African Braids: 101 Highly Adaptable Hairstyles for All Women


Strictly speaking, African braids should only refer to the braided hairstyles from that country. However, the African braids has already gained solid acceptance worldwide that practically all beautiful braids are credited as African braids. The versatility of the braids is so enormous that many permutations have been created adding to the ambiguity of delineation between those hairstyles that originated from Africa to those from other parts of the world However, hardcore African braids are distinct in style and name and include the Ghana braid, Senegalese braid, Marley braid, and others. The French braid and Dutch braid has African origins but adapted a foreign name after the passing of time and usage. African and Afro American women with distinct and naturally occurring thick and textured hair are best suited for African braids but other women of other nationalities have embraced the hairstyle with fondness and possessiveness.

Historically, tribal Africans introduced braids as a tribal identification. Later, during the period of slavery, African slaves use the braided hair as a sign of protest against their oppressive masters. But definitely, the rich past of the hairstyle should not overshadow the benefits of the hairstyle to women and men of any color today. African braids are not only gorgeous with their revealing textures and sleek glossiness, but their protective properties are very useful. Also today, most of the prominent endorsers of African braids, transforming them into new and modified version are also mostly Afro American celebrities. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Janet Jackson and others are trendsetters that are responsible for new styles like the boxer braid and poetic justice braid for example, although in truth, they are still the box braids of African origin. Other possibilities with African braids include twist braids, tree braids, micro braids, cornrows, fishtails, blocky braids, jumbo braids and many others, that add up to the merry mix of the authentic African braids permutations.

Useful Information about the African Braids

African braids include several glorious braided hairstyles and each one has their own unique nuances. You have to be a hair expert to understand and enumerate most of them.

  • For those women who have long hair, there is no fast rule on where to start and end your braids. There are many loose whimsical braided hairstyles that start the braiding at the hair roots going down to the hair ends, while others can start at the middle length towards hair ends.
  • Short haired women should not despair for having fewer opportunities for an elegant African braided hairstyle compared to long haired women. There are many beautiful braided hairstyles suited to short hair or they can use artificial hair extensions to add volume and length to their hair.
  • Low braided buns, when combined creatively with African braids, transform into elegant elements of the hairstyle. Other structures like ponytail, twist, twirl, Mohawk and many others encounter the same transformation.
  • Prestigious fashion shows never run out of tight and edgy cornrows converted into gorgeous buns. The casual cornrows, after some clever tweaks, can now rank as a Couture hairstyle worthy of catwalk display and glamour events.
  • Wrapping the head with braids and accessorizing with floral decorations produce the boho chick look, a retro style that has soaring popularity and nostalgic demand. Although quite messy and loose, the peg looks more natural than random and has been a concept of many fashion photo shoots.
  • Braids stay longer and healthier with prior shampooing, conditioning and moisturizing prior to braiding. Conditioners also make the hair easy for braiding and help repair hair damage.

Hair Experts Predict 2018 to be a Banner Year for African Braids like these Two

The coverage of the African braids is almost unlimited. Choose from among these few examples to suit your hairstyling needs:

  1. Long Senegalese Spirals

This braided hairstyle is complete with elegantly small and smooth strands typical of the Senegalese braid. The adaption of long brown braids combined with black long natural hair creates the drama that expressive women seek. Lifting the combined braids of true and artificial hair, tying them up like a ponytail that springs down gracefully complete the hairstyle.

  1. Princess Laia Braided Hairstyle

Anything associated with royalty surely possess elegance beyond the standard. This hairstyle exactly does that with dual buns that fulfill the updo. Joining the sleek and shiny braids and looping them to form the cute small buns at both sides of the head is a clever device to highlight the hairstyle. The crisscross braiding on the front area of the head are marvelously dizzying.

  1. Elegant Braided Bun

Are you somewhat used to wearing normal-looking braids that they no longer strike you in the same fashion as you did the first time around? This braided bun is just the right hairstyle that will bring freshness and elegance to your usual hairstyle. The shiny and almost perfectly sized braids are beautifully wrapped into a glorious bun on top of the head while a pointed shape forms at the braided front head area that is almost flat against the scalp with thin delicacy.

