African braids have always been known to be beautiful on women of all races. This braiding comes in different styles of hairdo, ranging from cornrows to box braids, knotless braids, and many more. In recent times, African braids have been trending; millions of women now prefer to lock their hair up in braids as against fixing weave-on or carrying their natural hair.
The advantages of braiding the hair are quite numerous and it benefits both women and even men who are not averse to wearing braids. For one, it will save you the hassle of having to comb and tidy your hair all the time, and for those that fixed weave-on, they will have to go to the trouble of constantly maintaining it. Again, braiding will save your hair from breakage, especially if it is a knotless braid, and there are a whole lot of other benefits.
African Conrow Braids Hairstyles
Also known as cornrows, these are among the oldest traditional braiding styles of African origin. Here, the braider braids the hair close to the wearer’s scalp with an underhand, upward motion/movement to create continuously, raised rows. As the name implies, most cornrows come in simple straight rows or lines, however, it is also possible to style them in curvilinear or elaborate geometric designs.
Both males and females can wear cornrows and you can get the best out of your cornrow by adorning it with beads, cowry shells, or hair cuffs. The duration for making cornrows differ depending on the size you decide to section the air, and after making, the size will still determine how long it’s going to last. The tiny styles would naturally last longer than the big and bolder ones.
1. Dynamic Side-Swept Cornrows
These dynamic side-swept cornrows are medium-sized and as the name implies, the rows are dynamically sectioned into four distinct parts. The front lines are visibly curvey, taking off from somewhere around the middle of the forehead and running through the left, round the back of the skull, to gather at the right side of the face.
Next comes two extra parts, in the middle, almost facing each other. While the front part runs down towards the right ear, the back one goes through the back to converge with the rest on the right. The remaining hair is just braided down to make a beautiful finishing with the others.
This style of hair is quite popular among African women, including African American women, thanks to its protective benefits. Once your hair is locked up in braids for a while, it will not only be free from heat, it will be equally free from manipulations for as long as you wear the braid, thus, protecting your hair from excessive breakage. This is one cute style with endless designs to explore.
2. Ghana Braids in a Bun
Ghana braids are beautiful enough but when you make them into cornrows, they are adorable. This big cornrow style in the picture is very simple and easy to make. With this style, the wearer doesn’t need to sit for long as the total number of rows on the entire head will not exceed eight.
All the rows are large except for the one after the first line which is relatively too tiny but it is all part of the style. Each of them took off from the front of the head towards the back, but the big row at the middle started towards the mid-skull. All the rows are directed to fall at the back in an all-black hairstyle. In the end, the tails are caught in a tidy bun which up-levels the game.
The most interesting part of the finishing for this style is the baby hairs in the front which are styled with gel and curled to stick towards the face with a fine brush. This chic and feminine hairstyle is just perfect for both bun and braiding enthusiasts.
3. Simple Small Cornrows
If you would love to have your cornrows that last longer, just make them into tiny lines. The one in the image is tinier than the medium-sized rows and has a major partition towards the middle. While the first part is weaved to run backward, the second part is directed sideways to the right and the resulting ponytail falls to cover the right side of the face, the right ear and back of the neck; the left ear will be left bare.
The style is made with very long attachment but if you are the type that doesn’t like long hair, you can choose to make it short and still end up with the same beautiful result. This hairdo can be worn anywhere, it is good for the office, you can grace occasions with it, and it can also be worn with casual attires.
Being a bit tiny means that the style will last longer than those big and bold cornrows that are designed to last for just a short while. What makes this hairdo great is that the wearer is at liberty to wear it in different styles. Twisted into a big bun or popped into a long ponytail it will look absolutely beautiful.
4. Highlighted Artistic Cornrows
It is true that cornrows are mostly made in straight lines, but you can spice it up with some twists and turns. You can choose to be artistic with your cornrow hairdo by trying out this criss-cross pattern. The sophisticated scalp braids come complete with an artistic design that is absolutely beautiful.
