Braided hairstyles have been in trend since forever. And looking at its current popularity, I am sure that this trend is here to stay. With changing times, the approach to black braided hairstyles has also changed. People are continuing to reinvent old, timeless, classic braided hairstyles.
Not sure which braided hairstyle will perfectly complement your personality? You are not alone. There are so many options that it can be tough to choose the right style. To make your life easy, I’ve done the hard part for you. After checking out hundreds of hairstyles for hours, I’ve narrowed it down to just 20 styles.
But before I write down the list, let me explain why braids are much more than just a trendy, glamorous hairstyle.
Braids and Haircare: How Braided Hairstyles Protect Our Hair
A protective hairstyle like braids can take hours to create. However, once done properly, your hair will remain protected from harsh environmental factors like heat and moisture for months. Braids are the smartest solution to tame frizzy hair.
Once you braid your hair, forget the fuss of combing and brushing your hair for days. Compared to any other hairstyle, it virtually requires zero maintenance. Add to that, neatly twisted braids prevent hair damage and split ends as well.
It’s not just about the protection. Afro braided hairstyles can add a whole new dimension to your overall appearance. When the styling is done right, you are bound to attract admiring glances in public.
The part I love the most about braided hairstyles is the freedom to be creative. You can be as much creative as you want to achieve your dream look. From simple box braids to more intricate braids embellished with highlights, clips, and cuffs, the options are endless.
We, humans, are experimenting with braids hairdo for ages. Braided hairstyles have become an integral part of many cultures throughout history.
Braided hairstyles have a very interesting history, actually. Before I move on to the current braid trends, I feel you should know how it all began.
The Intriguing History of Braided Hairstyles
Braids have been worn by both men and women throughout history. Back then, braids were an indication of ethnicity, age, tribe’s name, marital status, religion, power, and financial status.
Contrary to popular belief, Africans are not the sole inventor of braided hairstyle. Venus of Willendorf, the famous female figurine worn braided hair. The artifact was found in Austria and was created between 28,000 BCE-25,000 BCE. That’s almost 30,000 years back!
African tribes, however, were to first to wear “cornrows” in 3500 BC, the braid trend we are still crazy about. Himba tribe of Namibia are the original trendsetters. Braiding hair was a way of socializing for them. Since braiding is a time-consuming job, people would utilize that time to socialize. Young children would watch and learn this art from their elders and then practice with their peers. What a great time to be alive!
Not just Namibia, ancient Egyptians were also fond of braids. Cleopatra was known for her complex and jaw-droppingly beautiful braided hair. Braids were a symbol of social status in ancient Egypt. While royals donned intricate, luxurious braids, common folks wore simple braids.
Black community made braids a huge trend all over the world between 1960-1970. Men, women, elders, kids, everyone wanted to braid there hair. Braided hairstyles were a symbol of protest against conventional, Euro-centric beauty standards.
Popular public figures like Stevie Wonder took the popularity to a whole new level in the 1990s. Braids made a bold statement. It was fresh, different, unabashedly bold and mindblowingly fashionable.
Enough about the history. Now let’s come back to the present. What began as a humble social art ages ago is one of the biggest fashion trends today.
What do celebrities like Nandi Madida, Nomuzi Mabena, Jason Derulo, ASAP Rocky have in common? Immense talent and of course, iconic braided hairstyles.
Latest Black Braided Hairstyle Trends You Need to Be Aware of
Keeping up with the latest hairstyle trends is not easy. Trends keep changing overnight in this age of social media. Knowing what’s trending and what’s not will help you quickly decide which style to choose.
Talking about changing trends, here are a few popular black braided hairstyle trends for inspiration.
Boxy Braids: A Unisex Braided Hairstyle with Universal Appeal
It is so popular because it’s low maintenance and suitable for almost all hair types. The name box braid is quite self-explanatory. The braids look like tiny, square-shaped boxes. It does take a lot of time, and patience to get the look right.
However, once done right, it can last for months. It is a classy braided look, suitable for all seasons and occasions. Box braids are loved by both men and women. You can also modify the braid to your preference by experimenting with the size and length.
Tight Cornrows: A Timeless Classic Reinvented
Cornrows are the go-to choice for both men and women with medium length to long hair. It is easier to achieve tight cornrows if your hair has a thick texture and is naturally straight.