  1. Braided Mohawk Hairstyle

The braided Mohawk will never fail to make heads of onlookers to turn, but it is also the great design of thin braids at the sides and back of the head that will make their stare linger longer while feasting on the details. The updo has a height and dominant presence to be identifiable even at a distance.

  1. Sweet and Short African Braids

Who ever said that African braids are meant for long hair only? This hairstyle convincingly disputes that misconception. Women of all face shapes can even wear this cut with the side parted braid emphasizing the face.

  1. Bob with a Pair of Buns as Updo

The beautiful classical bob starts off this updo, and when paired with an updo consisting of two wonderful buns, is sweet as ever. The remaining braids that are left out of the updo are simply allowed to flow down gracefully at both sides of the head.

  1. Back Style African Braids

This intriguing and wonderful braid style is sometimes referred with other names like halo crown goddess, crown braids, milk maid braids and many more. The popularity of hairstyles would not last by mere catchy names alone but would need substance. The hairstyle excels by using 4 large braided lines that are allowed to flow downward towards the center of the back area.

  1. Lovely Designed Braids

Although there is a slightly tight requirement for this braided hairstyle, women do not mind as long as the results are satisfying to them. A preparatory deep conditioning helps to protect the hair from the unavoidable tension. Intricate multi-sized sectioning for braiding at the top at the head adds contrasting artistic elements while the other braided hair lengths that flow downwards give the admirable dynamism. Also, the downward-flowing braids are allowed to settle only on one side to give an interesting asymmetrical arrangement.

  1. Curvy Braids

When straight braids and braided buns start to become boring, curvy braids become an intelligent option. Since they look more complicated, the difficulty of installing turns into an apprehension. However, the opposite is true because this hairstyle is easy to install with excellent versatile result that makes it adaptable to multi-occasion use. This ladylike and Greek goddess looking hairstyle needs proper conditioning and moisturizing prior to braiding to ensure the stability of the braids or cornrows and to free the afro hair with the frizz that are common to them.

  1. African Braids with Chignon

The focal point of this Afro hairstyle is the chignon element that has to be well taken care of. Despite the reputation of African braids as a low-maintenance hairstyle, some protective measures are necessary to keep this hairstyle neat and healthy like deep conditioning and moisturizing prior to braiding and to avoid excessive washing after braiding.

 African Braids Tutorials that All Women can benefit from

  1. How to Install the Versatile Box Braids.

Step 1: Preparation of your hair. Wash your hair by using your favorite shampoo then use a deep conditioner to soften the hair strands. Beginning from the hair ends towards the roots use a wide-tooth comb to untangle all knotted hair. Blow-dry your entire hair using low setting and brush them once more to end the hair preparation.

Step 2: Prepare your braiding hair. Ready at least 2 packages of braid hair, long synthetic hair strands that will fill scalp spaces and give volume to the entire hairstyle. Be sure to obtain them in similar color to your natural hair. To get a more natural looking braid hair, take each chunk of hair out of the packages individually, and cut the elastic bands securing it together, while holding them at the center. Hold the center grip and allow both hair ends to hang loosely, and then pull the hair strands on one side of the hair. This will give the ends a natural look otherwise the blunt-cut across artificial hair ends will ruin the appearance. Remember to pull the hair gently at small strands rather than big portions and to always run your fingers through the hair to remove any unwanted knots.

Step 3: Start preparing your first strand of artificial braiding hair. Create a braiding hair portion with 2-3 inches width. Subdivide it into 2 parts, with 1/3 part in one, and 2/3 part in the other. Wrap the thinner strand around the thicker strand with the tail ends facing opposite ways. Carefully twist the strands over each other so that they form a single piece. Prepare three strands of braiding hair.

Step 4: Section your natural hair on the scalp for braiding. Using a rat-tooth comb, create an area measuring 1 by 1 square inch of hair on the scalp. Start at the side near the hairline and move your way backwards. Use oil or gel to facilitate the preparation of the section.

