Braids are a girl's best friends. Braided hairstyles not only look super chic but also protect our precious tresses from harsh weather and all the hair problems that it triggers. Whether they're inspired by the fictional character of Khaleesi from Game of Thrones or Kim Kardashian's Instagram feeds, braids leave us with a lot of room for creativity. There are so many interesting braiding techniques – each unique in its own way – that your hairstyle would never look boring!
From simple three-strand braids to more intricate French plaits and updos, we've rounded up 10 of the most trendy power braids for you to try this season. No matter what the texture of your hair or your skill level, these braided hairstyles are sure to attract attention and admiration, both on and off duty.
1. Reverse Braid
A relaxed braided hairstyle with just the right amount of feminine charm, the reverse braid is ideal for those who love to air dry their hair or sport a casual but well put-together look at work. Start with well-conditioned hair and mist your tresses with some strand smoother serum spray for extra smoothness and shine.
Use an elastic to secure all your hair into a low ponytail at the base of your neck; split your hair into two sections above the base of the elastic to make a small groove, reverse and tuck your pony inside the groove, pulling the tail out and plait regularly as you would to create a standard braid. Secure the end of the braid with elastic or a fancy ribbon and pull out tiny wisps of hair to lend your braided hairstyle a romantic appeal.
2. Classic French Braid
The fancy French braid is a classic hairstyle that never goes out of fashion. You can wear it to work, to college, to a party, a wedding or to a date. Don't let the intricate weaves scare you; the braid is simpler to plait than it looks. However, for best results, it is advisable to start with smooth, voluminous hair.
To prep your tresses, work a nickel-sized amount of volume inject mousse through your mane to lend instant bulk and body to the strands. Next, start from your temples and section out your hair in a 'V' formation, all the way down to your crown. Start braiding the section, incorporating more hair from each side of your head into the braid till you reach the end. Secure the end with a hair tie or a scrunchy and you're good to go!
3. Side Braid
Up your braid game with a simple tweak – let your plait choose sides! Side braids offer express hairstyle makeover, without taking up even one extra second of your time. All you have to do is plait your braid on one side of your head instead of in the middle or at the nape of your neck. Of course, if time permits, you can play with the weaving technique itself – instead of a regular braid, you can opt for a reverse French braid or even a fishtail braid. Side braids look super trendy and are best worn messy. After you've secured your braid, use a toothbrush to muss up the hair sections or pull out a few face-framing wisps for a soft but stylish effect. If you're working with second day hair, spritzing your roots with some high-lift creation hairspray will also help to boost volume, making your braid look chunky and vivacious!
4. Sleek and High Power Braid
Take your power braid to the next level and use it to 'lift' your features! A sleek, high braid is just as perfect for work as it is for the gym or a glam party or a red carpet event. Neat, sleek and polished with mirror-shine perfection, it is the ultimate style statement of a woman who means business.
To create this sharp and classy braid, work in a dime-sized amount of frizz remover cream through your tresses, comb your hair through and gather it in a high pony at the back of your head. Divide the pony into three sections and make a regular braid all the way down to the ends of your hair. Smooth over a tiny amount of styling gel over your top hair for added shine. The product will also help to tame flyways and lend your power braid a salon-styled finish.
5. Double Reverse Braids or Dutch Braids
This intricate braided hairstyle comprises two Dutch braids or reverse French braids. For those of you who do not know how to plait a Dutch braid, here's a simple tutorial:
Gather about 5-7 inches of your top hair and divide it into 3 sections – left, right and center. Starting at the crown of your head, cross the left section under the center section, then cross the right section under the center section. (Please note, the crossovers are always 'underneath' the sections and not 'over' as in a regular braid). Repeat the weave a couple more times, taking in more hair from the sides and incorporating it into the left and the right sections. Keep adding hair pieces till you reach the nape of your neck and finish the rest of your Dutch braid with the remaining length of hair. Secure the end with elastic and your braids are ready!
Once you've mastered the art of Dutch braiding, creating double reverse braids will be a cakewalk. All you need to do is make two Dutch braids instead of one!