From the front, the hair is braided into crossing cornrows; two distinct rows cross each other at two points to feed into a line up of delicate braid at the back forming a long ponytail that falls downwards and draped across the neck.
The highlight of this hairdo is the blonde hair attachment used at the tip, giving it a completely different look from the ones made with one color. This kind of hairdo is sure to highlight the wearer’s facial features. This one is just perfect for special occasions.
5. Cornrows Into a Large Bun
These cornrows are designed in the shuku hairstyle with the lines running from the front, back, and sides, and converging at the middle of the skull. While the rows from the back are straight, the ones running from the front are a bit curvy, adding to its overall beauty.
The extra length at the middle is gathered in a ponytail and rolled into a large bun on top of the head. This hairdo is not just elegant, it is sure to add some extra height to the wearer, thus, ladies that are on the short side have a lot to gain from this “cornrow into a large bun” style.
What’s more, it gives the wearer a classic appearance that can be rocked to the office, events, and occasions. Adding a touch of chick wouldn’t be wrong for this style, a handful of cuff beads will do the trick.
6. Creative Blonde Cornrow Braids
This is a typical cornrow hairdo done in the traditional all-back style. These medium-sized rows are quite simple and very easy to make but the high point lies in the blond-colored attachment used in making the hair. The style is obviously not for the faint-hearted as it is bound to make you the center of attention wherever you go.
Many may prefer to let the extra length of this hairdo fall in a long ponytail at the back which is a common way to wear it. However, the syle in the image is partitioned into two equal parts, folding each part into two buns which can also be referred to as doughnuts. Doughnuting the hair is sure to keep the wearer free from heat and the hassles that come with wearing your hair long.
Now, those wooden chi-stick-like projections sticking out of the two buns sure take the cake. It does not just make the hairdo stand out, the fact that they come in the same color as the hair extension is another plus.
African Box Braids
For the purpose of elucidation, box braids are those three-strand braids or plaits normally divided or sectioned into square-shaped sections or segments. It is not strange to see people making box braids with their natural hair, but if you are looking for fullness, thickness, or extra length, then, you have to make use of hair extensions. Whether big, small, or medium, the sections must have four corners to be qualified as box braids.
Box braids are divided into knotless box braids and classic box braids. The regular or classic box braids present a visible knot at the base of the braid where the added hair extension is visible. The knotless box braids are a bit different in the sense that it gives the wearer a more natural finish, appearing like it was made with only the wearer’s natural hair. There is the tendency that the knotless box braids will put less pressure on the wearer’s head since the attachment is not infused at the begining; this is good for people with a tender scalp.
Regular or knotless, they are all categorized under box braids and you can go with any of them, depending on individual choices.
7. Multi-colored Box Braids
There are no rules stopping people from playing around with colors in their hairdos. This multi-colored box braid in the picture is not just cute but is sure to make the wearer stand out in a crowd. The braider ran a gamut of colors from blue to pink, in addition to other colors in the hair accessories.
The attachment alone is in blue and pink colors, blue at the base and pink at the tip, and the braids are quite long, going past the shoulder level to fall at mid-back. Now, the high points are in the hair accessories in yellow, gold, red, and more. Those who would prefer to go for comfort can decide to gather the extra length in a long ponytail and leave it dangling or at best knot it into a doughnut.
This hairdo is sure to take the wearer’s looks to greater heights and when it is packed up into a bun, it highlights the facial features.
8. Short Box Braids
Short box braids are so becoming, tiny or big, a lady can never go wrong with this hairstyle. The image in the embed is a short box braid in large sizes. Normally, when braiders want to do side parting, they would partition it from the right side of the face, but this partitioning is a deviation from the norm as it is divided from the left side.
The majority of the braids are made with black hair extension except for one on the left that is a mixture of black and white, giving the hairdo another look. The length of the braids is short, coming in mismatched length with the longest ones ending at shoulder level.
