Give a new meaning to high-low with these braided styles.
What you’ll need
Can’t decide whether to put your hair up or leave it down? Half braided hairstyles help you do away with actually having to choose either. These versatile looks also straddle the line between boho and fierce, depending on the weave you choose to take, making it one of the more democratic hairdos we’ve come across this year.
Whether you’re a fan of the fishtail or a die-hard cornrow gal through and through, you can rely on half braided hairstyles to take you from day to night without missing a beat. These fun, unusual looks are equally at home during power hour as in happy hour and can be recreated in the short span of time you have before work—meaning yeah, you can totes legit tell the haters that thanks, you so did wake up like this. That’s not all: We’ve broken down some of our fave looks into four categories that speak to braid level and aesthetic, so literally all you have to do is scroll on down and be prepare to be inspired.
44 Head-Turning Half Braided Hairstyles to Ace in Minutes
Chic, straightforward stitches reminiscent of the minimalist 1990s, like the French and three-strand braid, are the stars of this category. These are ideal for when you’re short on time but looking for something not-quite-basic, or need a more conservative plait to wear everyday for work. They also score major hair-off-face points, making these half braided hairstyles the perfect go-to for the gym or the outdoors.
1. Loose Waterfall
Gently pull fresh hair from the top with every other chain to attain that “fall” effect.
2. Loose Dutch
Leave the ends free, but texturize and/or spray with hairspray (we like TRESemmé TRES Two Extra Hold Hairspray) that works to keep ends from unraveling.
3. Side French
Part your hair, then start a French braid at the partline downwards till the ear. Secure behind the ear with pins. An instant crowd-pleaser!
4. Side French/Three-Strand, Hairline
Start with a French braid at the hairline, then switch to a loose three-strand braid after the temples for a look that’s as cute as it is snug.
5. Side French/Three-Strand, Back
Extend the French stitch till your ear, then switch to a three-strand afterwards so that your hair falls behind the ear, and not in front of your face.
6. Side French, Short
Even bobs and shorter crops can enjoy a French braid, as long as the hairline and front fringe strands are at least five inches in length.
7. Half-Side French
Make medium to large chains and stop right just above the ear for a barrette effect.
8. Braided Bun
Loop a three-strand braided ponytail into a bun. Hair hack: Secure your ponytail with a hair tie at the base to give you more control as you braid.
9. French Half-Ponytail
Start with a French braid at the crown, then switch to a three-strand braid just below your skull bump.
10. Simple Three-Strand
…Or, you can also forego the French braid and go straight to a three-strand for a classic, elegant option.
11. Simple Three-Strand, Side
No time, space or patience to create a French braid? Cheat around the look by simply pinning a regular three-strand plait off to one side.
12. Twisted Fishtail
One of our favorite looks is this ’80s-inspired twist, which features a crisp, proper fishtail till the ends of the pony.
Okay, so you’ve earned your Youtube/Pinterest chops and can literally braid in your sleep. Put that talent on display with half braided hairstyles that require a bit more skill level and ingenuity. Themes to play around are the two-in-one (braid-to-twist, braid-within-a-braid), as well as using a braid as an anchor for an entirely different style.
13. Knotted Accent Braids
This look is actually pretty easy when broken down: It features a couple of accent braids that are tied in the center, with the seam covered by a high ponytail. Great for festivals, outdoor BBQs or other kicky summer festivities!
14. Half-Up Bantu Knots
These baby bantu knots or space buns are made of hair that’s been reinforced with extensions. Usually professionally done, they require the weave being attached to the real hair using a braid technique, which then turns into a rope twist once the real hair runs out.
15. Celtic Bun
This look is actually three loosely braided buns (left, middle, right) linked to each other with pins. To recreate, split hair into three sections and braid each halfway, then coiling each braid to form a circle. Pin the loose ends together for that knotted look.
16. Curly Dutch
On your hairline, create a Dutch braid (split hair into three slivers, then cross the side sections under the middle). Stop when you reach the ear and pin. Next, gently tug or pancake only the upper part of the chain for a faux “curly” effect, then curl the rest of your hair to finish.
17. Dutch Pigtails with Bump
Create two Dutch braids on the top half of your head and gather them together into one ponytail (leave the ends unbraided). Next, split the upper layer of the ponytail and loop it into the gap between your pigtails, pinning where it falls against your scalp to secure.
18. Dutch Flower Buns
Split your hairline into two to create feeder Dutch braids from each side. Braid till the ends, then coil each around itself to create a small bun, making sure to flatten out the coil on your head so its layers resemble petals. Pin till secure.
19. Infinity Braid
Similar to the Celtic knot, this also employs a trompe l’oeil effect. Start with one regular three-strand braid on each side, then create a figure-eight to connect both, pinning the seams. Enlist a friend!
19. Side Dutch
Look closely and you’ll see two plaits: one on the hairline from partline to above the ear, and the main one, which features hair being taken from the right only.
