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Braids for Black Women | Complete Style Guide

Looking for cute, classic, and trendy braids for black women? You’re in the right place. We’ll show you examples to inspire your next look and share tips to consider before you decide on the braids you like best!

Braids for Black Women: What You Need to Know

First things first, ladies – there are a few things we need to get straight before you start browsing photos and deciding on the braids you want to try next. When you choose a braided hairstyle, you essentially have 3 basic choices to make first. 

  1. Go all-natural or add weave?
  2. Flat braids or hanging braids?
  3. How long do you want to wear the braids?

All-Natural Hair vs. Weave/Extensions

Choosing between using your natural hair and adding in weave for extra length can be difficult. There are definitely pros and cons to each.

If you opt to have your natural hair braided, you may be limited on the length of your braids and that can also limit the types of styles you can do with them. Weaves and extensions can help add fullness and volume to braided styles. 

However, it’s cheaper, often faster, and easier to get braids without adding weave for extra length. Going all-natural will result in a more lightweight braided style that is less likely to put tension on your scalp and result in patchy hair loss. 

Flat Braids vs. Hanging Braids

When you’re making the choice between flat braids and hanging braids, the main thing to consider is how you plan on styling your hair. 

If you like to experiment with a lot of different looks and switch between updos and wearing your hair down, you’ll probably be happier with hanging braids. Hanging braids like box braids are attached to the head at the root and hang loosely from the attachment point.

This means you can usually style hanging braids much like you would loose hair.

And if you choose a hanging braid with open ends (loose, free-flowing weave), you can really mimic the look of free-flowing hair. If you like the “set it and forget it” rule when it comes to your hair, flat braids will be a better choice.

Flat braids are braided right against the head (like cornrows) to keep them secure and tightly in place. This type of braid is the most durable and won’t require much (or any) styling from you to look great.

If you like switching things up occasionally, you can opt for longer flat braids and style the hanging ends in a low bun, pigtails, 3-strand braids, and more. 

Durability and Installation Time

When you’re thinking about your next braid style, you’ll also want to think about how long they’ll last and how much time they’ll take to install. 

  • Box braids take 4+ hours and last 4-8 weeks, depending on how well you take care of them. 
  • Senegalese twists take 6+ hours and also last 4-8 weeks. 
  • Cornrows or feed-in braids might take anywhere from 1-3+ hours (depending on how intricate the pattern is) and last up to 2 weeks. 

You can see that cornrows or feed-in braided styles are the quickest to get done (as little as one hour), but have the least staying power with only 2 weeks of wear.

Box braids and Senegalese twists are able to last up to 2 months, but each of these braid types will take anywhere from 4 hours to more than 6 hours to complete. These are important things to think about as you make your decision! 

Braids for Black Women: 20 Examples We Love

The options are almost endless when it comes to braids for black women, so why is it so hard to decide on the braids you want to try next? Because there are just so many gorgeous styles to choose from! 

From flat braids that keep everything perfectly contained and in place to hanging braids with open ends that mimic free-flowing hair, when it’s time to pick out your new braids, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make.

The trouble is that we often pick a braid style or type that isn’t really a good fit for our needs and lifestyle. And we don’t often realize that’s the case until it’s too late. 

Don’t worry about it this time around because we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll see dozens of options for braids for black women.

We’ll talk more about the things you need to consider before settling on your favorite style so you can be sure you won’t end up with braids you hate. Ready for the fun part? Let’s take a look at some of the trendiest and most classic braids for black women! 

1. Trendy Halo Braids

Trendy Halo Braids for black women

Lucian Coman/Shutterstock

Halo braids are just what they sound like – a halo of braids that surround the head like an angelic crown. These heavenly plaits are built on a foundation of flat braids that extend outward from the crown in a spoke pattern. The larger braids they feed into wrap around the head three times to give you an aura that’s part angel, part queen. 

2. Cornrow Dutch Braids Into Low Bun

Cornrow Dutch Braids for black women Into Low Bun


Dutch braids sit on top of the hair to better show the bends and pattern of the plait. When you combine them with cornrows and finish the style in a chic but easy low bun, you’ve got a wear-anywhere style that never looks underdressed or overdone. 

3. Jumbo Senegalese Twists

Jumbo Senegalese Twists braids for black women

James Mosley/Shutterstock

Senegalese twists are always a popular type of braids for black women, but we especially love the jumbo or giant variety. The macro size of these braids really shows off the texture of each twist and adds a ton of volume. Add weave or extensions to this style to get this full, dense, high-volume look.