The tips of the braids were not smoothened by submerging them in hot water, rather they are tied with colorful rubber bands to match the single black and white braid on the left. This shoulder-grazing bob will be apt for those who can’t afford to weigh down their scalp with a very long hairstyle.
9. Jumbo Box Braids
Some ladies will never be caught with the micro look and those who fall into this category would love this jumbo box braid hairstyle. This is obviously a knotted box braid as you can see where the hair extension is knotted from the base of the braids. The boxes are neatly sectioned into large sizes and braided into a long ponytail that runs all the way to the mid-back.
Black is the predominant color here but other hues like blue and green are also visible, giving the wearer a distinguished look. The way the extra lengths are gathered at the middle of the skull highlights the features of the face, making her makeup look more prominent.
Jumbo braids are fun and the best part of this hairdo is that it takes less time to make. You can customize your style by playing around with colors.
10. Box Braids Bun
Box braids are fun when you leave the extra length dangling free, but putting them up and tidying the excess into a bun can be equally cool. The braids in the embed below are bigger than medium and taking them up makes them appear like updo cornrows.
While buns are usually assembled at the middle of the skull or even lower, the stylist decided to gather everything in front of the skull towards the forehead, knotting them into a large doughnut.
Apart from being Instagram-worthy, this braided bun is one effective way of surviving the heat of the summer as it keeps the hair from touching any part of the body.
11. Center-parted Box Braids
Box braids can be parted at the center like the image below. The style is very simple with the entire hair divided into a few large boxes and braided into long braids. The length is obviously hip level and the braider made the tips curl by applying hot water to bring the look home.
Though very simple, this hair is quite chic, and the front baby hairs that are flattened with styling gel make it look even more beautiful. Just as it doesn’t take long to make, it does not also last long because of its large size. The style would be best for someone that wants to wear a new look for a few days.
12. Double-bun Box Braids
Knotting your box braid into a single bun makes for a new look but you can decide to be a bit more creative by going for double knots instead of one. For the syle below, the wearer partitioned the braids into two, gathering each side into buns or doughnuts.
The two buns appear to be loose and the two braids left to dangle on either side frame the face beautifully. To make double buns as big as the ones in the image, the hair has to be very long.
African Knotless Braids
As earlier mentioned, boxed braids come in two types, the regular box braids that are knotted at the base and the knotless braids. Frequently going on knotted braids can cause serious hair breakage as the anchoring knot sometimes feel tight against the wearer’s skull, causing a lot of tension. Thankfully, knotless braids can solve this problem.
Braiders leverage the feed-in technique in making knotless braids. After sectioning the hair, the stylist braids only your natural hair to an extent before introducing the hair extension which will be fed in as the braiding continues. This is quite distinct from the regular box braid where your hair will be tightly knotted with the hair extension right from the beginning.
Knotless braids come with a plethora of advantages:
- The root of regular knotted braids can be very painful but this pain can be reduced through knotless braids.
- The roots of knotless braids are seamless; the natural finish makes it hard to guess where the attachment is fed in.
- Knotless braids have a lighter weight compared to traditional braids
- Since it tucks away the tip of the hair, preventing tugging, pulling, and other forms of manipulations, it is classified as a protective hairstyle
- Since the hair extension barely touches the base of your natural hair, a knotless hairdo spurs hair growth.
- The hairdo is considered to be the most versatile; since the bases of the braids are made with only natural hair, the end product of this braiding technique is so flexible that they can be easily styled into updos, buns, ponytails, and what have you.
13. Medium Knotless Box Braids
If your hair has suffered breakages through several knotted braids, why not try out these beautiful medium-sized knotless box braids to save your front hairline. The style in the image shows no clear partition as the boxes are divided randomly but the braider just allowed some braids to fall to the right and some to the left in no particular order. This obviously formed a beautiful pattern with the hair on the right covering part of the face.
This medium-length will be ideal for people whose hair is neither short nor too long. It makes for a pretty and bold look that will be nice on just about any facial structure.