20. Split Crown
Simpler than it looks, this starts with stitching a main braid in the center, then splitting the hair from that into two once you reach the forehead. Check out our tutorial for more details.
Edgy and a bit intimidating, these half braided hairstyles have a sense of grit and roughness to them—not everyone can pull them off, much less construct them to begin with. These plaits are awesome as accent pieces that add a bit of interest to an everyday polished look (as in the case of hidden side cornrows or skinny festival braids), or as a statements in themselves, as seen in the kick-ass unicorn variation.
21. Cornrows with Bun
Create three cornrows (or tiny Dutch braids, for non-natural-textured hair types) on your front hairline, then gather them all into a high pony. Swirl around to form your bun, and pin at the seams.
22. Braids with Curly Mohawk
This intense look features some feeder cornrows on one side that are tied off in the center of the skull, which then burst out into curls from forehead to nape.
23. Cornrows with Pony
Another cornrow trio, this look ends in a chic low ponytail rather than a chignon.
24. Double Three-Strand
This two-step look entails first creating a regular-sized three-strand braid from the crown to the ends, then using that same plait as one section in a larger three-strand braid. So yeah, braidception.
25. Jumbo Three-Strand
The same concept goes for this iteration, which uses a full head of box braids to create an oversized three-strand braid on one side.
26. Loose Cornrows
Part of the base of the scalp is sectioned off as if to prime for rope twists, but instead hair is left braided and loosely flowing, while the rest of the hair is gathered into a ’90s-inspired high pony. Slapdash, but it works!
27. Braid with Undercut
Showcase your shaven side with a braid that delineates the undercut from the rest of your locks.
28. Faux Side Shave
And for the clipper-shy, a tight sidewinding braid gives a similar effect.
29. Side Accent Braids
Triple the fun, with zero effort!
30. Gelled Unicorn
A wet look complements this fierce, runway-worthy version. Apply a firm-hold gel, like TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Sculpting Gel, for a shiny yet non-sticky finish.
31. Skinny Unicorn
This graphic version employs a clever little touch at the forehead: The ends are split up and hidden underneath the fringe.
32. Dutch Unicorn
Playing with grown-out roots? Try a bumpy solo Dutch braid, which helps give a two-toned effect.
These classically charming looks are always #hairgoals, and are what Pinterest dreams are made of. Whether they’re stealing the show with a perfectly constructed herringbone stitch or are all about nailing that pancaked result, it’s never run-of-the-mill with these looks, which always seem to evolve with the wearer and the latest trends. Prepare to feel like hair royalty: Crowns, halos, milkmaids—though usually complex, they’re always thoughtful, and once mastered you can rest assured that these pretty, gram-worthy plaits will never go out of style.
33. French Crown
Start from above one ear and French braid till you reach the opposite ear, then secure with pins or a tiny hair tie.
34. Dutch Crown
Following the same principle but with an inverted/Dutch stitch this time, the hairstyle ends in a bumpy, headband-like look.
35. Frizzy Fishtail
This hairstyle has a deliberately staticky finish. To recreate, first start with a side fishtail braid and finish by gently pulling the links apart for that flattened feel, then rub the surface with a cotton shirt for a slight fuzz.
36. French Pigtails
Just as you would in sleepovers of yore, enlist a friend to help you recreate this fun dual-braided look.
Easier than you’d think, a mermaid braid is like a lazier version of the French stitch. Check out our tutorial for the complete step-by-step guide.
38. Half-Braided Crown
Keep dark locks shiny and healthy-looking to provide some dimension to a braid. We like the shine-enhancing properties in Bed Head by TIGI Blow Out Cream.
End the French stitch at ear level and leave the ends messy and texturized for a modern touch.
40. Waterfall Bun
This popular hairstyle starts with a waterfall stitch. First go from right to left, then clamp it off to hold. Next, create another braid on your minor partline to just above the ear, then remove your previous clamped plait to bun them together.
41. Side Dutch
Such precision! Create a Dutch braid from your hairline to behind the left ear, then secure with a pin. Tug the links apart to pancake and flatten.
42. Side Waterfall
A fun, super-boho version of the traditional waterfall braid, these half up braided hairstyles involve taking new hair from just the left side and leaving the plait deliberately messy.
43. Temple Feeders
Affix two skinny braids from each temple and gather them into a tiny ponytail at the back of your head. Instant #festbest!
44. Fringe Waterfall
There will always be a place in our hearts for a cute, snug, straightforward waterfall braid that snakes neatly down your hairline.
43. Traditional Waterfall
And just in case you needed to know how exactly to master this stitch, here’s a step-by-step tutorial.
44. Basket Waterfall
Wider-spaced feeder sections mimic the underside of a basket weave, lending to this braid’s name.
Enjoyed these half up braided hairstyles? Check out our full compendium of braided looks, perfect for any season.