The Best Photos Of Bold, Beautiful Braid Inspiration

Braids have gone from being in style to on their way out, to incorrectly rebranded, to reinvented, and so much more. But the fact remains: They'll never leave our hairspiration board. Braids are not only a foolproof way to rock your hair, but a super-easy way to get creative with it.

Whether you're more of a side-braid, fishtail, cornrow, or box-braid gal, there's bound to be an iteration that appeals to your hair type and personality. Not sure which group you fall into? We've tapped four of the top stylists in the field to dish on their favorite braided looks. The days of not knowing what to do with your hair are officially behind you. Here, a plait-ful of options.
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Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images.
Solange Knowles' bohemian box braids are purposefully loose, but still retain a sense of streamlined elegance.
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"This braid is perfect for an elegant updo, and is just made by tying knots!" — Sarah Potempa, celebrity hairstylist and Beachwaver creator
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY VICTORIA ADAMSON.
The classic pigtail style is the coolest way to showcase ombré color.
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Photo: Via @lacyredway.
"I gave Olivia Palermo this hairstyle during NYFW. We both love braids, so we always have fun doing them. I combined five separate fishtail braids into one hairstyle. Four braids on the side and one down the middle to complete this look." — Lacy Redway, celebrity hairstylist
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Photo: Via @vernonfrancois.
"This punk-rock urban braid with Bantu knots running along the top of the head makes for an interesting street style moment, whilst still being really wearable." — Vernon François, celebrity hairstylist
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images.
We're still in awe of the "inception braid" that Diane Kruger wore at a premiere for The Bridge in 2014. It looks more complicated than it actually is to create, we swear. InStyle has a breakdown of how to do it yourself.
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Photo: Via @kimblehaircare.
"I like this [style] because it’s simple and looks good on everyone. Because the braids are pulled back, it really shows off the face. [Zendaya and I] snapped this photo in November, and it’s really trendy now.

"After cleansing, wet down the hair with my Kimble Beauty Bounce Back Curl Liquid Curl Enhancer, and then apply a curl cream. Next, part the hair down the center and braid each section back. Try to start at the same place and keep the braids the same size. Secure with a clip or elastic on the ends. For extra finish, use a gel or pomade and a brush to keep baby hairs in place." — Kim Kimble, celebrity hairstylist
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Photo: Michael Stewart/ Getty Images.
"A great way to frame your face is to use a small braid to pull hair back and away from your face, like this braid I created on Emily Blunt." — Sarah Potempa
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Photo: BFA.com/REX/Shutterstock.
"These cornrows are most certainly not called 'boxer braids,' as they have been called lately. I gave Jourdan Dunn these cornrows for the Met Gala. Instead of leaving the cornrows tight at the nape, I put them up in a ponytail to show off the back detail of the dress." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @beyonce.
Why not show off a set of blond cornrows, à la Beyoncé on the cover of Garage magazine?
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Photo: Via @tarajiphenson.
Another option is to go the half-head cornrow route, like Taraji P. Henson. Into her braid-design game? Read up on how to re-create the undercut look here.
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Photo: Via @traceeellisross.
Or, take a page out of Tracee Ellis Ross' hair book and opt for designed cornrows that span across the whole head.
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
Add some flair to your workout with this 'do. "Braid your hair back into a ponytail, and then use the Beachwaver Co Wrap Up Bun to create the perfect topknot," Potempa suggests.
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
"This braid is perfect as festival season is coming up for a subtle, yet fun [look]." — Sarah Potempa
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Photo: Samir Hussein/ Getty Images.
Fishtail braids pinned to the back of the head are an unexpectedly glamorous take on the style.
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Photo: Via @laeldivine.
"LOVE a Bantu knot. Not only is this a great protective hairstyle, but it's a great expression of personal style. I love how she accented her knots with gold hair accessories." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Steve Granitz/ WireImage/ Getty Images
Business in the front, serious bun-braid party in the back.
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Photo: Matt Baron/ BEI/ Shutterstock.
Rihanna's Little Mermaid side braid is what Disney-princess-hair dreams are made of.
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
"An alternative to the mohawk is to create volume with a braid. Fishtail-braid your hair in the center of your head, and then pancake it for additional volume." — Sarah Potempa
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Photo: Via @teyonahparris.
"Teyonah Parris is hair goals. She always provides great natural hair inspiration, so I expected nothing less when I saw her in this hairstyle. I love the combination of thicker braids with mini cornrows." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
"I love this hairstyle because it’s an edgy, but fun alternative to a mohawk — and very easy to do!" — Sarah Potempa
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
Do this half-up fishtail braid yourself in four simple steps. Start by sectioning the hair to begin the fishtail braid at the top. After securing the end with an elastic, delicately tug on and pull out pieces from the braid to create a cool, incongruous shape.
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
This fishtail braid incorporates the same steps, except with the focus on the sides of your head. After you've completed the style, pull both your braids and beach waves into a ponytail for a cute peekaboo moment.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY VICTORIA ADAMSON.
Gather your braids into a bun for a showstopping look.
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Photo: Michael Tran/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images.
"This long fishtail braid is very interesting, and a great way to show off the color, length, and the intricate technique. It’s [perfect] for women with long hair who want to show off the length in a new way.

