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15 Braided Hairstyles to Copy ASAP

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Can we just give a moment of appreciation to the hairstyle that always (always!) impresses? They’re the genius solution to several day old hair, a chic way to step up your go-to updo, no heat wavemakers, and probably a bajillion more hacks yet to be discovered. Braids, we love you—and not just for your utility, but how you’ve helped us express our creativity, heritage, and ever-changing moods for basically ever. They can be found just about everywhere, from gyms to red carpets, and range in complexity from quick pigtails to hours-long salon visits. So, if you’ve been itching to break free from that everyday pony, we’ve rounded up some serious braided hairstyle inspo—along with tips straight from the braid expert, Justine Marjan. Keep scrolling for all the eye candy.

A close-up image of a red-haired model rocking pink eyeshadow look and messy fishtail braids

1. FLUFFED UP FISHTAIL BRAID

Haven’t flexed your braid skills since 2002? Same, but there’s hope. “A regular 3 strand braid and fishtail braid are perfect for braid newbies,” says Marjan. So, watch a quick tutorial during your 10-step skin routine and you’ll be a pro in no time. 

A closeup image of Lucy Boynton rocking a braided short hairstyle

Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

2. SHORT HAIR

Shorties, rejoice. Your adorable choppy bob does not mean sacrificing versatility—proof is in this simple yet elegant braid combo on Lucy Boynton.

A close-up image of Lupita Nyong'o rocking a bold eyeshadow look, twisted top and cornrows hairstyle, and statement dangling earrings

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Accessories Council

3. STATEMENT UPDO

With petite cornrows on the sides and beautifully intricate twists up top, we love how this braided updo on Lupita Nyong'o brings her whole look (Statement earrings! Epic eye makeup!) together.

A close-up image of a model with a crown braid hairstyle

4. HALF CROWN, HALF DOWN

Beachy texture and detail—get the best of both worlds with this half-up take on a crown braid. This style is fab on two or three day hair that’s seen its fair share of dry shampoo.

A close-up image of a curly-haired model with partly hidden braids

5. CURLY PEEKABOO BRAID

We love the way this braid adds extra dimension to curls. When braiding with curlier hair types, Marjan recommends using a bit of oil on the hands to keep things frizz and tangle free. Ready to braid? “Choose a section and work solely on that area to avoid messing up the curl texture when braiding,” she advises.

A close-up image of a red-haired model's bubble braids with flower stems

6. BRAIDS IN BLOOM

Extend the life of an aging bouquet by popping a few blooms into your braid—like this bubble braid (a three-strand braid/bubble ponytail hybrid), which hides elastics to secure your stems. Pro tip: “Spray the flowers with hairspray before use so they don’t fall apart,” recommends Marjan.

An image of a blonde model showing her braids interlaced with a white and lilac floral scarf

7. WRAPPED UP

Add color and length all in one go with the help of a dainty scarf and clip-in extensions. “Just clip them where the base of the braid will be sitting so the clip doesn’t show,” Marjan says about placement. We’ll for sure be trying this out at brunch.

A close-up image of Yara Shahidi in a yellow tube dress rocking a braided side high pony tail hairstyle

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

8. ASYMMETRI-COOL

Yara Shahidi’s braided side pony is so chic. The sleek base and off-center placement give the perfect contrast to let those braids shine bright.

A close-up image of a blue-eyed model showing her pearl studded loose braids

9. PEARL STUDDED

Fine hair types shy away from braids for many reasons: slippage, bulky elastics, lack of fullness—to name a few. Don’t worry, Marjan says it’s all about technique. “I always keep a gel or pomade on my finger tips when I’m braiding for hold and control,” she noted. “If the hair can support it, you can gently tease the ends and seal with hairspray for a seamless finish.” Problems = solved.

An image of Tessa Thompson showing her very long braided pig tail hairstyle

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

10. RAPUNZEL LENGTH

Tessa Thompson with the jaw-dropping length FTW. Reminiscent of something between a Disney character and Sade’s iconic look, this pair of braids gives equal parts playfulness and sophistication.

A close-up image of Jess Weixler's infinity braids hairstyle

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

11. INFINITY BANDS

Okay, we might need a little (okay, a lot) of practice to master these epic infinity braids on Jess Weixler—but it’s good to have goals, right? The texture, attention to detail, and straight up awe factor have us ready to learn.

A close-up image of Olivia Wilde's Boho braided bun hairstyle

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

12. BOHO LOW BUN

Beauty is in the imperfections. A few loose strands, a bit of fuzz, and a heap of braids come together for this perfectly undone braided bun on Olivia Wilde.

An image of Kerry Washington in a dark gold dress showing her long twisted hairstyle adorned with accessories

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

13. EMBELLISHED TWISTS

We love an accessory moment and these cuffs, rings, and high-shine jewels on Kerry Washington’s twists have us eyeing our costume jewelry with pliers to see if we can DIY this sitch ASAP.

An image of a red-haired model showing her loose twists and braids

14. FACE-FRAMING

Face-framing braids are an easy way to keep your hair loose and add a little edge—we’d totally pair this with any of these festival looks. The trick to keeping the placement looking natural, not awkward, requires a little engineering. “Don't make them too tight around the face so they lay flat against the head. As you braid, direct the braid forward towards the face so the hairline is even,” Marjan enlightens us.

An image of Storm Reid's top bun and braids embellished with statement hair clips

Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for The LadyLike Foundation

15. PARTY BUN

Bun in the front, braids in the back—and a sparkly message to boot. Storm Reid’s style def turns heads. Fun fact: Marjan designed these clips herself!

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About the author
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Hannah Cassidy
Hannah is a beauty editor at IPSY and has been creating content for fashion, beauty, and wellness in Los Angeles for over five years. Outside of the beauty world, she’s an avid vintage collector and dog mom to Pumpkin and Turtle.
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Article Last Updated April 8, 2020 12:00 AM