Running out of hairstyle ideas for your short strands? Check out our quick guide to braids for short hair! We’ll show you the cutest style examples, give you tips and tricks to make braiding short hair easy, and walk you through the steps to create a few of our favorite short braided styles.
Why We Love Braids for Short Hair
- Braided styles are fast, easy, and practical
- Shake up your look with boho, messy, or polished braided styles
- Braids expand the number and types of styles you can do with short hair
Short hair, from ultra-cropped pixie cuts with extra length on top to shoulder-length swingy bobs, can transform your look and make you excited to style your hair – at first.
It doesn’t take long before your favorite short hairstyles start to get a little stale and stagnant. That’s where braids for short hair come in! Short braided styles are the easiest way to shake up your stylebook without spending a ton of extra time styling and primping your strands.
They don’t take long to do, and once you’ve mastered the braiding basics (3-strand braid, French braid, fishtail braid, and waterfall braid), you’ll find that you’ve always got a pretty style up your sleeve for any occasion.
Braids are a great way to change up your look if you’ve hit the hairstyle doldrums lately. With your current short length and a little inspiration, you can try new looks that suit whatever vibe you’re going for! You can try polished, chic braids, messy boho braids, or simple, laid-back styles to suit your style for any occasion.
Since braids are often associated with long locks, it’s easy to forget that woven braided styles work just as well for short strands. But they definitely do, and these plaited looks might be exactly the breath of fresh air you need to fall in love with your short length again!
Below, we’ll show you some of our favorite examples of braids for short hair. From ultra-simple half-up 3-strand braids and faux braided looks with some special tricks to more intricate, protective styles, we’ve got tons of styles for you to check out next.
14 Cute Braids for Short Hair You Need to Try
Expand your hairstyle repertoire with 14 new braids for short hair! You’ll see styles below that can work for different lengths, from long-top pixies and chin-length bobs to shoulder-length lobs.
Find inspiration for new ways to style your short strands and see how easy it is to pull off a new look with the help of versatile braiding techniques!
1. Mini Half-Up Side Braid
French braiding the thinner side of a side part is such a cute and effortless way to look put together in minutes. Part your hair into a deep side part and French braid toward the back in a straight line just past your ear. Secure with a bobby pin or small elastic to finish.
2. Twin Downward Cascade Braids
Start your braid above the ear and leave a piece out of each weave as you pick up another, forming a cute waterfall cascade in the pattern. Braid downward toward the center back and repeat on the other side so the braids meet. This braided style looks awesome with wavy or curly texture to fill out the rest!
3. Loose Half-Up Braids With Bangs
Make any shoulder-length cut easy to style by adding two simple 3-strand braids that meet in the back! Start the braids above your ears to leave your bangs and face-framing pieces out. This looks so cute with a bright color combo that highlights the texture of the braid.
4. Ultra-Short Faux Braid Curls
Structured curls can help you fake a French braid with super-short hair that’s difficult to braid. Create your defined curls with a curling iron (apply mousse/gel and heat protectant first) and use bobby pins to make the faux braid. Pin curls back into the loose shape of a braid along the top sides and let the bottom curls hang freely.
5. Pompadour Top Braid With Bun
Sectioning off a strip on top is an easy way to create a cute, braided style on short hair! Create your section and French braid straight back to the crown, then secure with a small elastic to hold. Twist the rest of the braid’s tail into a coil and twirl it around the base of the elastic to form a little bun and secure with a couple bobby pins.
6. Half-Up Waterfall V-Braid
Waterfall braids (sometimes called cascade braids) leave out alternating pieces in a basic French braid weave to create this cute effect. Create 2 waterfall braids – one from each side – and weave them to meet in the back, forming a V-shape. This is a great option for most chin-length and longer cuts.
7. Short Goddess Braids
Goddess braids, like goddess locs, have loose, curly ends that give them a laid-back look that’s perfect for any occasion. Choose a pretty color if you want something a little different, and work in creative accessories like these colored metal bands, jewels, or metallic strands! You’ll love how flirty they look in a short length.
8. Short Side Part French Braid
Taking a small triangular slice near the front hairline to create a medium-width French braid is simple and so pretty on short hair. Create a clean section with a rattail comb and remove all tangles.
Then, French braid the hair backward toward the crown. Secure with a small, clear elastic for a braid that keeps your hair perfectly parted and looks great on all hair types!
