30 Braided Hairstyles to Snap You Out of Your Hair Rut

30 Braided Hairstyles to Snap You Out of Your Hair Rut featured image
Christian Vierig / Getty Images

It’s easy to fall into a hairstyle rut. But when you want to upgrade your look with little commitment, you can’t go wrong with a braided hairstyle. Whether worn loose or swept into a ponytail or updo, braids have the ability to transform your look. The beauty of braids lies in their versatility. For natural textures, braided hairstyles offer a stylish way to protect curls from environmental stressors and hot tools. Not only does each plait keep the hair tightly tucked away, but they can be used to create an artful look. Cornrows, knotless, crochet and boho braids are just a few of the looks that have the internet buzzing season after season. 

But braided hairstyles aren’t just functional. Depending on how you choose to wear them, braids can be used to accessorize your hair. A few small plaits strewn loosely throughout flowing strands can give you a breezy, romantic look. Or maybe you want to add some edge to your go-to ponytail. A sleek, lengthy braid is a simple solution that’s sure to turn heads for all the right reasons. There’s no shortage of looks to try, but to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve gathered 30 of the best braided hairstyles to inspire your next style.

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Tucked French Braids

Forget the French braids of your school days because this style takes the look to a whole new level. Instead of simply hanging loose, the plaits are tucked under to create a cool, modern hairstyle. It even has an elegant feel that pairs well with black-tie events. Like a sleek bun, it’s sophisticated and chic but still has a playful side that’s hard to ignore.

Side view of Amanda Seyfried wearing tucked French braids
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
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Chic Stitch Braids

When braided straight back, cornrows are incredibly elegant. However, when paired with sharp stitch parts, the look becomes even more alluring. Take a cue from this stylish fashion week-goer and opt for four simple braids that twist into a bun. Then, add a few free-flowing tendrils for an extra-cool finish. 

woman walking with braided hairstyle wearing a white coat and sunglasses looking at phone
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Long Feed-In Braids

Feed-in braids are a hybrid between cornrows and knotless braids. They are beloved for their flexibility and unique look. If you’re on the hunt for a fun vacation hairstyle, consider this one worn by Gabrielle Union. It’s simple but allows for versatility. Whether you pull them back into a low ponytail or let them flow free, you won’t be disappointed with this braided hairstyle.

Gabrielle Union wearing long braids
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/ Getty Images
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Braided Ponytail with Ribbons

The balletcore trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Ribbons and bows have been trending big time on the runway, and with street style stars just outside the shows. This braided ponytail is a great way to test-drive the look. To try it, choose a ribbon in a hue that will contrast nicely with your hair color and loosely plait it into your braid. 

Back view of woman with braid ponytail with ribbons
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Fulani Braids

Fulani braids, also known as tribal braids, are rooted in West African culture. The style blends cornrows with knotless braids and intricate patterns and designs. That said, there are loads of variations to choose from. This look, famously worn by Rihanna, is the perfect length for scorching summer days. 

Rihanna wearing teal dress and gloves, diamond necklace and fulani braids hairstyle
Samir Hussein/WireImage/ Getty Images
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Space Buns

What’s not to love about space buns? The Y2K hairstyle is the perfect balance between edgy and girly and looks effortless no matter what you’re wearing.

fulani braids willow smith
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Braided Headband

Like braids, headbands are both stylish and functional. This look brings the two together to create a fun hairstyle. While it does require some length, it’s surprisingly easy to recreate. Just be sure to part the hair down the middle, keeping it smooth and straight. A light gel and bristle brush will go a long way toward ensuring your braids stay sleek and in place. 

Woman in black corset and sunglasses and braided headband hairstyle
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Jumbo Box Braids

Need a protective style that’s as cool as it is effortless? Then look no further than jumbo box braids. The simple style takes only a short time to install, meaning you can spend less time in the salon and more time admiring your new look. 

Woman with long box braids in crop top and off-the-shoulder jacket
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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These pigtails feel distinctly grown up, thanks to a sleek side bang and extra-long length. To achieve the look, plait your hair into two tight braids that stop just at your waist. Then, wear them over your shoulders to really show them off.

Yara Shahidi walking with long braided pigtails wearing a trench coat cape
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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Braids and Curls

Braids and natural curls go hand-in-hand, and this hairstyle proves that tenfold. A simple blend between straight cornrows and fluffy, tight curls, this look is perfect for summer vacations. 

Close view of Issa Rae in green dress with a braided and curly hairstyle
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/ Getty Images
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Microbraids circa the early 2000s are back and just as good as you remember. Though the look takes some time to achieve, it’s well worth it. The tiny braids have a unique and artsy feel. Beyond their cool-girl appeal, they work well for every season and can create tons of different styles.

Solange wearing a cut-out and metallic black dress
Dia Dipasupil/WireImage/ Getty Images
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French Braids

Looking for a way to spice up your look? Why not consider this cool set of French braids adorned with silver safety pins? Not only is the style easy to achieve, but it’s also sure to be a showstopper wherever you go.

Back view of woman with french braids with safety pins
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Ombre Knotless Braids

If you’ve been on the fence about going blonde, a braided hairstyle can be a great way to try the look without the damage. These knotless braids use blonde braiding hair to create an ombre effect. To nail the look, ask your stylist for extra-long waist-length braids. The added length will show off the golden color and your sense of style. 