14. Side Part Bang Knotless Box Braids
While the extra-length of the knotless braids in the other image is allowed to fall to the right, half of the ones in this picture fall to cover the left side of the wearer’s face with the rest falling towards the back. There is a clear partition running down between the two sections.
The hair extension used in this hairdo is brown to suit the skin tone of the wearer and the braiding did not get to the tip which is curled by applying hot water. This hairdo is classy enough but you can decide to add an additional classy edge to it by rolling the entire length into a bun.
15. Knotless Box Braids with Star Design
It is true that knotless braids are usually partitioned into boxes to make, however, you can decide to give an edge to your own style by carving a star design into the boxes. In these medium-sized knotless braids, the braider used the side partition to construct a beautiful star which is obviously the highpoint of the style.
The hairdo is made in all black hair extension and the baby hairs at the frontline are smoothened down with the aid of hair gel.
16. Knotless Box Braids with Ornaments
This bold knotless braid is made with a center parting and the boxes fall on either side of the face. The style is nice enough without attaching any other embellishments but the wearer decided to go overboard by festooning it with a plethora of hair accessories in different colors of gold, green, yellow, red, and white.
The beautiful hair accessories added an edge to the hairdo, making the wearer look even prettier.
17. Mix Color Knotless Box Braids
This mixture of colorful hair extensions is another striking knotless braid; the braider blended a plethora of colors in the hairdo, including baby pink, light blue, and brown attachments. The visible black color at the base is from the natural color of the wearer’s hair.
Great looks, but this kind of hairdo is not for everybody, besides, it is not meant for the fainthearted as it draws too much attention to the wearer. The style will be a great choice for a night out.
Braided Ponytail African
Braided ponytail hairdos are sizzling switch-ups to our everyday look! A perfect choice for outings and occasions and equally good for the corporate look. It can be a casual but creative braid that slings down the wearer’s back – a sure way to draw attention.
Women can experiment with different ponytail braiding styles with different thickness, length, and pattern. What’s more, you can decide to create a more glamorous look with some really cute accessories. It sure takes a lot of patience and creativity to create an exquisite braided ponytail hairstyle but the end result is worth all the time and effort. There is also a low maintenance advantage.
With a ponytail braid, the wearer can decide to be more comfortable by pulling the extra length back or into a bun. This sure gets those annoying strands off the face for a stroll down the street, a day at the gym, and it will also keep you comfy during the hot summer.
18. Down-to-there Platinum Hair
Now, this color of hair extension is only suitable for those who are bold enough to rock it and the image above shows American artist, Mary J. Blige as she brings the fancy hairdo all the way from the streets of New Orleans.
These are long knotted braids made with pure silver-white hair extensions. The tips were submerged in hot water to get that curly effect and tying it into a long ponytail to fall down to hip level makes the color even more shouty.
19. Fish Bone African Ponytail Braids
Fishbone hairstyles are awesome and the most interesting part of this hairdo is that it is hundred percent inspired by nature. To achieve this floral look, braid your hair into a big updo, and be sure to add the small braids at the sides to create the beautiful impression of fishbone.
With the updo done, the extra lengths are gathered at the middle of the skull and allowed to dangle down to the back. The eye-catcher in the hairdo is the golden-colored hair accessories that are sure to give it glitter at night.
20. High Ponytail Styling
The ponytail style may resemble the one before it but there are some fine distinctions between the two. While the floral look of the former image was achieved with real fishbone braids, this image also has a semblance of the floral look but without the fishbone. it is all about creativity as the braider carefully picked the strand of each row line by line to create that neat effect.
Another difference between the two is that, while the first one was made in a single color of black, this one comes in a mixture of black and white and is way longer than the former. The baby hairs in front make for a beautiful finishing.
African Twist Braids
Twist braids are quite popular among African braids hairstyles and it involves twisting two sections of hair into a braid. The final result will resemble a spiral rope which informs the hairdo’s second name, “rope twists”. Protecting your strands with braid twists can be achieved in several ways – there are the uniformly thick pleats, the simple dos, the intricately detailed looks, the coarser texture twists, and even the natural ones.