Step 5: You are now ready to start your first braid. Hold one strand of braiding hair between your thumb and index finger, a second one between your index finger and middle finger and a third strand is left hanging between the first two. Grab another section, this time with natural hair, closest to the scalp and as close to the roots as possible and proceed with braiding them using the twisting method and completing with the three-strand method at the hair ends.

Step 6: Braid the rest of the hair making sure that it is done smoothly, flexibly and evenly.

  1. Easy Steps to Install Two-Strand Twist Braids

Step 1: Prepare your hair. Begin by shampooing the hair with your favorite safe shampoo. Use reliable conditioning and moisturizing hair products to add more suppleness and nourishment to your hair. To further prepare your hair, de-tangle bumps and knots in your hair using your fingers and a wide-toothed comb. Avoid blow drying your hair at this point since twist braiding works better with a slightly damp hair.

Step 2: Decide on the size of the twists that you want. Small twists are more tedious to braid but they last longer and the opposites are true with larger braids. Small twists are teeny-tiny and large twists start from 1-inch in area and can go larger. These guidelines will form the basis for your decision.

Step 3: Prepare your first section Form a square section of hair that you want to twist initially. Apply just enough styling gel and spritz it with water and oil. Your hair section is now frizz-free and easy to twist braid. Comb this section for smoothness.

Section 4: Twist your first braids section. First, divide the first section into two hair strands with equal volumes. Create a rope-like structure by winding them gently and away from the head. By wrapping the strands simultaneously around each other, a twist gets completed each time. Slightly pull the twists towards the scalp to keep them tight enough as you progress.

Step 5: Seal your first strand twist. To secure the end of the twist braided strands, you need to do a one-strand twist since you will surely run out of hair at that point. The final sealing procedure is to curl the hair end to secure it.

Step 6: Finish the entire twist braiding. Follow the same procedures in braiding your first section with all the other sections in all parts of the hair.

Trending African Braids

  • Afro Braids with Low Bun

Descriptions of hair experts about the hairstyle include classy, smart, sophisticated, easy and cute and many others. The deliberate and skillful twisting of the braids into a woven pretty bun is not just a random structure and would rather be viewed than described.

  • Afro Braids with Top Knot

The top knot hairstyle looks complicated but is easy to do. The Afro braids in particular benefit with a top knot by cleverly freeing the face of obstructions and unwanted hair strand and frizz. The beauty and simplicity of this hairstyle will draw many women into wearing it this year.

Celebrities with Iconic African Braids Look

Afro Americans have hair types and characteristics that suit African braids hairstyle. It is not surprising to have black American celebrities as perfect endorses of the hairstyle.

  1. Goapele Mohlabane

She is simply known as Goapele in the show business industry, but her piercing soul and R&B style is complex as well as her influence as a musical artist and social activist. She is an American citizen but her father is South African, Douglas Mohlabane, an exiled political activist. This explains her active posture on issues of social significance including racism and sexism among others. Her passion for social justice extends even to her activist-look get up. She still rocks with a braided cornrow, even if other new rock African braids are beginning to dominate. Goapele also sports the micro cornrows and edgy Mohawk with all convincingness as if it was her own signature hairstyle invention. Hair and fashion magazines hail her as a certified media braided beauty.

  1. Solange

Solange Knowles is an accomplished American singer, songwriter, model and actress, called by her fans as simply Solange. She is the younger of another more prominent celebrity, Beyonce. She insists that they should not be compared because they are musically different with distinct aspirations. She made a name for herself in many areas, proving her point and determination. She inched her way to superstar status by first becoming a backup dancer for the singing group Destiny’s Child, and played as a minor talent in Bring It On: All or Nothing, and even wrote songs for her sister, Beyonce, Kelly Roland and Michelle Williams. Her singing peak moment happened when she was awarded as a Grammy winner for her hit single “Cranes in the Sky” as the Best R&B Performance while also being ranked by Billboard magazine as the 10th most successful dance artist of all time.

Solange is arguably the most impactful wearer of the poetic justice box braid next to Janet Jackson. She has influenced her fans to try the ½ inch during summertime. Her hairstylist has also suggested to leaving the fine hairline out of the braids to prevent the breaking of natural hair. She always leaves her fine hairline out of the braids to protect her natural hair, a measure suggested by her stylist.


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