Two women with ultra-long ombre braids
Valentina Frugiuele/Getty Images
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Top-Knot Bun

The top knot is a staple hairstyle for any texture. But when done with braids, the classic style takes on an elegant look. Even better? The hairstyle is easy to do and comes together in no time. 

Karen Pittman walking outside in white and black outfit with braided top bun
Gotham/GC Images/ Getty Imahes
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Faux-Hawk Braided Ponytail

It’s time to give your basic ponytail a fashionable upgrade. This sleek style puts a fun twist on the simple look and even lasts for a few days. Just be sure to give your hair a quick spritz of hairspray after finishing for longevity and shine. 

Woman in purple long-sleeved mini dress with a faux-hawk braided ponytail
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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Braided Bob

To be clear—a bob will never be a bad idea. While there are many versions of the classic haircut, a braided version feels fresh. The short style is perfect for hot summer days and even has a 90s nostalgia look when paired with dark lipstick. 

Willow Smith with a braided bob wearing a green jacket and black turtleneck
Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images
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Beaded Updo

This hairstyle uses cornrows and knotless braids to create an updo that feels more like a work of art. The beads and hair jewelry only add to the look, making it the main attraction. 

Close up of woman with beaded, braided updo hairstyle
Cynthia Edorh/Getty Images
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High-Fishtail Ponytail

If ponytails are your go-to style, you may need a refresh. Take a cue from this luscious look that features a long, full ponytail and a loose fishtail braid. It’s elegant and interesting, yet still simple enough to pair with jeans and a T-shirt. 

fishtail pony updo
Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images
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Lemonade Braids

This popular style of cornrows gets its name from Beyoncé’s iconic Lemonade album cover. The side-swept braids are a fun look come summer and always deliver on the drama thanks to their long, waist-skimming length. To spice up the style, try leaving the ends of the braids loose and curly. 

Woman posing with ultra-long braids
Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images
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Braided Crown

Like the braided headband, this hairstyle uses braids as an accessory to create a unique look. The result is a style that’s delicate, romantic and easy to pull together. To try it out, gather a section of your hair from the middle of your head and begin braiding. Then, wrap the braid around your forehead and secure it at the back of your head with a few bobby pins. 

Woman with braided crown hairstyle wears sunglasses and all-black outfit
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Boho Braids and Claw Clip

Boho braids have taken over social media and show no signs of slowing down. The style is characterized by knotless braids that feature curly tendrils strewn throughout and free-flowing ends. They are beloved for their versatility. This look uses a claw clip to create an effortless hairstyle. 

Back view of woman with long braids and claw clip hairstyle
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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French Braid Bun

Ok, this is not technically a bun, but it does have a similar effect. It’s elegant without being over the top, and it keeps your hair pulled back in a chic style. It features large French braids that are loosely plaited and delicately wrapped together at the back of the head. To ensure your style stays intact, mist the braids with a lightweight hairspray that will provide hold and minimize frizz

Back view of woman with french braid bun hairstyle wearing a trench coat
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Dip-Dyed Cornrows

A bold hair color always makes a statement. With braids, you can play with extreme hues and not have to worry about damaging your natural hair. Take a cue from this style, which features bright pink braids that contrast beautifully with jet-black hair.

Back view of woman with dip-dyed pink cornrows
Raimonda Kulikauskiene/Getty Images
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Dutch Braids

Braids don’t always have to be intricate to create a stunning hairstyle. This style features four simple Dutch braids, smoothed and plaited to perfection and then looped to form a dainty yet daring look.  

Woman with dutch braids hairstyle
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Multi-Braid Ponytail

Why settle for just one braid when you can have five? Think of this hairstyle as the ultimate ponytail upgrade. It’s classic and trendy and allows you to get creative. Plus, it’s easy to recreate.  

Back view of woman with a multi-braid ponytail
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images
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Knotless Braid

There’s no denying the allure of knotless braids. Their versatility allows for a range of hairstyles, and their longevity allows you to wear them for months. Whether you choose to wear them down, tie them up into a high ponytail, or do a half-up, half-down style, you won’t be disappointed with your decision to get them. 

Woman wearing high knotless braided ponytail and black dress
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Twisted Pigtails

Pigtails aren’t usually thought of as a sophisticated style, but this twisted version begs to differ. The hair is slicked back to create a sleek effect that extends to the plaits. Despite the intricacy of the hairstyle, it’s simple to put together. After braiding your hair into two low pigtails, twist them together, crossing one over the other, and allow the ends to hang loose. Just be sure to secure the middle with pins to keep the style in place.

Back view of woman with a twisted ponytails hairstyle and wearing a white shirt
Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images
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Braided Pattern and Bun

A top bun is a staple hairstyle, but this artsy version is in a lane of its own. The hair is plaited into six thin braids from the nape of the neck upward and then crisscrossed to create a pattern effect. It’s simple but captivating and adds an artistic feel to an otherwise plain bun. 

Back view of woman with a patterned braid and bun hairstyle
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are a work of art all their own. But if you want to up the ante, try adding in a few long cornrows between the parts and letting them drape softly over your shoulders.

Woman with a bantu knot hairsyle wearing gold earrings
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Cornrowed High Ponytail

Cornrows can be just as refined as they are cool. For a timeless look, try a cornrowed high ponytail. Not only does it snatch and show off the dimensions of your face, but the added height also elongates your neck.

Side view of woman in sunglasses with a high cornrow braid ponytail
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

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