where to begin or which type to go for? Fear not: we’ve created a helpful little guide that features different types of African braids, so you can brush up on your styling know-how. Whether you’re tempted to rock tried-and-trusted box braids or faux ‘locs, scroll down to see the African hair braiding styles that’ll have you top of the mane game this year!

Box braids

african hair braiding: mode with boxer braids hairstyle with accessories
Accessorised boxer braids. Credit: Instagram.com/elenitekeste

When it comes to iconic black braided hairstyles, Poetic Justice-inspired box braids are the most coveted. Wondering why? Well, they keep your natural tresses protected and are also a versatile, refreshing way to wear your hair. What more could a girl want?!

So, if you do decide to get this gorgeous throwback look, make styling your box braids a breeze with our helpful guide, right here! Credit: @elenitekeste

Micro braids

micro braids are one of the most time consuming black braided hairstyles, but they yield beautiful results.
Micro braids are super small but stylish. Credit: Instagram.com/ braidsbyshelley

Unlike box braids that are bigger in size, micro braids are much smaller (hence their name) and require a lot of patience. They can take several hours or more to create, depending on how much hair you have and how long you want them.

But regardless of the time taken to weave, we think the results are totally worth it! Need proof? Just take a look above! Credit: @braidsbyshelley


when it comes to black braided hairstyles, cornrows as demonstrated by this woman, are the most popular
Cornrow hairstyles are a runaway favourite. Credit: Instagram.com/arellastyled

Having been a favourite braiding style with the All Things Hair team for some time now, we were overjoyed to see that cornrows are finally getting the fashionable recognition they deserve on the runway! While they are often referred to as boxer braids, you may be surprised to learn cornrows date back to ancient Egyptian times (yes, really!).

So, if you’re looking for African hair braiding styles that won’t take up your time at all, keep this easy braided hairstyle on your style radar. Credit: @arellastyled


different types of african braids: marley twists as shown by natalyneri
Twists are created using a two-strand method. Credit: Instagram.com/natalyneri

Want to know the differences between Senegalese, Marley and Nubian twists? The main differences with these African hair braiding styles lies in their varying sizes and the types of hair used to create them. However, all of them are equally created with the 2-strand twisting method.

Twists may have one less strand of hair to work with, but they are just as beautiful any braid! We love particularly love this braid queen’s Marley twists and the natural-looking kinky finish. So, if you’re a naturalista in dire need of change, you know what to do! Credit: @natalyneri

Faux Locs

Like the look of dreads but don't want the commitment? Try faux locs like viva glam kay shows, are fast becoming one of the top black braided hairstyles
Faux locs create the illusion of real dread locs. Credit: Instagram.com/djmillie

Love the look of dreadlocks but can’t picture yourself going through the long process to get them? Then faux locs are your next best option! This African hair braiding style is installed with hair extensions that cleverly resemble dreads, just without the commitment! And we’re sure you’ll agree, they look utterly mesmerising and (super convincing too). Credit: @djmillie

Crochet braids

african hair braiding: crochet braids as demonstrated by this model with curly black hair
Crochet braids actually refer to the technique of crocheting hair. Credit: Allyson Alapont

You may be surprised to learn that crochet braids aren’t strictly an African hair braiding style. Crochet braids actually refer to the method of crocheting hair extensions into pre-cornrowed hair. This fast method is favoured by hairstyle chameleons, who love to hop from voluminous curly to straight hairstyles. Quick and chic? Sign us up!

Editor’s tip: Want to get one of the African hair braiding styles we’ve mentioned above? Then you’ll need to prep your mane with the Dove Advanced Hair Series Pure Care Dry Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, as the hydrating formula helps to cleanse and nourish frizz-prone natural hair.

Golden Blonde Braids

woman with long brown and blonde braids

We are obsessed with this two-tone hue, especially on long box braids.

Platinum Blonde Braids

woman with blonde braids in a half-up bun

Make the ultimate impact by rocking platinum blonde braids!

Senegalese Twists

woman with dark brown long braids

Smooth, silky and shiny, Senegalese twists are always a good option.

Senegalese Half-up Braids

woman with long brown half-up braids

Worn down or in a half-up, you’ll be the best-tressed in any room with Senegalese twists.

Side Parted Box Braids

woman with long brown braids

Your braids, you decide where you part them! But if you’re a centre-parted devotee looking for a quick and easy style update, try switching it up with a side parting.



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