For women, cornrows are a rather casual braided style that goes with any outfit. On the other hand, men often prefer this style to keep hair out of the way while working out or playing sports. To add a little intricacy to plain cornrows, you can combine it with fades and man buns.
Rope Braid: For the Unorthodox and the Unconventional
Men who already have man bun braids can add a cool twist by roping the braids. Man bun rope braids are bold and hip. The best part is that the styling process isn’t super complicated. All you have to do is split your hair into sections, twist them and wrap them into a bun.
Twisted rope braids are a fad among women too. And why not? It is a rare combination of casual and bold. Twisting the hair strands makes the braids appear voluminous. It’s cute, comfortable and undoubtedly, the best braid trend for summer.
Loose Messy Boho Braids: For Those Who Like to Take It Easy
Loose, messy braids are ideal for the lovers of laid-back hairstyles. This gender-neutral braided style has been a huge trend for years. If you already have a man bun, wrap it into a loose braid to give a modern twist to this classy style.
Women, on the other hand, are adding their own contemporary twist to the classic French braids. By pulling the hair into a low messy bun, create a chic hairstyle suitable for both formals and casual outfits.
Beads and Flowers: Jazz up Your Regular Braids
Why settle for regular braids when you can spice up the look with colorful beads? These tiny, cute beads add a perfect definition to summer braided hairstyle. Beads go with anything, be it boxy braids, Boho chic or a fancy Fishtail braid.
Braids with flower crowns are a rage too these days among women. It’s a dream wedding hairstyle for many. And why not? This intricate hairdo looks so elegant, modern and cute at the same time.
A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Different Braiding Patterns
Now that you’ve learned about the popular trends, it’s time for more specific tips. In this segment, I will help you create different braid patterns with a few simple steps. All these hairstyles are gender-neutral. The basic steps are the same for both men and women.
Phase 1: Requirements for Creating Braided Hairstyles for Men and Women
The basic requirement for creating a stylish braided hairstyle is long and thick hair. The longer the hair, the more detail you can add to your braids. 5 to 8 inches hair is considered ideal for braiding.
However, that doesn’t mean braids are not possible with short to medium length hair (3-5 inches). You could weave your pompadour into a braid for a cool twist. It’s so classy and so fun at the same time.
Both naturally and chemically straightened hair is easy to deal with while braiding. Natural curls are also convenient to work with. However, if you have super thick, coarse and curly hair, you will need an expert’s help.
One pro tip, you should frequently wear loose braids to reduce strain on the scalp and hair follicles. Wearing tight cornrows for months may cause hair fall and thinning.
You will also need the following products to style your hair:
- A wide tooth wooden comb or hairbrush for clearly dividing your hair into a few sections.
- A hair spray to smooth the hair and tame the frizz.
- Hair mousse and serum to manage the tresses while styling.
- Hair bands, clips, and pins to for finishing off the look.
Phase 2: Easy Steps for Creating Different Braiding Patterns
Cornrows for Men
Step 1: If you have easily manageable hair, then you don’t need in prep work. Just take a shower and keep your hair slightly damp. For thick and super curly hair, you need to spray water to smooth it out.
Step 2: Map the area you want to style. Then take a comb and divide it into multiple sections. Comb the hair well to untangle the knots.
Step 3: Grab one chunk of hair. Make 3 equal sections. Start plaiting by crossing the rightmost section over the middle section. Then hold the leftmost section and cross it over to the middle section. Continue this alternate weaving pattern until you are done.
Step 4: Create multiple braids like this running across the top of your head. Each braid should have at least a ½ inch gap between them.
Step 5: Secure the braid with a hair band, bobby pin or clip.
This way, you can create a great base and then go for more experiments. You can gather your braids, pull it up and wrap them into a man bun for a more casual look.
Pair it up with side and back fades to add more drama to your cornrows. Do you want a bolder and hippier look? Top it off with technicolor ombre hues.
Cornrows/ Boxy Braids/ 3 Strand Braids for Women
Step 1: Gently comb your hair to clear the knots. Divide it into 3 equal sections.
Step 2: Press the leftmost section into the central section. And then cross the central section into the rightmost section. Continue this alternate flipping pattern until a braid is formed.
Step 3: Tie the ends with an elastic band.
Unisex French Braid
Step 1: Detangle your hair with a comb.
Step 2: Straighten the hair with a volumizing mousse and then blow-dry right before styling.