With a punky but feminine feel to them the double reverse braids do look super stylish. You can also secure your braids at the nape of your neck and leave the ends loose. Don't forget to spritz your braided hairstyle with some hairspray for a neat and polished look.
6. Milkmaid Braids
Milkmaid braids, a.k.a Heidi Braids have transpired their characteristic prairie-chic, country girl charm right into our city-girl lives! They look quite feminine, are quick and easy to create and offer a great option to wear our hair in an updo. To make milkmaid braids with your long hair, trace out a sharp middle part, running from your hairline all the way down to the nape of your neck. Make two regular braids on each side of the hair part. Wrap the braids around your head like a headband and secure the ends with bobby pins, tucking in any loose pieces under the plaits. A gentle spritz of hairspray and you're good to go!
Remember, milkmaid braids really don't have to be perfect. You can always add a little texture to your strands before wrapping the plaits to create a mussed-up effect that looks effortlessly stunning.
7. Crown Braid (Faux Halo)
Want to take your braided updo to the next level? If you've been awe-struck by Cersei Lannister's exhaustive updos in GoT, the crown braid will certainly fulfill your dream to sport an intricate braided hairstyle in real life!
A crown braid, also known as a faux halo updo is best created with long hair. However, if you have medium-length tresses and still want to try out this braided hairstyle, go for a half-up variation with a middle-part that has tiny sections of face-framing hair braided, pulled back and secured at the back of your head. Sculpted curls added to the ends of your loose hair will enhance the appeal of your hairstyle.
You can create a crown braid with or without a hair part and accessorize it with ornate hair pins for a big night-out. Go for two French braids and twist them into a low chignon or a spiraled top knot for added drama. Alternatively, allow your crown braid to extend into pigtails and wear it with bangs for a more trendy feel. As compared to milkmaid braids, a crown braid is usually closer to the hairline. You can also switch the regular braids with fishtail or French braids to lend your updo an intricate and interesting finish.
Now that's a way to wear your hair like royalty!
8. Fishtail Braid
Fishtail braids look sporty and chic and can be worn just about anywhere. They instantly lift the appeal of a regular braid and lend it an interesting, playful touch. Before plaiting a fishtail braid, make sure your hair is smooth and detangled. A good strand smoother serum spray will do the job. Next, divide your straight, wavy or curly hair into two section (yep, you read that right!) and cross small sections of hair from the outside of each section over one another. Keep braiding until you've reached the end and secure the braid with elastic. Tug at hair sections to create a carefully unkempt finish and complete the look with a generous spritz of hairspray.
There are many unique ways to wear your fishtail braid. Weave in a bright colored ribbon in one of the sections for a playful touch. For a beach-worthy look, spritz your hair with some salt spray and blow dry it before plaiting it into a tousled braid. Pull out a few wisps of hair to lend a whimsical touch to your braid, or merge the power braid and the fishtail technique to create a sporty braided hairstyle!
9. Face Framing Braids (Braided Bangs)
Bold and beautiful but a tad too fashion-forward and so far restricted to the runways, face framing braids or braided bangs are slowing becoming a part of mainstream fashion. Stay ahead of the game by knowing how to create them before any of your friends do!
The interesting thing about this braided hairstyle is that you don't need to have actual bangs! Spritz your detangled hair with some high-lift creation hairspray to give your strands a boost and trace out a deep side part. Sweep down about 4 inches of your top hair over your forehead and start braiding it along your hairline, all the way down to your ear. Tuck in a couple of bobby pins to secure the end of the braided section and that's it – your face-framing, braided bangs are ready! You can choose to leave the rest of your hair loose or tie it in an updo. Pull out a few wisps of hair to soften the look.
10. Boho Chic Braids
Simple, relaxed and hassle-free, boho braids indeed bring back memories of happier, carefree times. These '70s braids have made a major comeback this season and are garnering a lot of attention on and off social media. Would you like to try these retro braids too... perhaps over the weekend?
Just grab random 1-inch sections of hair and braid them into thin plaits (baby braids) – that's it! Now all you need is a floral headband, a flowy skirt and a peasant's top to complete your fun and feminine boho-chic makeover.