Braids Are Having A Major Moment. Here Are Our Fave Ways To Make A Statement

Braids have never gone out of style, and even though braided hairstyles can be worn year-round, it is particularly during spring and summer that they tend to be more popular. Clearly, 2023 is no different, and with the festival season right around the corner, many are looking for easy braided hairstyles that are damage-free and intricate but also keep their hair out of their face. Plus, braids are a protective hairstyle that holds a deep and significant meaning for certain cultures, especially within the Black community. 

If you're looking for fun and different ways to wear braids this year, we've got you covered. No matter what your braiding skill level is, there's something for everyone. And here's a little tip: If you struggle with braiding your hair as pieces constantly tend to fall out, it's best to do braided hairstyles on second or third-day hair, as the greasy strands will keep the hair in place. However, if your hair is freshly washed, just lightly dampen it before braiding — this will make the process much easier. Now let us introduce our favorite French, Dutch, fishtail, and bubble braid hair designs!

The scarf braid

Perhaps the easiest way to amp up your regular braid to the next level is to simply incorporate a scarf into it. Pick a scarf that, when folded in half, is slightly longer than your hair. Then tie it around your ponytail's hair tie, making sure the ends are even. Now you divide your ponytail into three pieces and add the scarf halves to two of them. Braid the hair as you always would, and voilà — you're left with a fun scarf braid that will definitely spice up your look.

Two classic French braids

Ah, the classic French braid: A hairstyle so delicate and classy but so difficult to execute, especially on yourself. However, as with everything, practice makes perfect, as there are ways to get the perfect French braid. We recommend wetting your hair or adding some wax before you start to ensure clean parts, and remember to always add in more hair from the sides to achieve that intricate style. And if it turns out messy, embrace that too — a messy braid can totally look intentional. While you can do just one French braid, two always look more playful and fun.

The accent snake braids + ponytail

Snake braids are definitely showstoppers, and the best part about them is that they look so much more challenging to create than they actually are. We recommend using them as accent braids as they look best on small pieces of hair. To create the snake braids, all you have to do is braid a regular three-strand braid, and once you get to the end of it, hold on to the middle strand while pulling the other two strands up towards the base of the braid. The braid will scrunch up, but once you gently pull the two pieces back down, a fun snake design will be revealed.

The faux Dutch braid pigtails

While some would argue that Dutch braiding your hair is a breeze, others aren't so sure  — especially if you're a beginner. However, if you like the look of them, you'll be happy to hear that you can easily create a fake Dutch braid. To start, separate the front of your hair from the back and clip it away. Then separate the back into two low pigtails. Take the front out of the clip, divide it in two, and braid each into a classic loose braid. Now, flip the braids towards the pigtails and pull them through each of the braids. The braids should be loose and sit on top of your head, but if you're worried they might move around, pin them into place with a few bobby pins.

The twisted braid

A twisted braid is an easy upgrade to your classic high ponytail. All you have to do is divide the ponytail into two equal parts, twist each of them in the same direction, and then twist them around each other in the opposite direction. This way, when you tie the end, the braid won't twist apart!

The braided ponytail with extensions

If you want an ultra-dramatic braid that's still easily done at home, consider braiding some extension pieces into it to make it a bit (or a lot) longer. This way, your braid will be super fun and such a statement, but your hair will also be out of your face all day and night.

The two classic Dutch braids

If you know how to do a French braid, learning how to create a Dutch one is easy-peasy. Essentially, instead of crossing pieces of hair over each other, you'll be simply crossing them under each other. Because of this, the Dutch braid is also known as the reverse French braid.

The braided headband

Those who love the cottagecore aesthetic will adore a braided headband. While you can do a thick French braid from one side to the other, it's much easier and faster to just do two thinner braids with a chunk of hair from right behind your ear. Once you're done, all you have to do is pull them up and towards the other ear and pin them into place with bobby pins.

