Braid hairstyles 2016: This year’s most stylish plaits

Ink | 22 April 2016

Want to try braid styles? 2016 is definitely the year to be bold and brave! Discover the chicest, practical hairstyles around and be instantly inspired by the hottest 2016 braid styles.

Thought plaits were just for little girls? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Currently, a firm favourite among runway designers, A-list celebs, and the beauty bloggerati, the once humble braid has now reached cult status in the world of all things hair.

Pretty, practical, playful, and utterly versatile – it’s no wonder that in the world of hair, ‘braids 2016’ is trending! We’re firm believers that women of any age can pull off plaits – all it takes is confidence and a little know-how.

So whether you’re after a romantic, summer party-perfect look, or a casual weekend hairdo that’s easy and stylish, we guarantee there’s a braid to suit. Here’s our ultimate guide for 2016. Braid styles and #hairspiration coming up!

Braid styles: 2016 round-up


boxer braid for 2016
Cornrows AKA boxer braids.

1. Boxer braids

A favourite of Karlie Kloss, Ashley Tisdale, and Hailey Baldwin, this sporty, of-the-moment braided hairstyle is both fashionable and functional.

Seen at New York Fashion Week on US-based label Creatures of Comfort’s spring/summer 2016 runway, you can be sure these perfect gym-to-brunch braids have been approved by the style set, too.

braid trends 2016 multiple braids
Multiple cornrow braids. Credit:

2. Cornrows (AKA the multi braid)

Love braids so much that wearing just one isn’t enough? Well, sometimes, more really is more. Or at least, according to the hair stylists at New York label Baja East, who gave models cornrows varying in size and shape.

The best part? It’s completely flexible and open to interpretation. You can plait all of your hair, leave out strands, have them hanging loose, or have them tied together for a red carpet-ready look. The choice, as they say, is yours!

light brown hair unicorn French braid
Unicorn French braid. Credit:

3. Unicorn braids

If last year’s focus was on unicorn hair colour, this year is all about the unicorn braid. Seen on the likes of Gigi Hadid and Nina Dobrev, the unicorn braid (a single mini French/Dutch plait positioned in the centre) has since gone viral on social media. High impact, yet simple to create – we’ll take one, please!

dutch braid updo braids 2016
Perfect gym updo: the Dutch braid. Credit:

4. The Dutch braid

Forget the plain French plait, 2016’s all about turning it inside out! Also known as the Dutch braid, this simple, pronounced weave is perfect for those who favour the easy elegance of a classic French braid, but want a fresher, bolder look.

Inject a little romance via satin ribbons, tied at the bottom of the plait, as seen at Mansur Gavriel’s autumn/winter 2016 presentation.

2016 braid styles: blonde woman with a halo braid standing to the side
The ethereal halo braid.

5. Halo braids

Ethereal and utterly romantic, the halo braid makes for the perfect summer party hairstyle (it’ll help keep you nice and cool, too!) and the ideal pairing to a long, flowing gown.

Still on the fence? Zoe Saldana, Olivia Munn, Margot Robbie, and Lupita Nyong’O are just a few of many A-list stars who have opted for this pretty, Grecian goddess-inspired look recently.

Messy braids.

6. The messy braid

Trying to perfect a complicated plait hairstyle but haven’t quite mastered the technique? Then the messy braid is your saviour.

As demonstrated by the girls at Alexander McQueen and cool London label Simone Rocha, where fishtail and French plaits were teased out and given a texture boost, braids don’t have to be neat to look cool.

straight hairstyles peekaboo braids
Hidden braids. Credit: Dvora

7. Hidden braids

Have a festival coming up and want to add a subtle boho vibe to your look? Why not try braiding small sections of your hair underneath, like the girls at Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2016 show?

Trust us, it’s sure to inject a free-spirited feminine vibe to your flowing locks!

hair braids 2016: brown long hair with a scarf woven braid
The experimental and pretty scarf braid. Credit: Dvora

8. Experimental braids

Ethereal fishtail braids have been given a directional update this year. From Olivia Palermo’s multi-directional fishtail braid to Amber Heard’s loopy braided chignon updo, it was all about giving the timeless, romantic plait an edgy update.

Try playing around with a half-up, half-down version or weave in a pretty ribbon: the possibilities are endless!

braid trends pigtails with a fringe
Plaited pigtails. Credit:

9. Plaited pigtails

No longer reserved for little girls, plaited pigtails are now the fash pack’s favourite way of saying “See? I don’t take myself too seriously”.

Still boasting a fun, youthful appeal, braided pigtails are the perfect accompaniment to casual off-duty looks, or for toning down a serious outfit.

The romantic half-up, half-down braid. Credit: Dvora

10. Half-up, half-down plaits

Romantic, feminine, and perfect for those who want to keep their hair down but off the face, the half-up, half-down plait is a great option for summer evening occasions and beyond.

Take your pick from a fashionable fishtail, a classic French braid, or combine several mini plaits for even more striking results.

One sided waterfall braid in purple hair
Symmetry is overrated!

11. One-sided wonder

Symmetry is overrated. Well, at least when it comes to 2016 braid styles!

Try braiding a waterfall braid along the crown of the head towards the back for more polished results, or sweep your simple three-strand or French plait to one side and over for an effortless, low-key look.

Helpful tips and tricks for braid styles: 2016

1. Add grip

Use a dry shampoo on your mane before braiding, as this will help to add grip and hold your braid for longer. We recommend using the Toni&Guy Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo.

2. Smooth down layers

If you have lots of layers, spray some VO5 Classic Styling Ultimate Hold Hairspray onto your hair before styling, as this will help to smooth down the ends and prevent your layers from poking out of your braid.


So, which 2016 braid styles are your favourite? Share your creations with us on Twitter and don’t forget to head over to our Braids page for more braid hairstyles for 2016 and beyond!


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