It does not matter what you are looking for, texture, volume, length – braid twist hairstyles abound to satisfy your quest.
Braid twist hairdos don’t require too much styling to give the wearer that glam appearance. There is this diversity that knows no limit with twists – the simple and effortless ‘dos can come in handy for your everyday look and the style chic, sophisticated styles are just good for special occasions.
Ladies who favor twists ought to know this trick – larger facial features and fuller figure sit well with thicker twists.
Wearing thin twists hanging freely may not give you what you want, try styling your micro twists into a voluminous hairdo and you would be grateful you did.
21. Medium Twists
Twists can be faster to make than braids, however, the bigger you make them, the less time you will spend on them. This is a beautiful medium-sized twist, simple and straightforward, just section the hair into boxes and twist each one to any length of your choice.
The twists in the picture are quite loose, consequently, they won’t cause any breakage on your hair, especially the frontal hairline. The beauty lies in the extra-long hair extension that runs down towards the waist.
22. Havana Twist Braids
If your test runs to the soft twist styles, then, you won’t go wrong with these Havana twist braids. They are just perfect for any facial feature. The hairdo in the image started with braids at the base but the remaining part of the body is done in soft twists, making them appear larger than the normal tight twists.
The softness is a result of the type of Marley’s hair that is used in the making, and in this case, it is lightweight. Though the style is quite long, because of the lightweight Marley hair, the wearer won’t feel any additional weight.
23. Expressive Top Knot
These are tight twists made with very long Marley hair. The sizes of the boxes are rather tiny but therein lies the beauty. Being tiny, this hairdo will last longer than the ones sectioned into larger boxes that may just last a few days.
The style doesn’t involve any elaborate pattern but the attraction lies in the frontal twists that were gathered up to form a huge doughnut on top, leaving the rest to flow long and free on either side of the face and the back. No doubt, this is a dramatic style and you will get the best out of the hairdo when you pair it with elaborate makeup and chunky jewelry.
African Tribal Braids
Tribal braids are special types of African braids that are popular among different tribes of the black continent.
Ghana braids are beautiful hairstyles from Ghana in West Africa which entails different braiding patterns with unique tapered effects. Ensure that your stylist is an expert at creating the Ghana braids before proceeding. The reason is that the makings of this hairdo are a bit different from the normal braids.
It starts with very thin micro braids and as the stylist proceeds, she adds more hair extension to the starting micro braid as it tapers out to form thicker braids. This braiding technique usually takes the basic cornrow hairstyle and is akin to a feed-in braid. The only difference is that feed-in braids will end up thinner than Ghana braids that look fuller and thicker. It is true that both feed-in braids and Ghana braids have hair extensions added to them in the making process. However, while a braider adds extra extension to feed-in braids for length, the same extra is added to Ghana braids for volume.
Among the choices of African braids, the Fulani braids have pride of place as one of the most popular. A long time ago, it was only the Fulanis that can be spotted wearing their tribal hair but in recent times, the hairdos are worn everywhere. We have even spotted some Fulani-style hairdos on the red carpet and they have been severally spotted on models adorning the cover pages of magazines.
The makings of Fulani hairstyle are not different from the normal cornrow hair that we are used to. However, the difference lies in the way the braiders partition the hair to suit the Fulani image. The most important distinguishing fact of the Fulani braiding technique is the extensive beadwork that accompanies the hairdo.
The Bantu Hairstyle
The Bantu knots were originated from the Zulus of South Africa. It is a simple but becoming hairstyle where the braider sections the hair into sizeable boxes and wrap or twist to stack up and create a spiraled knot.
The modern-day Bantu has reinvented the Bantu hairstyle technique and consequently, it has retained its popularity among women of color all over the world. Below are some tribal hairdos.
24. Micro-Fulani Braids
In the same way as every other type of braid, the wearer gets to decide on the size she wants for her Fulani hairdo. The one in the embed is sectioned into micro-sized cornrows, taking off from the middle of the skull and directed to fall all over the face and the back.
