Today, braids are more popular than ever, and the versatility they allow us only gives us more styling options than ever.
From cornrows and box braids to updos and braided ponytails, a number of celebrities like Zendaya, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union and Simone Biles, have all rocked these hairstyles on the red carpet, on-screen, or at home — and it's easy to see why. These looks are easy to maintain, but still pack a punch.
"Braids represent power, journey through hair and lifestyle," explains Susan Oludele, a Nigerian-American celebrity hairstylist, and founder of Hair by Susy. "Braids are also a good protective style to help your hair grow."
Below, Oludele shares seven of her favorite braided hairstyles.
The popularity of the style is mainly because it allows a lot of creativity. Cornrows can be worn in all different shapes and sizes, including zig-zag patterns, swirled up-dos, and pigtails. "I love cornrows because they are simple, clean, and easy to do using extensions or natural hair," says Oludele.
Braided Bantu Knots
The statement hairstyle adds a cool edge to any look. "Bantu knots are a fun hairstyle to do," says Oludele. "They can be done with extensions by braiding sections of hair and rolling them, and you can even add baby hairs to the style."
The intricate detail of this updo shows how creative you can get with cornrows. Whether you're looking for a party look or an elegant do, this bun is a chic way to add a touch of glamour to your look. Add some accessories, like flowers or embellished combs to take this hairstyle to a whole new level.
Braiding hair can be found in pretty much any color you imagine which means you can have a lot of fun with it. Express yourself, change up your look, or make a statement with colored braids!
If you've always wanted to rock a bob but don't want to go through the trouble of regular straightening and frequent trims, you don't have to. You can use braids to create a hassle-free bob with a lot less maintenance. "Braided Bobs can be done with natural hair or extensions using the three-strand twist method," Oludele shares. "I usually braid the extension to the shoulder or the neck, then I tie the ends and cut and burn them to create a short hairstyle."
VIDEO: Venus Williams Brought Back Her Signature Beaded Braids
Crochet Braid Ponytail
If you're looking for a braided style that has texture and length, this look is for you. Add crochet hair to any cornrow style to create a long, flowing ponytail.
"Ombré braids are done using one color at the base and a second color towards the bottom or middle of the braids, to create an ombré effect," says Oludele. "You can do two to six ombré levels depending on the length of the hair."
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