Step 3: Pull a thick chunk of tresses from the top-center of your head. Separate it into 3 even sections.
Step 4: Now make a regular braid pattern using these 3 sections. Keep doing it until you form 3-4 rows of stitch We will call it “C-stitch” for your convenience.
Step 5: In the second phase, start bringing in new hair from the left and right side. Pull your side tresses to form a new stitch with the C-stitch. It will create the classic intricate pattern French braids are famous for.
Step 6: Continue with this cross-over until the braid reaches your neck and you have no more hair left.
Step 7: Tie the ends with a hair band. You can wear the braid a little loose to make it look more voluminous.
Unisex Dutch Braid
To make it simple, let me tell you that it is just like a French braid, but in reverse.
Step 1: Detangle your hair with comb or hairbrush.
Step 2: Pull a chunk of hair from the center of your hair and divide it into 3 sections.
Step 3: Form 3-4 rows of stitches, but in reverse. Instead of flipping the side sections OVER the middle section, you will cross it UNDER the middle section.
Step 4: Now work in new hair from the two other sides of your head, just like we did for a French braid. Just remember to cross each section UNDER the mid-section. That’s it.
Step 6: Continue braiding until you have no more hair left to work with.
Step 7: Secure the ends with an elastic band.
Unisex Fishtail Braid
Step 1: Comb the hair to clear knots and tangles.
Step 2: Pull all your tresses and gather them into a ponytail.
Step 3: Divide your ponytail into two halves.
Step 4: Now grab a thin strand of hair from the outside of the left ponytailed section.
Step 5: Cross this thin strand over the left ponytailed section.
Step 6: Then tuck this thin strand under the right ponytailed section. Now, this strand is a part of your right ponytailed section.
Step 7: We have to do the same with the right side now. To do this, grab a thin strand of hair from the right side. Pull it across the right side of your ponytail.
Step 8: Tuck the right thin strand under the left ponytaiiled section. Now, this strand is a part of your left ponytailed section.
Step 9: Keep alternating sides till the end and secure the ends with a band. Cut off the elastic band you used for binding the ponytail in the beginning.
Phase 3: Black Braided Hairstyle Care and Maintenance Tips for Men and Women
Keeping such an elaborate braid pattern intact takes some work. Since women usually have longer hair than men, they should wear silk or satin scarf on your head while going out. It will prevent your braids from frizzing up.
Both men and women should hydrate your scalp with natural oils and leave-in conditioners once in a while. Wash the scalp with a dry wash shampoo once or twice a week. Lastly, keep reinstalling your braids along the edges in every 2-3 weeks to keep them fresh.
I hope, by now, you have learned how to braid your hair on your own. If are unable to do it on your own, you can always take the help of a friend or professional stylist.
Having all said and done, finally here comes the most awaited segment of this entire article. Based on all the latest braid trends, I have narrowed it down to 20 black braided hairstyles, 10 for men and 10 for women.
10 Rocking Black Braided Hairstyles for Men in 2020
Men love fancy braids just as must as women do. With the changing times, intricate patterns, embellished with beads, multicolor hues, buns are becoming more socially acceptable. The choice of weaving pattern should depend on hair length and texture.
Based on the current trending styles, here are the top 10 men’s braided hairdos to try this season:
Long Box Braids with Fade
Cornrows, side fades, and bun- this hairstyle combines all the 3 elements. I love how every two sections of cornrows are well-defined with clear gaps in between. This style could perfectly complement your formal outfit.
Edgy Box Braids
Instead of forming box braids from the scalp, you can create the braids from the sides. It will automatically form a bricklayer pattern on the root. A hairstyle perfect for all seasons.
Creating multiple braids with thin strands of hair takes a lot of time, skill and patience. You will need to employ a professional stylist for this. However, the hard work will pay off at the end. It makes your braids look neat, shiny and also prevents hair thinning.
Box Braids with Extensions
Some of us don’t have the patience to grow an 8-inch long hair. You can always use extensions to get the extra length. With extensions, you can wear bold and exquisite plaits just like the model in the picture. Tying the long braids into a messy bun will add a splash of drama to it.
French Braid with Bun
Weave the French braid pattern on top your head (I have already added specific instructions in the previous section). Now, instead of working all the way down, stop braiding exactly where you want to tie the bun. Mark the point and twist your French braid into a knot. Easy peasy. You can also jazz up the look by experimenting with hair colors on the braids.
