We curated a list of the best African Braiding Styles. Check it out here!
Braids are not just an easy hack for convenience. Add a little traditional Afro touch to the braids and it forms an instant recipe for confidence and style! The versatility of African braiding styles is what makes them evergreen and suitable for all kinds of face shapes and personal aesthetic choices. Be it your defined jawline, cheek bones that stand out, or your round face, there is a braid (and more) for all!
Historically, African braids have been a social art since the act of braiding was an opportunity to socialise amongst the women of the same tribe. The hints of African braiding craft can be seen even in today’s exuberant salon culture. Evolution of this craft has made chic braids easy and attainable for everyone. Here is a quick guide to different types of African hair braiding styles that would add just the right kind of texture to your hair and personality!
Cornrows are the most common African braiding style. It has always been in style and its own evolution. For instance, the era of the 1970s witnessed cornrows with beads getting popularised. An evergreen classic, cornrows add an instant spark to your appearance and put a strut in every step you take! Cornrows have transcended all the trends and stayed in the fashion scene given the cultural relevance. Offering an aesthetic visual that reveals your scalp under the gorgeous braids, cornrows are sure to make some heads turn. It is very convenient to pull off cornrows as they are low-maintenance once woven and they also protect your hair against moisture loss and breakage.
Dreadlocks have been worn by legends and have emerged as a political statement from African culture. They are not essentially braids but fall under the broad category of braiding styles. The natural way to get dreadlocks is to simply never comb it and let it grow into matted knots naturally. You can also get dreadlocks by using products such as hair wax and can then braid and twist it tenderly to get the right kind of matted locs. Since dreadlocks also function as a hair type in itself, you can further style it to spice up your usual hairstyles. Once you get dreadlocks, it is very convenient to manage them with no daily fuss and it also tends to promote healthy hair growth.
The new and unique braiding style that is doing rounds is hair twists! Hair twists are easier to get if your hair is naturally curly. Slightly different from conventional braids, twists require the strands to be divided into two sections to get woven. They end up looking like a chic spiral rope and add a quirky touch to the traditional braids. They are a brilliant alternative to the usual braids and can be a fresh and easy change if you have exhausted all the imaginable styles of hair braiding. If there is a new hairstyle you are eager to try, twist braids should definitely be it!
Another protective braiding style that also appears tasteful is the Senegalese twist style. Senegalese twists emerged from the African country of Senegal and once woven, can last for about three months. What makes Senegalese twists different is the specific texture of hair required to install this braiding style. These twists can be installed in natural hair but using Kanekalon hair extensions is usually the way to go if you want to get the most out of your Senegalese twists. The thickness of these twists can depend entirely on your choice but the texture it gives to your locks is what makes Sengalese twists stand out from all the other African braiding styles.
The defining characteristic of box braids is that they appear to be growing out of neat square patches of hair from your scalp. This kind of braids has a certain discipline but also manage to look elegantly ratchet at the same time. After braiding the hair sectioned off in square shapes, you can choose to style your braids using accessories such as colourful threads, beads or colouring your braids altogether. Once you get box braids, you can go about your daily routine without worrying about your hair for nearly eight weeks. Experts suggest that box braids should be taken down after two months of their installation.
As the name suggests, micro braids are extremely thin braids woven into the hair. It requires a lot of time and patience but is definitely worth all the time and effort. You can always get a friend to help and make a social activity out of it! Since a micro braid looks like a thick strand of hair, it can further be styled in many ways making microbraids one of the most versatile African hair braiding styles. Given its versatility, it is the perfect braiding style for both professional and casual settings. With the right hair care routine, hundreds of your gorgeous micro braids can last you for nearly eight long beautiful weeks.
Goddess braids are dimensionally thicker than cornrows. Braided closely to the scalp, these braids are highly raised and are more dense when it comes to individual braid size. An added benefit of getting goddess braids is that given their thick dimension, you can quickly get beautiful braids in less time! As the name suggests, this particular braiding style will make you look and feel grandiose whilst enhancing the natural essence of your personality. Goddess braids can further be styled in many ways so that you can keep switching between different looks once the braids are woven neatly into your hair.
Apart from the different kinds of braiding styles, a great part of the braids’ looks come from their patterns that are visible on the scalp. Any African braiding style can be amped up by playing with the pattern of sectioning off hair for individual locks of braids. For instance, creating a zig-zag pattern for braids on the scalp can add an artsy touch to the way you wear your hair. Many people achieve spirally patterns which give their hairdo an unusual wavy look. There are several patterns to choose from or you can always come up with your own creative ideas!
Although halo braids is a plaited hairstyle that uses the common Dutch style braids, these braids are woven together around the head in a traditional African fashion. Tied neatly and tautly around the head, this braiding style can complete your getup with a royal touch. Halo braids are a perfect alternative to tying your hair in a bun. This elegant bohemian-inspired braiding style can be worn boldly for professional and sombre occasions. What goes perfectly with halo braids is a bunch of natural flowers placed randomly in the braids that wrap your head like a natural crown!
If you thought that your perfect braids cannot look better, maybe you failed to consider adding some beads to them! Putting beads in your braids can reinvent your entire look in no time and with minimal fuss! With a huge scope to practise your own creativity, there are several ways in which you can embed beads in your braids. You can customise using beads of different shapes, sizes, colours and even the materials. Wooden breads add a traditional African touch to your hair whilst a bunch of see-through beads would make your hair look like a piece of art. When it comes to beads, there is never an end to the options you can choose from.
You can choose from this range of African braiding styles depending on the kind of occasion. Once you get any of these styles, you can go on for months without worrying about caring extensively for your hair. It is the versatility of these braids that make it donnable by men and women alike. A great way to make the most of these braids would be to experiment with hair colour and texture. Given such sweeping variety, a traditional African braiding style should definitely be on your must-try list!