The braided space buns

Space buns are a fun hairstyle on their own, but if you want them to look a bit more polished and not so messy, consider doing braided space buns. Simply tie your hair into two high pigtails, braid each pigtail into a braid, and then twist each braid into an adorable space bun. Optional but ultra cute: Leave out a couple of face-framing strands.

The fishtail braid

You might think that a fishtail braid is way too complex to create, but once you get the basics down, you'd be surprised how quickly you can make it. All you have to do is divide your hair into two strands, then take a thin piece from the left strand's outer side and add it to the right strand's inner side. Follow that by taking a thin piece from the right strand's outer side and adding it to the left strand's inner side. Keep repeating those steps until you reach the end, and that's pretty much it!

The bubble braid

Creating the perfect bubble pony is a wonderful way to embrace the "clean girl aesthetic." Since it isn't as busy as a classic braid, it fits the style, but that definitely doesn't mean it isn't a showstopper. To create it, simply tie a ponytail (a high, middle, or low one) and use a clear elastic about 2 to 3 inches below the hair tie to secure the ponytail again. Now gently pull the hair between the two hair ties to achieve that bubbly effect. Repeat these steps until you get to the end of your hair, and you'll be left with a stunning hairstyle.

The mohawk braid

The mohawk braid is a great choice for those who want to keep their hair down but also out of their face. Essentially, it is a half-up hairstyle. To get the look, section off the "mohawk" part of your hair and braid it into a French braid ending with a half ponytail.

The pull-through braid

A pull-through braid looks a lot more complicated than it is. In essence, it's somewhat similar to a bubble braid, but it looks more intricate. You start by creating a half ponytail on the top of your head. Then you tie another one underneath it. You part the first ponytail into two pieces, wrap them around the second ponytail, grab some more hair, and tie it together with the two pieces into a third ponytail. From there, you part the second ponytail into two and wrap it around the third one trying it underneath. You repeat this step until you reach the end of your hair. Once you reach the nape of your neck, you'll stop adding more hair to each ponytail; instead, you'll just be tying the two pieces you already have.

The tied up braids

Those with box braids can also explore tying them together, as the braided hair will stay put and create a unique design. For this style, it's best to start around your face and work your way toward the back. Depending on the thickness of your braids, you may want to pick up more at a time to make the knots more prominent. Plus, it will cut down the time this hairstyle will take to achieve. 

The French braided space buns

A tight French braid will last for days, but a fun twist is if it leads to a bun — or even better, two! Section your hair down the middle, start French braiding one half, and once you get to the spot you want your space buns to be, tie the hair into a pigtail. Now, twist the pigtail into a space bun and repeat all the steps on the other side.

The low braided bun

A low bun has been popular for years now, and for a good reason — it's potentially one of the easiest hairstyles you can quickly do on yourself. To get the look, start with a low ponytail, braid it, and then twist the braid into a bun! This additional step will only take an extra minute, but the result is definitely worth it.

The two bubble accent braids

A bubble ponytail looks incredible, but if you want your hair down, you can also explore this style with two small accent bubble braids. Start by securing two pieces of hair on the top of your head into pigtails, then add the clear elastics to create the bubble effect. This is definitely one of those chic braided hairstyles you'll want to wear every day. So cute!

The French braid ponytail

A French braid looks great when it ends in a low ponytail, as it adds a bit of texture to an everyday hairstyle. Braid your hair as always, but once you get to the nape of your neck, tie the hair into a classic low ponytail. You can opt to braid the top as tightly or loosely as you prefer.

The fishtail accent braid

If you like the whole baby braid trend but find a regular three-strand braid a tad too boring, consider swapping that traditional braid with a fishtail one. This hairstyle is very eye-catching and will last for days, as a tightly braided fishtail braid won't fall apart easily.

The braided crown

A braided halo or crown is always a safe choice when you want all of your hair up but don't want a ponytail or bun, either. Simply part your hair into two sections, braid each, and then wrap them around your head and pin them into place with bobby pins. Alternatively, you can also achieve this hairstyle by French braiding your hair around your head (but that will take much longer).

