The seasons are changing, and along with it, the trends. Honestly, is there anything more fun than changing up your look? And the easiest way to do that is with a new do. If you’re considering braids, you have a lot of options to choose from. There are natural hair looks for any event, occasion, and (of course) season, and you can add accessories to make the look even more festive for when the holidays roll around.
From unique braided hairstyles, classic braided updos, and other next-level hairdos, there’s something for every personality and lifestyle.
What are braided hairstyle ideas for Black women?
There are many reasons to consider a braided style when it’s time for a hairstyle change. Braid styles can last a long time with little maintenance. Plus, they’re protective hairstyles, so they support in shielding hair from damage.
Here are a few different braided styles Black women can rock the socks off of this season (and always).
Box braids get their name from their boxy style, as they’re divided into square divisions. They’re looser than other braided styles, which allows for several possible updos and configurations, and they typically last up to two months without much maintenance. Box braids are sectioned off into square areas of hair, and there is often synthetic hair added for thickness. Rather than laying parallel to the scalp like other types of braids, box braids tend to come out further.
Box braids have cultural significance, as well. According to Ebony.com, they can be traced back to African women in the Nile Valley over 3,000 years ago, and since then, they’ve been worn in numerous cultures and throughout generations in Africa and the Caribbean. However, they didn’t truly become popular in the US until singer Janet Jackson wore them in the 1990s.
Consider long box braids, knotless braids, short box braids, and other box braid adaptations to fit your hair length, personal style, and seasonal needs.
Cornrows are very similar to box braids, and the two natural hairstyles are often used interchangeably. Still, there are important differences that set these styles apart. Cornrows are styled close to the scalp, and like box braids, they last for a long time without much maintenance. The traditional style of cornrows is in straight parallel lines, but there are many geometric styles and designs available, too.
The first depictions of cornrows appeared in Stone Age paintings as far back as 3,000 BC, in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara. They have also appeared in Native American paintings 1,000 years ago. (Braids in general were first depicted on statues from more than 25,000 years ago). This style has held cultural, religious, and social significance throughout history. It has also played an important role in recent African-American history, both socially and politically, with the passing of the CROWN Act.
Braided ponytail options abound. Large ponytails that start either high from the crown of the head or low at the base of the neck are always gorgeous. Smaller twist braids can also be wrapped into a ponytail. Braided ponytails are incredibly versatile and look great adorned with beads and charms in autumnal colors. Try out a jumbo ponytail braid or jumbo box braids in a high pony.
A braided bun makes for a nice alternative to the classic ponytail. Not only does it keep hair off the nape of the neck (ideal in warmer weather or if a hot flash strikes), but it allows for mixing and matching braided styles. To execute this look, twist a box braid up into a bun, run a braid along the center or outside of a top knot, or pin a low chignon for those black-tie events. There’s a beautiful braided bun design for every autumnal event.
The half-up style is tidy and easy to maintain, but also very feminine. This updo hairstyle allows simple looks like pulling the top half of braids into a bun or ponytail, or you can create an elegant braided crown along the top section of the hair. These half-up or half-down looks can be styled with many different sizes and types of braids.
A French braid is a type of braid that weaves hair in with every loop. Typically, they start near the crown of the head with three small pieces of hair. With each piece of hair that crosses over the braid, more hair is added, allowing the French braid to be either as tight to the scalp or as loose and messy as you like. Choose a traditional French braid, two tight braids that loop over the ears, or one French braid that wraps around the back of the hair for a side braid. French braids or French plaits can be styled in a lot of ways, but they all help to keep hair out of the eyes and comfortably contained without sacrificing style.
Crochet braiding — sometimes called latch hook braiding — uses a crochet sewing hook to feed in or add hair extensions into the braid, which is how it gets its name. This style is very useful for transitioning between hairstyles or methods, and it can last for several weeks without much upkeep. The extensions are applied to cornrow braids (which makes the process much faster than other braids), and they can be used for all different types of hair textures and lengths. With crochet braids, there are a lot of options to pick from, including faux locs, crochet box braids, and Havana or Senegalese twists.
Ghana braids have a similar appearance to cornrows due to their straight, parallel lines. They are a type of protective braid that goes straight back from the crown of the head to the neck, and they can be left loose or pulled into a bun or braid at the bottom. Although known for their thickness, the styling of Ghana braids can vary. Both microbraids and chunky braids work well here. They’re also a useful style for updos and braided crowns.
A braided bob is a gorgeous style for short hair. Typically, this style is created using box braids — and like box braids, the braided bob is a throwback to the iconic looks of the 1990s and early 2000s. An edgier version is found in the asymmetrical braided bob with a sharp edge or a pop of bold color.
The crown braid offers several different styles and options. The circle braid — as the name indicates — creates a perfect circle on the top of the head, which is why it’s a wise pick for long hair. It can also be shaped into a halo crown or halo braid (where two long braids are wrapped around the hair and then pinned in place for a halo effect). Add accessories like filigree cuffs or beads to make it sparkle.
A fishtail braid uses an inverse weaving technique. The hair is first divided into two sections. A strand from one of the sections is then swept to the other section. This is repeated on the other side, and then repeated again and again until the hair in both sections is woven into what looks like a fishtail.
The ‘Hair’ Necessities
When it comes to trendy braided hairstyles for Black women, the possibilities are endless. Braids are a great choice for low-maintenance hairstyles that protect hair in the autumn chill and last for a long time. You won’t need to think about your hair again until after the Thanksgiving turkey has been served! Better still, there are a lot of braided hairstyle options available, including top knots, updos, braided buns, and braid crowns. Protective styles, Bantu knots, Fulani knots, goddess braids, and crisscross braids are additional options.
Adjust your preferred braid style for color, volume, and accessories — just make it wonderfully, perfectly you!