From boho babes to red carpet regulars, every Mane Addict knows the secret to a perfectly pulled-together ensemble is a pretty plait. Yes, we’re talking braids. That grade-school staple you thrown on for rainy days indoors. That simple style you rock in between washes. These three (and sometimes four) strand styles are so much more than your everyday average lazy girl look. From box braids to fishtails, we rounded up 12 banging braids to prove this classic ‘do is anything but ordinary.
1. Classic Braid
This style staple should be familiar. A simple three strand braid is the easiest way to keep those tresses tied up without compromising your appearance. Take a cue from Emma Chamberlain and let your layers loose- a textured look adds a little something extra to a plain plait.
2. Box braids
Itty bitty braids can make a pretty big impact. 90s box braids are having a major moment and it’s not hard to see why- they’re low maintenance and high payoff. We’re loving Tessa Thompson’s shoulder length take on this classic style.
3. Tree Braids
Get the best of both worlds with tree braids. These intricate little plaits work double time for your hair. The nearly invisible braids start at the scalp and slowly descend into free flowing strands, providing protection while allowing you room to play with the length.
4. French Braid
A French braid is always on point. This elevated take is relatively simple to achieve- start with just a tiny section of hair and divide it into three smaller sections. Just add in the remaining pieces as you braid down the length of your mane and viola! The result is a gorgeous woven masterpiece.
5. Dutch Braid
The dutch braid is essentially the French braid’s fancier cousin. This bubbly plait can adapt to pretty much any situation. Rock ultra-tight tresses for a sporty updo or pull out pieces for an undone, laidback look. Dutch braids are chic no matter which way you spin them.
We’re here for pretty much anything Rihanna does, and this unique take on cornrows is perhaps one of our favorite mane moments to date. Foregoing the traditional row-like sectioning technique, Rihanna opted for a sculptural interpretation of these ultra-tight plaits.
7. Milkmaid Braid
Banish boring buns for good with an easy and eye-catching milkmaid braid. This wrap-around ‘do can be accomplished with any of your favorite plaits. Start with two dutch braids on either side of your part for a traditional take, or switch it up with a fun set of twists for a romantic, gala-ready aesthetic.
Talk about mermaid vibes. The fishtail is the beach babe’s braid of choice. This tousled look is best achieved with a bit of added texture: we recommend a spritz of sea salt spray before you begin braiding. For that fresh-from-the-ocean energy.
9. Infinity Braid
The infinity braid is similar to a fishtail braid in technique but far different in the finished product. Rather than criss cross tiny sections of hair over one another to create a lattice-like pattern, the infinity braid is achieved through the careful process of wrapping sections of strands around one another. The result is a classy creation fit for an upscale business event or a top-shelf date night.
10. Pull Through Braid
You’ll need more than a few ponytail holders to accomplish this romantic hairstyle. The pull-through braid is achieved through the process of literally pulling multiple miniature ponytails through one another, creating a rustic countryside aesthetic that’s 100% winter wedding approved.
Who said all braids need three strands? It just takes two to twist. Senegalese twists are elegance incarnate. This protective style is versatile, stunning, and can be worn at pretty much any length.
12. Four Strand Braid
If you’re missing the Game of Thrones braid inspo don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Expertly woven to absolute perfection, a four or five strand plait is the kind of style that is truly fit for a royal affair.