The half-up fishtail braid

A half-up fishtail braid is an excellent option if you want to get some hair out of your face but don't want to braid all of it. To create the braid, simply section off the two pieces of hair and braid them into a fishtail braid. It will sit on the back of your hair and look incredibly gorgeous against flowy strands.

The braided Bantu knots

Bantu knots originate from the Zulu people of southern Africa, and today they represent a way for many to reconnect with their African heritage. If you're already rocking braids, regardless of whether they are thinner or thicker, Bantu knots are a fun way to style them differently.

The side braid

A side braid is an easy way to spice up a classic braided hairstyle. Plus, it's a great choice if you want your hair braided but don't want all of it to be in the back. For this style, you can pick any braid you like, but French and Dutch braids tend to look best.

The faux undercut braid

A French braid is a great way to create a faux undercut, especially if you love the look of it but don't dare to shave a part of your head. You can braid it loosely, as seen in the image above, or you can do it very tightly to mimic an undercut even more.

The upside-down braided bun

If you often wear sleek ballerina buns, braiding an upside-down French braid at the nape of your neck is a great way to add more texture to the hairstyle. To make things easier for yourself, tilt your head down while braiding, and once you reach the spot you want the bun to be in, tie the hair into a ponytail. From there, create the bun, and you're all done!

The glitter braid

Any braid (or hairstyle in general) can be spiced up with some glitter, especially for big events or nights out. All you need is a bit of hair glitter! Alternatively, you can also use hairspray and loose glitter. Spray some hairspray where you want the glitter to stick, and then use a makeup brush to dab the glitter onto it while the hairspray is still tacky.

The braided top knot

A top knot will look extra cute if two Dutch braids lead to it. Since you're not braiding full-length braids, creating these two tiny Dutch braids won't be very time-consuming. However, you can always swap them out for French braids if you are in a pinch and are more versed at braiding them.

The high ponytail braid

Rocking a super high ponytail like Ariana Grande is an incredibly trendy choice. However, if you're getting ready for a night full of dancing, chances are the ends of your hair will become a sweaty and tangled mess. To prevent this, simply braid the high ponytail into a braid that will look fierce and won't budge all night.

The twisted braid + low ponytail

Technically, these twists aren't really braids, but they look intricate enough for people to wonder just how you achieved this hairstyle. If you're wondering the same, we're here to tell you: It's super easy. All you need to do is start twisting your hair at the top of your head, and each time you twist, add a bit more hair from the side. Do this on both sides of your head, and once they reach each other in the back, tie the hair up into a low ponytail.

The Y2K tiny accent braid

Y2K hairstyles are making a comeback, and the accent baby braids are no exception — not to mention they are so easy to create. They are the perfect way to add that bit of extra detail to your hair when it's down. You can opt to braid just one thin braid, or you can do one on each side for that symmetrical early aughts look.

The braided braid

If you're already rocking box braids, any braided hairstyle you do with them will look much more intricate. The best part about starting with box braids is that the end braid is much more forgiving. So, if you don't tighten enough or mess up somewhere, it won't be very noticeable. Braid your box braids like the photo above for a stunning, intricate look. 

The waterfall braid

A waterfall braid is great for any formal event, and once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to create one very quickly. Essentially, it's similar to a French braid, which you braid diagonally across your head. However, instead of picking up the strand that is hanging down, you let it go and pick up the hair next to it instead. This will ensure that a part of the braid is always falling down, creating that waterfall effect.

The decorated braid

If playing with different braid variations isn't your thing, and you just want to stick to the classic three-strand one, using Y2K hair gems and jewelry is a fun way to spice it up and make it more interesting. Stars, hearts, pearls — nowadays, you can find almost any shape attached to a bobby pin or butterfly clip, and both are perfect for accessorizing a braid.