Dookie Braids: From the Playground to Beyond

Dookie braids, a fun throwback braided hairstyle, is here to serve up some old-school charm.

There’s something warm and fuzzy about looking back on how we used to dress or style our hair while growing up. Trends are nothing if not cyclical, and we definitely get a kick out of showing the world the good ol’ glory days and how much things have changed—or in a lot of cases these days, how they’ve stayed the same! Whether it’s in the form of a dorky #tbt or bragging about how your personal style has barely strayed since Day 1 in the sandlot (pigtails and dookie braids since ’91!) this is undoubtedly the era of the throwback, and we’re all embracing it.

Read on as we highlight the dookie braid throwback style and cool ways to wear the look today:

Tied off at the root and then braided to a tapered end, dookie braids have that familiar ’90s feel that’s majorly on-trend today.

Yeah, you heard us—we see you, dookie braids, and we’re totally here for the unironic nostalgia! What used to be a natural-hair playground staple is now all grown up and making the rounds in the social media circuit. Albeit in a bit more refined, polished version (metallic accessories have now replaced those glorious, snappy candy-colored baubles of yore), today’s dookie braids however still retain their trademark thick plait with a bit of a taper towards the ends.

1. Now and Forever

This old-school look, on par with little-girl pigtails as they were worn back then, features braids that start thickest at the root and, due to the nature of natural-textured hair, thin out gradually at the ends. This results in a tapered, slightly top-heavy braid, and which typically also didn’t have that many sections.

Today’s dookie braids are usually reinforced with extensions being tied off at the root itself, which lends a more uniform thickness to each section till the ends. To create the look, first section off your head into several ponytails. Next, wrap a (somewhat thick) strip of extensions into the root of each pony, and begin to braid downwards till your desired length. The ends are usually trimmed for a more natural look.

You can also afford to section off more hair with the use of extensions, which gives a lot more heft and density to the overall look. A lot of women have also taken to embellishing their dookie braids with more sophisticated accessories, such as hair jewelry and metallic barrettes.

2. Hair Care and Maintenance

As with any protective hairstyle, dookie braids may be left in for around a few weeks and doing so requires basic scalp maintenance. A dry shampoo, like Dove Refresh+Care Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo, lightly sprayed at the root, can help absorb any excess oil and grease, and a hair oil or leave-in conditioner like Suave Professionals Avocado + Olive Oil Smoothing Leave-In Conditioner rubbed onto your braids can help provide moisture, protect against frizz and keep your braids shiny for all of the pictures (and there will be many).

3. Manipulation

First-generation dookie braids may not have had a lot of other styling options, but these more updated versions take to everything from top knots to half-updos and even space buns. But because dookie braids can feel heavy on the scalp due to the thickness of each section, be wary of anything too fussy or elaborate, or any updo that could put unnecessary tension or strain on the hairline. Otherwise, have fun with this charming, trending—and yes, awesomely familiar—look. No school like the old school!

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