10 Easy Ways to Wear Braids This Summer
Braids come in all shapes and sizes and are the perfect way to jazz-up any look.
Whether you prefer more chunky plaits, or prefer small single braids, there's a style out there for every hair type and texture.
We spoke to celebrity hair expert Cory Aaron Scott, along with fellow celebrity hairstylist and founder of of NTRL by Sabs, Sabrina Rowe to share some tips on a few celeb and expert-approved braided styles.
The Reverse Braid
“Kim Kardashian’s reverse braids are a great go-to braid for the beach or pool, to complete that summer vibe,” says Scott.
Before braiding the hair, Scott recommends misting the hair with sea-salt spray. “It will give the hair more elasticity for braiding, and the perfect texture when it’s dried,” he says.
The Ghana Braid Updo
“This style is so elegant and extremely sleek on Lupita Nyong’o,” says Rowe. “Ghana braids are so amazing because they allow for your face to be on perfect display, especially when in an updo. Lupita looks regal and expensive, and that’s exactly what you want on a red carpet.”
To keep the style looking fresh, always make sure to wear a silk scarf at night. “With any iteration of Ghana braids, it's important to wrap the hair at night to keep the hair protected and extend the life of the style,” says Rowe. “A satin or silk bonnet or scarf is ideal and you can rehydrate and play with your baby hairs each day with oil and edge control.”
The French Braid
“I love Margot Robbie’s beautifully whimsical French braid, tucked into a classic updo,” says Scott. “It’s a destructed version of a classic, modern, and chic braid.”
To achieve this look, start off by loosely braiding the hair around the face, as you move to the nap, tighten it up, Scott recommends. “Secure the hair with hairpins to complete the look," he adds. "Leave it intentionally unfinished, and undone.”
The Goddess Fishtail Braid Pigtails
“I absolutely loved this style on Yara Shahidi, It's so youthful and playful but she remains classy and chic,” says Rowe. “The soft loose pieces are why it's considered "goddess" and so feminine. The additional braided pieces draped along her head give it a crown vibe while allowing for length in the tails. This is a style that can be remixed in many ways for a multitude of hair textures.”
Overall, this is a great look to keep in your back pocket.
When styling, keep in mind there are two ways you can create the draped crown in the front; pull out equal-sized sections of the pigtail hair in the front before doing the fishtail braids, simply braid those down, and drape them across with pins. The second option is to make your own smaller braids separately with braiding hair and drape and pin them across.
The Classic Milk-Maid Braid
“This classic milk-maid braid is elevated, providing a chic and structured look,” says Scott. “It's beautifully crafted and gives Lily Collins effortless-chic, perfect for a red carpet look or any formal event.”
To create a smooth finish, Scott recommends smoothing out the hair by pinning the braids now symmetrically. “Finish with extra strong hair spray and shine serum,” adds Scott.
The Sleek Braided Ponytail
“This snatched pony on Kylie Jenner is absolutely fabulous! It's sleek and chic and gives the inches of our dreams,” says Rowe. “I have always been a pony lover and this style does not disappoint. This look can be worn on many different textures and give you a good reason to whip your hair.”
To create a smooth foundation, always make sure to blow out your hair beforehand. “The better the foundation the more sleek your pony will appear, Rowe explains. "Use gel and mousse to tame flyaways and get all your natural hair into a tight elastic before you even think about the braid. Once you feel good about the pony, you may proceed with braiding the hair with or without adding extension. I personally would feed in extension hair so you can enjoy all that fabulous length!”
The Fishtail Braid
“Here, Lucy Liu is wearing a fishtail braid, a classic go-to,” says Scott. “I prefer to create mine to be undone – the messier, the better!”
To create the undone look, go back and pull and tease the braid with your finger the stylist says. “For a chic-polished look, finish the braid with a hairband that’s the same color as your hair,” he adds.
Knotless Box Braids
“This is an oldie but a goodie, and one of my favorites on Zendaya,” says Rowe. “This style is definitely the foundation of braids and offers the most versatility. Once the hair is braided it can be styled any way loose hair can be styled. Updo's, half-up half-down, ponytails, the options are limitless.”
Make sure to protect your hair at night with a silk or satin bonnet or scarf and pay close attention to your scalp. “Braids like this can be worn for up to two months, but only if you take good care of your scalp and keep it clean. Oil your scalp daily or weekly, based on your hair type, to allow for moisture retention.”
The Grecian Updo
“This style works well on Jennifer Lopez because it’s perfectly structured and shows off her beautiful neckline, excellent for any red carpet event,” says Scott.
To perfect this look, Scott advises to secure the hairpiece exactly centered back to elongate the neck and present the beautiful braids.
The Dutch Braided Pony
“This is a simple but chic way to play with braids,” says Rowe. “I love how this dresses up Olivia Culpo’s ponytail. You have two textures; soft, touchable braids on top, and sleek, rock and roll sides slicked into a feminine ponytail.”
Once your hair foundation is set, carving out your parts will be everything for this style. “Make sure to decide exactly how much hair you want to leave for the braids on top and section that out on your crown,” explains Rowe. “The bottom half and back of the hair will be pulled back really tight so you can get that hair out of the way first with a separate elastic and combine the top part later, for the pony. Most importantly, there must be two main parts; the front top braids and the bottom sides and back you will combine into your pony. You can dutch braid the two top sections and combine the ends with an elastic, which will go into or around the entire pony. To finish, tousle the ponytail hair with a hot tool and a working spray for some fun waves and movement.”