Braid Brigade: 17 Trends to Try

by Allison Algoso

Overview

From crown to milkmaid to fishtail, there’s no shortage of braided hairstyle trends to try this season. Whether you're going to the beach or out for a night on the town, there's a braided hairstyle that will make your look red carpet worthy. Gain inspiration from the stars and check out the many ways this not-so-average hairstyle lets you stretch your creative muscles.

The Partial Headband Braid

You may have to brush up on your French braiding skills, but once you’re familiar with the technique you can easily recreate Jennifer Aniston’s partial headband braid. This hairstyle is simple to pull off and can be worn with any outfit. French braid the front section of your hair, pin it in place, and let the rest of your hair drape over it – like a headband!

The Glamorous Side-Braid

Jessica Alba’s delicate side-braid adds a bit of extra glamor to this red carpet look. French braid a side section of your hair before pulling your hair into a sophisticated chignon. Finish the look off with smokey eyes and nude lipstick, and you’re red carpet ready!

The Effortless Braid

Actress Jessica Chastain’s simple braid adds a romantic and feminine element to an otherwise ordinary hairstyle. This braid can be achieved in less than five minutes--just grab a small section of hair and start braiding! No need to tie the ends or make the braid tight to achieve this effortless braid. If you want a bit more body, add soft curls.

The Fishtail Braid

The fishtail braid is a great style to experiment with if you’re feeling creative and up for a challenge. Gain inspiration from the side fishtail braid actress Felicity Jones sported at the premiere of the film “Like Crazy.” To achieve an "undone" look, curl your hair before you begin braiding and use your fingers to separate the completed braid.

The Messy Fishtail Braid

To recreate actress Minka Kelly’s fishtail side braid, keep your braid loose and allow some strands of hair to frame your face. This style is best to do when your hair has already been washed and blown-dry, as it will be easier to separate the braids and tease the loose strands. This style is great for spending a day at the beach or lounging by the pool. Even if you plan to go swimming with your braid intact, when your hair dries, it’ll be easy to manage and you’ll have natural-looking, wavy hair!

The Fishtail Updo

Actress Dianna Agron’s fishtail updo is a unique reimagining of classic milkmaid braids. This look may involve some trial and error, but it can be the main topic of any conversation no matter where you go. Create two separate fishtail braids and wrap them around the top of your head. Be sure to have plenty of hair pins and hairspray on hand to hold the style in place.

The Milkmaid: Boho-Inspired

Milkmaid braids are a great summer hairstyle to work for getting your hair off your neck without reverting to average ponytail or bun hairstyles. To achieve Mary-Kate Olsen’s casual crown braid, loosely curl your hair before you begin braiding. This will give your hair a soft, natural wave that will add texture to the braids. It’s okay if the braids are loose and messy – the key factor to this style is to make it look as natural as possible.

The Milkmaid: Evening Edition

Zoe Saldana flaunts flawless milkmaid braids in this sultry evening look. This hairstyle is a great choice for a night out with the girls as you dance the night away. Part your hair in two equal sections and braid them. Then, wrap the braids around the top of your head, pin them in place, and tuck in any loose hairs. Let your bangs or any face-framing hair fall naturally for a natural look.

The Braided Halo

Scarlett Johansson makes this style her own by placing the braids high on top of her head. Unlike Olsen and Saldana, Johansson keeps this look tamed and controlled by pulling all her hair up and not having any loose hairs flying about. Be sure to really brush all of the tangles out of your hair because you need to pull all your hair back before you begin braiding. This is a clean hairstyle that’s great for weddings, whether you’re the bride or a guest.

The Dutch Braid Chignon

Berenice Bejo demonstrates that braids are so versatile, they can be incorporated into fancy updos. Berenice rocked this take on a French braid chignon at the Oscars. Recreate the look by braiding one side of your hair, only adding hair from the front section into what's called a Dutch braid. The Dutch braid is another version of the French braid, but, instead of blending all your hair into the braid, this braiding technique only pulls the hair from one side, so that it looks like the braid is sitting on top of your hair. Then, pull the rest of your hair into a chignon. There are different methods on how to create a chignon, so choose the best that works for your hair type. Incorporate the braid into your chignon, and you are ready to take on the night.

The French Braid Updo

Emily Blunt looks charming in this French braid updo. Since this style is relatively time consuming to create, reserve this look for formal occasions like weddings, proms, or formal dinners. Start two French braids, one from each side of your head. When the braids meet, twist them together to form a bun and use pins to hold it in place. Use your fingers to separate the braids on top of your head to make them as voluminous as you can.

The Twisted Braid Updo

Charlize Theron turned heads on the red carpet when she donned this intricate style. If you’re a novice, this style might take a couple tries until you finally get it down, but once you do, this look will make heads turn everywhere for you! Start by separating your hair into three sections. Begin braiding one section of hair down the side of your head, keeping the braid as close to the nape of your neck as possible. Continue braiding and tie the end of the braid with an elastic. Braid the other two sections of your hair in similar fashion. Finally, style the three braids into a small bun by interweaving the three braids and pinning them into place.

The Braided Chignon Updo

Kate Middleton’s sophisticated updo shows royalty at its finest. To get the look, separate your hair into five sections: two sections on top, two in the middle, then the bottom section to make into a chignon. Work from the bottom up by starting with the chignon. Then, with the two middle sections, you can either French braid or regularly braid your hair and wrap them around the chignon. Finally, pin the top two sections together, and you’re ready to channel your inner duchess!

The Simple-Side Braid

The side braid is a quick and simple style to create, especially if you’re short on time. Actress Elizabeth Olsen makes it look effortless. Because this style is simple, try applying texturizing sprays and products to your hair beforehand to make your hair shine and look healthy and strong. Make sure the braids aren’t too tight, and don’t be afraid to let some hair naturally fall loose.

The Voluminous Side Braid

Amanda Seyfried takes this simple look and adds a chic touch to it by adding extreme volume to the braid. Channel your inner Hollywood starlet and remember that you want your hair to be smooth and out of your face. Curl your hair before you begin braiding, but be sure the curls aren’t defined. You want big, wavy hair to keep the texture of your hair consistent with the braids. Try teasing your hair to give it that extra lift. Separate the braids with your fingers until they reach the size you want.

The Flattering Side Braid

Unlike Seyfried and Olsen, singer Jordin Sparks parts her hair in the middle, allowing for flattering, face-framing layers. You can curl these loose parts, or just tease them to give them more volume. Instead of braiding until you reach the ends of your hair, stop halfway and curl the ends to keep the texture of the braids consistent.

The Boho-Inspired Side Braid

Blake Lively’s red carpet look combines a side ponytail and a side braid to create this hairstyle. To get the look, create a deep part in your hair, and bring your hair to the strong side. Take two small sections of hair and create a fishtail braid and tie the ends with an elastic hair tie. Then tie all your hair together at the ends, making sure the hair tie is on tight. You can add a hair accessory to polish the look a la Blake Lively, or you can simply sport the braid on its own.

Photo Credits

  • Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Allison Algoso is an intern at eHow. She is an undergraduate at California State University, Long Beach, where she is studying communications and journalism.