This Fulani hairstyle is true to type as it comes complete with elaborate beadwork. The hairdo is festooned with beads of different sizes, shapes, and colors which is the high point of this particular style. Those who are averse to extensive use of beads can add a little at the tip. Besides, this hairdo will look fine even without the beadwork.
25. Versatile Braid
The kind of versatility in the makings of Fulani-hairstyles is second to none. A braider who is an expert in this kind of hairdo can manipulate a person’s hair to come up with different styles. A confirmation is evident in the Fulani ponytail-style braids in the Instagram embed below. The style is made in an updo, converging at the top of the skull and gathered in an extra-long ponytail. Obviously, the extra length is not a contribution of individual cornrows but made with one large hair extension loosely braided to fall towards hip level. The front part of the hair is made into a base with extra length that falls to cover the forehead.
This African braid hairdo is unarguably special and what makes it so is the stylish placement of beads. Black and brownish beads festoon the short extra length covering the forehead. The black beads are more in number and come first, while the brown beads are used as finishing at the tip of the frontal hair. Two longer braids fall by the two sides of the ear and are beaded from beginning to the end with the black and brown beads. A larger brown bead is followed by two smaller black beads and the pattern continues to the tip.
26. Fully Fulani
This Fulani hairstyle is surprisingly without beadwork but the style indicates that it is made in the typical Fulani braiding technique. Two tiny braids run up towards the mid skull to meet with a large updo at the middle. The updo is formed from vertical cornrows taking off from the two central braids to run down towards both ears and curves from the ear, going up to converge at the top of the skull. All the extra lengths are then rolled into a big doughnut on top.
By the two sides of the ear are two braids each, running from the back to fall at the front, giving the African braid hairdo a very special look that screams FULANI.
27. Waterfall Ghana Braids
Ghana braids have a few rules that must be observed. One is the direction you want your hairdo to take. The embed sports a waterfall Ghana braiding technique that can suit any facial structure.
This style is bold, simple, and beautiful. The braider divided the hair into six large cornrows which are made with the Ghana braiding technique. The two frontal braids on both sides are made with large brushes that need to be constantly smoothed with a toothbrush, however, while brushing back, remember to brush the baby hairs forward to give it that chic look. The middle four are like the frontal ones and they all took off from the major partition in the middle and weaved towards the back.
28. Horizontal Ghana Braids
The floral appearance of this hairdo makes it look like the fishbone style, however, they are merely neat horizontal Ghana braids. The reason it resembles a fishbone is that the braider is highly artistic in picking the strands of each cornrow as she braids. Each strand on one cornrow is picked to leave a clear demarcation with the next, giving it that tidy look.
The high point of this African braid is in the way it is sectioned; the first cornrow starts from the right side of the face and is weaved in the Ghana braid technique to run down towards the back through the left side of the face. The front braids are distinguished by large front brushes and the ensuing braids follow the same pattern to all fall at the back. The length of the extra length is quite long, running all the way below hip level.
29. Bantu Knots
Bantu knots are just wonderful on the African kinky hair texture and it is ideal for highlighting someone’s facial features. This Bantu style in the picture comes in smaller updos; the makings are quite simple. The hair is partitioned into boxes and instead of braiding or weaving, each partition is packed up and rolled into a long strand with the aid of hair extensions. The strand will now be used to form the individual knots.
The best part of this hairdo is the tinge of white color infused into the knots. What’s more, there are baby hairs that are flattened at the front with the aid of a styling gel.
30. Protective Bantu Knots With Side Braids
All Bantu hairstyles are designed to be protective as they barely lead to hair breakage. The Bantu hairstyle in this image is made exactly in the same manner as the one on top. However, there is a bit of an aberration from the norm at the two sides of the ear. There, we see a couple of braids running from the back to fall in the front.
The two side braids are beaded with cream and dark brown beads, giving them a semblance of the popular Fulani braiding technique.