Read Next: Tribal Braid Ideas

4. Jumbo Box Braids

Jumbo Box Braids for black women

Jumbo box braids are perfect if you love the box braid style but want to do something a little bit different. You’ll need to use extensions to nail this mega-volume, full look.

Style them any way you’d like – these hanging braids can be worked into ponytails, buns, 3-strand braids, and half-up looks. Jumbo box braids are great for oval or elongated faces that need a boost in volume around the sides.  

5. Jumbo Mixed Color Box Braids

Jumbo Mixed Color Box Braids for black women


These jumbo box braids make use of yarn for interesting texture and colored extensions for a pop of purple vibrance. Like any box braid, you can wear this braid in a variety of styles, up or down.

Make sure you choose color(s) that will go with the colors you tend to wear the most – remember, box braids last up to 8 weeks with proper care and maintenance!  

6. Angled Ghana Braids

Angled Ghana Braids for black women

Matthias G. Zeigler/Shutterstock

If a side part was a braided hairstyle, it would look like this. It’s hard to see the opposite side, but the flat Ghana braids here are angled off to the side.

At the temple area, the braids change direction and point downward and back. You get the look of a deep side part without the headache of dealing with styling longer hair or extensions daily. 

7. Long Tree Braids

Long Tree Braids for black women


These long tree braids (which combine braids and loose extension hair) are one of the most versatile braided looks for black women. You get the best of both worlds.

You get the security and ease of box braids with the style options and free-flowing look of loose hair. This is a great look for anyone who loves to experiment with different styles and looks.  

8. Criss-Cross Sisterlocks Bun

Criss-Cross Sisterlocks Bun braids for black women


Sisterlocks – skinny dreadlocks formed with an interlocking tool – are a no-fail braided look for black women, and we love this version that finishes in a chic bun.

The locs are criss-crossed over each other in the front to create an interesting visual pattern. The rest of the hair is pulled up into a coiled bun to make this look appropriate for just about any occasion. 

9. Curvy Cornrows

Curvy Cornrows braids for women


The curvy, undulating pattern in these cornrows really makes this basic style into something special. The gentle S-shaped bends in the braids keep the eye moving across the head to take in the winding pattern.

If you like no-fuss braids that stay secure and won’t budge no matter what activity you’re doing, this is a pretty patterned style to try.  

10. Short Goddess Locs Bob

Short Goddess Locs Bob braids for black women


Short Goddess locs are one of the trendiest protective hairstyles for black women. Goddess locs are skinny dreadlocks with open ends that reveal loose, free-flowing extension hair. You get a lot of versatility with this style at longer lengths.

But even at the short bob length shown here, you have plenty of styling options. Change up your part, wear it half-up, scoop into a low bun, or pull into a ponytail or pigtails for different looks.  

11. Multicolor Senegalese Twist Messy Bun

Multicolor Senegalese Twist Messy Bun braids for black women

This is how you translate the popular messy bun into the world of intricate twists! Pops of vibrant color, different textures, feathers, and hardware transform a basic twist bun into something that feels more lively and fun. 

12. Straight-Back Cornrows Into Low Bun

Straight-Back Cornrows Into Low Bun braids for black women

WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

This chic braided style takes one of the oldest and most well-known braid styles, cornrows, to a new fashionable level. Straight-back cornrows keep all the focus and attention on your face and eyes, while the low bun at the nape of the neck polishes off the style. 

13. Medium Senegalese Twists

Medium Senegalese Twists braids for black women

Olesya Kuznetsova/Shutterstock

We’ve looked at jumbo Senegalese twists, and if those were a little too voluminous for you, the medium version is worth considering. These full-bodied twists still add volume and fullness (with the help of extensions) but in a more manageable size.

Like other hanging braids and twists, you have tons of options for styling medium Senegalese twists – pretty much any style you can do with free-flowing hair will work.

14. Skinny Ombre Dreadlocks

Skinny Ombre Dreadlocks braids for black women

G Allen Penton/Shutterstock

Ombre dreadlocks are a really popular look right now and give you the opportunity to play around with different colors. These microlocs are skinnier than traditional locs and the pop of pinkish red color makes them instantly noticeable. Wear in coiled buns overnight to create the heatless waves you see here. 

15. Box Braids With Honey Highlights and Hardware

Box Braids With Honey Highlights and Hardware braids for black women

Honey-highlighted box braids with metallic hardware accents – this is one of our favorite looks and we think you’ll love it, too.

Extensions will get you there in terms of length and fullness, so you can create this style with very short natural hair. Make sure to tell your braider where you usually part your hair so they can part and place the braid roots properly.  

