popular braids

Is there any hairstyle as simple and yet beautiful as a braid? This styling technique dates back millennia and still looks great in every setting. Each culture around the world seems to have their own preferred way of braiding hair, and these popular braids hold specific meanings for many groups, signifying economic status, religion, and age in some cases. In Europe, they were once used to help keep hair clean.

Today, we enjoy weaving and twisting our hair in a number of ways, either for convenience or for their elegant appearances. Here is a list of the most elegant and popular braids, as well as a breakdown of how to create them. Once finished, dress them up with flowers, barrettes, or hair jewelry.

The French Braid

Worn tight or loose, the French braid is a classic that works for every occasion, whether heading to a workplace meeting or a wedding (especially if you’re the bride). It may seem complicated to recreate, but the world of YouTube tutorials and Pinterest are wonderful for sharing easy-to-follow pointers and fail-proof hacks.

First, divide a small section of hair into three parts. Take the section from the right side and cross it over the center piece, which will become the new right-hand section. Then cross the left piece over the new center piece, which in turn becomes the new left piece. As you continue crossing side strands over the center, work in bits of loose hair by gathering them to each side. When there is no more extra hair to gather, continue in the simple three-strand method until achieving the desired length.

The Dutch Braid

The Dutch braid is like the French but inside out, so the braid sits on top of your hair rather than being tucked in. Some people find this method easier to manage when braiding their own hair. The Dutch braid also goes by the names “inverted French braid” and “pineapple braid,” and it’s the base for the European “Dutch milkmaid braid.”

As in the French braid technique, divide a section of hair into three parts, but wrap the side strands under (not over) the central piece. Continue braiding as you would with the French braid but keeping in mind to pass side strands under the central strand.

Waist-Length Braids

Who doesn’t love long locks? Browse braid styles online and it’s clear that waist-length braids are “in” and can be worked many different ways, as demonstrated in Essence. Among the most popular styles are “loose” braids and buns. Your best bet for a great look is getting your hair braided by a professional. Then, you’re good to go with little to no fuss for the next few weeks to a couple of months.

The Waterfall Braid

Named for the ripple and cascade effect that it creates, the waterfall braid is a fun style for when you’re torn between keeping your hair down and pulling it back. It’s also easier than it looks to create, requiring the basic French braid technique with the added step of dropping top strands after crossing them over the center and picking up new strands from the bottom.

The Fishtail Braid

It may seem intimidating, but the fishtail braid is as simple to create as it is lovely to behold. Rather than beginning with three strands of hair, like in basic braids, the fishtail is created by parting the hair into two and wrapping small pieces from each side over to the opposite side. Repeat this technique, alternating sides, until the desired braid length has been achieved (or until you’ve run out of hair to braid). Keep in mind that tinier strands will result in a tighter, more detailed look while larger strands will result in a loose-looking braid.

Khaleesi-Inspired Braids


Our favorite Game of Thrones‘ dragon-loving femme fatale is known for her platinum-blonde plait as much as her fire-breathing sidekicks. Sure, actress Emilia Clarke wears wigs most of the time; but a few of her looks as Daenerys are not difficult to achieve — at least the braid part isn’t. (The hair color may be another story!) These styles also work when going for a boho look and can be recreated by mixing two or more of the techniques described above.

popular braids

Image via Pinterest