9. Chic Braid Headband
Braid headbands make it easy to pull together a chic look quickly – even if you don’t have expert braiding skills or super long hair! Grab a faux braid headband in a color close to yours and pop it on like a crown over your short style for an instant upgrade.
10. Gilded Box Braids
Box braids require neatly sectioning off your hair into small, square sections. You’ll braid each section down as close to the ends as you can get, then loop or simply wrap the ends with elastics. Gold extensions add to the wow factor, but this style doesn’t need them to protect your strands and give you a unique look!
11. One-Sided Half Braids
A quick way to make a short haircut like a long-top pixie look polished for special events is pinning or braiding one side back. We love how one-sided half braids (cornrows) give an elegant touch to a short haircut with a little length left on top! A rattail comb helps create precise sections for the most polished look.
12. Half-Back Cornrows
Another cute idea for braiding short hair is doing tight, half-back cornrows. This can work with any texture or strand thickness, and you can adjust the braids to be as skinny or thick as you want! Use a rattail comb to cleanly section it off, then braid back to the crown before securing with a small elastic.
13. Recessed French Braid With Pop of Color
Tuck a single French braid into any short style for a little extra interest and texture, especially if you’ve got peekaboo color to show off. Create your braid just above one ear to leave any bangs and face-framing pieces forward and secure it behind the ear with a small elastic for staying power.
14. Triple Half-Up Braids
If half-up braids feel a little too basic, add in 2 more for a unique take on the style! Triple half-up braids use the same foundation – create a deep side part and braid small sections back to just behind your ear.
For this look, use a comb to section off 3 equal slices to create pretty braids that can take on an edgy look with the right outfit and accessories.
Tips and Things to Consider With Braids for Short Hair
Braids for short hair are easier when you know all the tips and tricks for pulling these styles off. Here’s what we wish we knew – and what you’ll be glad to know – about braiding short hair.
- Master a few types of braids. The basic 3-strand braid is the simplest and the root of many braided styles (box braids, baby braids, half-up, etc.), but it’s only the beginning of the many types of braids you can try with short hair. Take some time to master other braid types, like the fishtail and waterfall braid, to expand your style repertoire and find more ways to wear your short hair.
- Make sure your hair is long enough to braid. Braids work well on short hair, but the longer it is, the easier you’ll find it is to weave. Hair should be a minimum of 2 inches long to braid for a pro, but if you’re a beginner braider, it should be closer to 4-5 inches. The hardest part is getting and keeping a good grip on super-short strands, so use a little gel in your hair while it’s damp for better grip and work on smaller, tighter braids if your hair is super short.
- Don’t be afraid to fake it. If your hair is super short and you’re finding it difficult to braid it, don’t be afraid to fake it ‘til you make it. Faux braids are easy to do with creative strand placement and bobby pins. Criss cross, roll, or twist strands to create a braid-like effect and pin into place with hairspray for staying power. Or opt for faux braid hair pieces like braid headbands to get the look without any extra effort!
- Invest in a few helpful braiding accessories. Braiding is a lot easier when you have the right accessories! A rattail comb is helpful to create clean, neat sections for braids and to remove any small tangles before you braid. Small, clear elastics are perfect to secure braids for short hair and won’t look as obvious in the finished style. Hairspray and texturizing powder or dry shampoo can help fine hair stay secure in a braid. Accessories like metal cuffs, small faux flowers, colored foil strands, hair clips, and beads are great for creative braids with a little more pizzazz.
- When in doubt, try a half-up braided style. Short hair that reaches near the shoulders can rock almost any type of braid, but shorter lengths can be difficult to weave and plait. Opt for a half-up braided style if you can’t make French braid or waterfall styles work with your length. Just braid pieces of the front and secure them together where they meet in the back!
Braids for short hair don’t have to be intricate or time-consuming. We compiled some of the best braided styles for short hair that include simple, 2-step styles like half-up 3-strand braids and low-effort, polished styles like basic side part French braids.
Some of the more challenging styles, like half-back cornrows and box braids, take a little more time to finish but stay put for a while and are more than worth the effort!
It’s great to have a handy list of cute braids for short hair that you can pull from anytime you’re itching to try a new look without making a major change to your mane.
If you can master a few types of braids and grab some of the helpful braiding accessories we covered (rattail comb, clear elastics, hairspray, dry shampoo, etc.), you’ll find that braiding your short hair is simple and fun.
These are styles you’ll return to week after week when you want a look that’s elegant and polished, fun and messy, or laid-back and low-effort. Happy styling!