16. Double Dutch Braids

Double Dutch Braids for black women


What’s better than one Dutch braid? Two! This double-Dutch braid style may have been popular in elementary school, but it’s back with a vengeance. The edges are slayed.

There is no frizz or flyaway to be found. The braids are thick, full, and shiny. This is a gorgeous look that won’t last as long as other braids, but will definitely do the trick for a weekend! 

17. Afro Puff With Criss-Cross Braids

Afro Puff With Criss-Cross Braids for black women


Criss-crossing can turn even basic braids into something more captivating and interesting. It’s a great way to add a little something special to a basic hairstyle like the afro puff.

Just have the front braided in the criss-cross pattern to end in your natural afro puff. It’s low-maintenance, celebrates your natural texture, and looks beautiful! 

18. Two-Toned Patterned Braids

Two-Toned Patterned Braids for black women


This two-toned style features straight-back cornrows with individual angled plaits running perpendicular to them. They are similar to Fulani braids in the front.

But they are attached to the head in the back (while Fulani braids hang loose in the back). The caramel-toned extensions create a warm pop of color in the braids for an added kick. 

19. Mini Mixed Color Box Braids

Mini Mixed Color Box Braids for black women


All the colors of the rainbow are present and accounted for here! Mini braids have such a cool visual texture and pattern – the smaller the braid, the more intricate it looks as a whole.

With colorful extensions worked into each microbraid, there’s a lot going on here and we are here for it. Style these hanging box braids just like you’d style your own loose hair – buns, ponytails, and larger braids are all cute possibilities. 

20. Mini Goddess Twists With Curly Ends

Mini Goddess Twists With Curly Ends braids for black women

Sam DCruz/Shutterstock

We’re big fans of these miniature Senegalese twists – you have to take a close-up look to really see all the texture and patterns happening.

The tiny twists create a neat pattern in the background, but the big curls that run from the midshaft to the ends are the focal point of this braided style. Curls add just the right amount of volume and texture to this easy-to-maintain style. 

Things to Consider

You’ve read about braids for black women and you’ve seen lots of examples of different ways you can rock plaited looks. Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you need to think about before you officially decide on the braided style you want to try next. 

  • Style possibilities: How much styling freedom do you want with your new hairstyle? If you want to try lots of different types of styles, opt for skinny dreadlocks, goddess locs, hanging braids, or a hanging twist style. If you want to wake up with pre-styled hair each morning, opt for flat braids or a partial flat braid style (like Fulani braids). 
  • How long they’ll last: Not all braids are plaited equally – some are tight styles that are meant to last a month or two, while others will begin to frizz and loosen up within 2 weeks. Single braids, double braids, and cornrows have the least durability – you can get up to 2 weeks of wear from these styles. Tighter, more intricate styles will last longer. Senegalese twists can give you about 4 weeks of wear while box braids can last up to 8 weeks with proper care and maintenance. 
  • Installation time: You also need to think about how long you’re willing to sit in that chair to get your braids done. The more intricate or small a braid style is, the longer it’ll take. Larger, more basic braids take the least amount of time to finish. Expect basic cornrows to take 1-3 hours (more for patterned or intricate cornrows), 4+ hours for box braids, and 6+ hours for full Senegalese twists. 
  • Pain and discomfort: Choosing braided styles that last the longest often means they’ll be the most uncomfortable to install and wear. If you’ve never gotten your hair braided before, or if it’s been a while, it’s important to know that there’s a degree of discomfort when your hair is being pulled tight to braid securely. You can pop an over-the-counter pain reliever ahead of time and rest easy knowing your new braids should be much more comfortable by day 2. 
  • Make them last longer: Making your new braids last longer is easy when you take steps from the start. Go ahead and grab a silk or satin pillowcase or bonnet to protect your braids while you sleep. Make sure you’ve got good moisture-heavy products to keep your braids hydrated and frizz-free. And go ahead and find hairstyles you can wear without tugging or roughing up your braids to further prolong wear time!  

There’s no limit to options when it comes to braids for black women. The natural texture, volume, and density of your hair makes braided styles a no-brainer.

Braids will protect your locks, amplify your natural texture, show off your volume and density, and give you a break from daily styling that can damage fragile natural hair. We hope you found a great new braid style from the dozens of options on our list.

Maybe you’ll decide on basic cornrows that keep your hair perfectly contained and polished from the gym to the office. Maybe trendy, flirty Goddess locs with loose and curly ends are more your speed. 

Whatever braid style you settle on, make the most of your new look by taking extra care with your hair and using nourishing, moisturizing products. Learn more about what your hair needs by finding out your curl type here: Your Guide to All 6 Curl Types: 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B, and 4C.  

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