Braid hairstyles require a time-intensive process but can achieve exquisitely fashionable results. Given the time it takes to weave a braid, the time they stay in, and the many options available, it is important that you choose a style you’ll be happy with.

Here you’ll find an explanation of braid hairstyles, and a presentation of 5 Trendy Braid Hairstyles That You Will Love, to help you decide upon what style best fits your personality and look.

What Are Braid Hairstyles?

Braid hairstyles are “protective styles,” and take many hours to complete as the process is extensive and can take many hours. Braiding is a practice that dates back generations in many cultures, and even further for cultures with a strong African influence. Braiding has been bought into the modern era as what Allure magazine refers to as “new-school swag.”

There are many classical styles of braiding that can be chosen from, and a number of modern interpretations that have adapted or evolved them to suit modern purposes and styles. The classic styles are being reinvented and brought to new life with additional colors, accessories, and formats of braids. The style you choose can be basic then made as complex as you like with accessorization while a more complex style can be chosen with simple accessories to maintain focus upon all that time and effort your stylist puts into those braids.

Why Braid Hairstyles?

The options to choose from for your braids are seemingly endless. Beyond the style you choose, there are also many accessory options that can be selected, including beads, thread, cuffs, and other adornments to the braids. The accessories are in a category all on their own, and the following are 5 popular braid styles for you to consider when looking for a new style.

Braid Hairstyles #1 Of 5: Cinnamon Bun Braids

Cinnamon Bun Braids

The cinnamon bun braid style is a pattern that starts with thick cornrows drawn back into a slightly swoopy pattern, then brought together at the nape of the neck in a low bun. Actress Thandie Newton of HBO’s Westworld wore this style for a panel at Cannes Lions, done by hairstylist Sheridan Ward.

This braid hairstyle holds a more formalized look when it is not adorned with various accessories. It is as useful for the patio bar as it is for the boardroom, and when it’s time to let loose, the cinnamon bun can be undone, allowing the braids to rest naturally.

An additional application of the cinnamon bun is a doubled up version. The hair is parted down the middle after being cornrowed; then the ends are drawn onto opposite sides. A cinnamon bun is made on the right and left side, providing a balanced and stylish look that complements your cornrows.

To take the cinnamon bun braid to another level, you can gather all your braids together over your head into what then becomes a jumbo twisted knot. All of your braids are placed up into the same bun, and secured together on top. This style pulls all of your hair away from your neck and shoulders, and can be liberating on those steamy summer evenings or during your favorite recreational activity.

Braid Hairstyles #2 Of 5: High Ponytails

High Ponytails

High ponytails start off with box braids, with a part then being made down the middle. You can take up all the braids into dual ponytails similar to the classic character Pippi Longstocking. This creates a more childish look that is also a playful use of the braids that keeps them up higher with space for your neck to breathe.

Alternatively, only some of the braids may be taken up into the high ponytails. You can pull up the ponytails halfway down your scalp, leaving braids in the front and back free to naturally drape your shoulders and body. This style adds pep to your box braids but is not excessively constrained or tight.

Braid Hairstyles #3 Of 5: Fountain Ponytail

Fountain Ponytail

The fountain ponytail is a simple application for your box braids that can go a long way to creating a sleek and unique style. Pull all of your braids up to the top center of your head, and secure them together with a tie, allowing the braids to fall out the top as though they are spilling from a fountain.

The fountain ponytail is useful if you want your hair up and off your neck but still want to have that flowing feeling. While drawing the braids up try and keep a part in the center, so they fall off to the sides to silhouette your face as opposed to blocking your sight. The fountain ponytail is versatile and can be used just as often for working out as for formal outings.

Braid Hairstyles #4 Of 5: Half Up, Half Down

Half Up, Half Down

When you’re looking for a versatile style that has both braided and natural hair, look to the half up, half down style. In this braid hairstyle, the top half of your hair will be put up into cornrows. The cornrows can come together into a bun on whatever side of your head you prefer, on the top, or in the back. The remainder of your hair is left loose and free to drape your shoulders.

The half up, half down braid hairstyle is useful for hot summer days when you want your hair out of your face, but still, want to have a free-blowing look in the back and sides. This style was worn by actress and writer Issa Rae of HBO’s Insecure at the 2017 NAACP Image Awards.

Braid Hairstyles #5 Of 5: Pulled-Back Half Ponytail

Pulled-Back Half Ponytail

The pulled-back half ponytail braid hairstyle is a combination of styles that provides a versatile way to show off your trendy braids. For this style, you’ll pull your braids back behind your head, and join them together at the nape of your neck with a tie. This silhouettes your face with the braids if they are left loose, and presents to the front any beads or other accessories adorning your braids.

The pulled-back half ponytail allows the rest to hang down your back elegantly, suited for formal occasions and business. Some of the braids can also be taken forward over your shoulders for added flair. Allowing some braids to hang in front over your shoulders is also an excellent way to frame and accentuate your favorite necklace.

Braid Hairstyle Accessories

Braid hairstyles can be applied in many ways to add flair and fashion to your look. The styles explored above concern only the braids themselves, but the options available to you through which braids and accessories are mixed are endless. Hollywood has become known for using jewelry to tie braids together or add flair to them by placing rings down the length of some or all braids, lacing gold chains into the hair, and other more flamboyant accessories ranging from fine metals to diamonds.

To accessorize you braid hairstyle consider the use of colorful rope, different colored hair, and beads of all materials, shapes, and textures. Rope can be threaded into your braids to add an accent of color that can be coordinated with your clothes for extra added pop. The ties you use to fasten your hair together or put it up can be chosen from seemingly endless options as well, and provide another dimension through which you can accessorize your braid hairstyle.

You can also braid in differently colored hair. Ever wanted to have blue hair that fades into white tips? Would you prefer violet-tinted hair that looks different depending upon the light? The limit if your imagination in terms of the colors, hues, and accents that can be woven into your braids.

The way you secure your braids provides yet another opportunity to infuse them with color and vibrancy. The ends of your braids can be accented by beads, which can be attached at the end of the brads, and even throughout their length or at the beginning, which is becoming increasingly popular. Beads and ties can be coordinated with the color of your hair and switched out to match your style of the day.

Conclusion

Whatever braid hairstyle you choose, there are many fashions, colors, and clasps to add to your personal flair and style. Whether left down, pulled up into a cinnamon bun, or parted into ponytails, your braids are a focal point of your look. Leaving them loose can silhouette your face or accent your necklace while pulling them back opens the curtain to your beautiful face.

Braid hairstyles are diverse and can be equally fashionable and functional. If you’re particularly active, keep the top knot or the double high ponytails in mind. If you’re headed to a formal occasion but want to put in 18 holes afterward, consider the single or double cinnamon bun. For a gala, the half up, half down ponytail is a fine combination of up and down that silhouettes your face while allowing your braids to hang out in all their glory.

Whatever braid hairstyle you choose you’ll be in style, and check back to Beautifully Alive for more style and healthy living tips.