Mixed Pattern Braids
If you have medium to long hair, add an interesting twist by combing straight and wavy pattern box braids. Use lots of bobby pins to hold the shape of your braids. The style is simple to create but the final look will definitely make you go “wow!”.
Braids with Leaf Design
This one is bold and stylish. Pair up the regular cornrows with a leafy razor design on your head. To finish off the look, wrap your braids into a bun. You are all set!
Double Braided Mohawk
If you already have a mohawk, you can take it up a notch by adding double braids on both sides of your head. Use a quirky blue, red or multicolor ombre hues on the double braids to make it look more interesting.
Double Dutch Braids with Middle Parting
Since we are topic of double braids, here’s another fun idea to add a contemporary twist to the classic Dutch braid. Form two braids with a sharp middle parting. Tie the twin braids into a top-knot bun for a more precise look. This style is great for accentuating your face shape.
If you are brave enough to spend hours creating multiple fishtails braids, this one is for you. As you can see in the picture, there’s a large fishtail braid in the middle, combined with tiny fishtails on both sides. It’s a great choice for men with long hair who love casual and laid-back braids.
10 Gorgeous Black Braided Hairstyles for Women in 2020
Women’s braids are generally more complex, elaborate and luxurious in design. It goes without saying that the longer your hair, the more you can experiment. The hairstyles listed below are all about playing with different textures and sizing.
Medium Box Braids
It is the ultimate box braid style for women out there who find beauty in simplicity. Create multiple braids with different thickness and finish off with braids cuffs and beads.
It’s a great hairdo for summers when you want to give your hair extra protection. Pull all your braids and form a top-knot bun. It’s rustic, elegant and casual at the time.
The Classic Crown Braid
Crown braid, also known as halo braid, could be your go-to style for wedding ceremonies and parties. Create two Dutch braids on each side of your head. Wrap each braid around your head one by one and secure them with bobby pins. Voila! You are ready to rock your crown braid.
Wild, sassy and stunning- these are the words that come to my mind when I see this hairstyle. There are 3 main elements in this style. One, the top knot bun made of twisted, highlighted braids. Two, the braids left loose on the sides. Three, the gorgeous parting pattern in the middle section. You can never go wrong with wild, big buns.
Beach-perfect Straight Fishtail Braid
It is an awesome braided hairstyle to wear in summer when you are headed to the beach. It will keep long, loose hair out of the way. I have already laid down instructions on how to create a fishtail braid. Don’t forget to tie up the bottom. It will keep the fishtail intact for a long time. I’d suggest using blonde highlights for this style. It goes great with black hair.
Tucked Flat Twisted Updo
Twists are natural and easy to experiment with. Create multiple flat twists with clearly marked gaps in between. Wrap them around and you’re all set. The hairdo looks intricate but is actually quite simple to create. It also puts minimal pressure on the hairline, thus preventing hair damage.
Long Lemonade Braids
This is one of the coolest ways to wear long braids with a deep side part. Experiment with different textures, patterns, and highlights. These will make the braids more visually appealing. You can also add beads and braid cuffs to glam it up. From house parties to formal events, this look is ideal for any occasion.
Big Bun and Side Swept Bangs
Another ravishingly beautiful braided hairdo for a wedding. Make the most special day of your life more special with this elaborate, elegant and artistic style. You can work with hair extensions for this if you have short hair.
Weave them into their box or French braid. To complete the look, you need to form multiple layers of braids and neatly wrap them around. To finish off accessorize the braids with cuffs.
Double cornrows are getting increasingly popular among teens these days. This stylish and chic braided hairstyle is a perfect fit for women with super long and thin hair. Twin cornrows will make your hair appear more voluminous.
I love to gently loosen up the braids to give it a more bohemian look. Side fishtails give your long, unmanageable tresses a clean look. To add more fun, you can embellish the side fishtail with flowers. Believe me, it is going to earn you a lot of compliments.
I have been braiding the hair of my mother, sisters, and cousins since I was a child. It is more than just a hairstyle for me. It’s an art form. It is my way of bonding with my family. The hairstyle you choose should reflect your personality.
Invest in quality hair products to keep your braids in great condition. Don’t be afraid to try out new styles. It’s your hair and you are allowed to style in whichever way you want. Stay happy, stay crazy!