Hair Styles: Types of Hair Braids

hair in braid

When you’re looking for hair styles, there are many different types of hair braids that can work well for multiple occasions. Braided hair serves many different functions and is an ancient art that goes back to B.C. Braids can serve to keep hair out of your face or even be used for a more formal look. There are many different types of hair styles in braids, including French, English, Dutch and Fishtail braids. There are many different variations on the typical braids, and ribbons and beads can add variety and flair. Find out about the history of braids and the most common braids worn today.

Hair braiding goes back to ancient Africa. It has been dated as far back as 3500 B.C. African tribes handed the braiding techniques down from generation to generation. Tribes offered different types of braids for different occasions and ceremonies. The more intricate braids could take an entire day to create.

Today, braiding can be done by the layperson or professional beautician (usually for a special occasion, such as prom or wedding). Common braids are less complex than those done in some African tribes. Braiding is done with and without ribbons and beads.

French Braids

French braids are one of the most popular types of braids and are created from three small sections of hair, which then pull in the rest of the hair, piece by piece. French braids are often used for weddings, special occasions and everyday looks. The beauty of a French braid is that it can be made dressier or more casual with just a few minor variations. To make a French braid look more formal, add ribbons to the ends of the braids or turn the braid on its side and braid around the head in a semi-circle. Other ideas for a more formal look include tucking the ends of the braids under and securing with bobby pins or adding ribbons throughout the braiding process. To create a more casual look, try creating two French braids, leaving the ends loose or adding one large ribbon at the end of the braid.

Fishtail Braids

Fishtail braids are time consuming, but fairly easy to create. This type of braid is parted in two with tiny sections crossed over all the way down. Fishtail braids create a tight braid that will stay up for 2 or more days and creates a neat, clean look. Imagine the look of a fish’s bones, particularly the tail bones, and you can quickly imagine the look this braid offers. Braid hair while it is wet or dry. By braiding hair wet, you can achieve a tighter braid. Fishtail braids can be done in a single braid down the back or in two or more ponytail sections. Add beads or ribbon during the braiding process for a more formal or zanier look.

English Braids

English braids are created by sectioning all of the hair into three sections and criss-crossing those sections one over the other until the end of the tail is reached. This is the most common type of braid and is like the braids worn by Laura on the “Little House on the Prairie” series. Alternately, the hair can be divided into any number of sections desired, which are then divided into three and braided. Traditional braids can be worn casually, or ribbons and beading can be added. The braids can be tight or loose. The ends can be tucked under, looped around or left loose to change the look.

Dutch Braids

Dutch braids are very similar to French braids but the hair is woven under in an inverted style, so the hair sits on top of the braid instead of underneath. Dutch braids make a nice change from the other styles and can add another element to your hair repertoire. Dutch braids resemble a rope.

Waterfall Braids

One style that is cute for an evening on the town or a special event is the waterfall braid. This is when a small portion of hair is woven into a braid in sections around the top of the scalp. The rest of the hair falls down loose. This looks great with straight hair or curls.

Get Elsa from Frozen’s Hair

What little girl doesn’t love the Disney movie Frozen? When Elsa sings “Let it Go” and changes her appearance, her hair falls into a soft braid to one side and over the front of her shoulder. The video below details how to repeat Elsa’s braid.

Hair Extensions or Not

Many of the videos on YouTube use hair extensions to create the long braided looks that are so popular today. To get the best results, purchase only real hair extensions and always go a shade lighter as it is easier to add a darker color to extensions but very difficult to lighten them (we know this from experience using them for my daughter when she cheered).

You certainly don’t have to invest in extensions to braid your hair in any of these styles, but it will enhance the look if you’re going for a specific effect, such as looking like Elsa.

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Crabby Housewife

Crabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 27 years – they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.