"To get this look, start with a center-part and brush the hair back into a low ponytail. Separate the hair into two sections, and begin to weave the smaller sections from underneath so that they overlap. Secure with a ponytail holder to keep the ends together." — Kim Kimble
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Photo: Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
"I gave Lupita Nyong'o this crown braid for Glamour's Women of the Year Awards. This hairstyle is so versatile. It can be done on any hair type and almost all hair lengths." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @rodortega4hair.
Hairstylist Rod Ortega gave us the skinny on this impromptu braid he created on Blake Lively while the two were hiking. It looks complicated, but it's essentially a knot placed between every full rotation of a French braid. Read here for more deets.
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Photo: Katie Jones/WWD/REX/Shutterstock.
"I love that so much inspiration today comes from the '90s, because that was my favorite decade. These bold box braids are for the confident girl [who] wants to make a statement. This style is best for textured and natural hair types." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
"I love finding different variations of the French braid. This style only uses two strands." — Sarah Potempa
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Photo: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic.
"This look on Amanda Seyfried is so playful, and I enjoyed seeing it done on the red carpet. It's cool, chic, and effortless all at the same time." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Erik Pendzich/ REX/ Shutterstock.
Don your braided mohawk with gold rings, like Janelle Monáe.
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Photo: Via @vernonfrancois.
"A simplistic form body braid. Less is more in this case. This would suit anyone with long, thick, textured curly hair. This is a great way to keep hair away from your face while carrying an effortless style." — Vernon François
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
For this crown braid look, Potempa started out by braiding two sections of hair, one behind the left ear and another on the right. After loosening both braids a bit, she wrapped them over the top of the head, securing them with bobby pins.
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Photo: Via @zoeisabellakravitz.
"I love that Zoë [Kravitz] mixed box braids and loc extensions in this style, and accented the look with baby hairs." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @sarahpotempa.
To re-create this "mega French braid," as Potempa's dubbed it, start by teasing hair at the root for volume. Next, create a bump at the front of the hair, securing it with bobby pins. French-braid the hair as usual, and secure it on the end with a clear elastic. Lastly, pull on each loop of the braid to "pancake and add volume," Potempa says.
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Photo: Via @rafafranco2.
"I love these yarn braids. These were literally done with yarn that you would use to crochet. I love the bold colors. This is a great style for music festivals." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @missysueblog.
"This look really shows the best of both worlds. It’s romantic with a little bit of edge. The soft waves are flattering and feminine, but then you have the braided topknot, which gives it a rocker feel. I love the mix of hair textures in this style — from large, beachy waves to the braided knot.

"To get this look, use a large-barrel curling iron to create waves all over. Part hair into three sections, and French-braid the middle section, going back halfway. Pull the hair into a ponytail, and create a poufy bun. Make sure you braid far enough back (to the end of the crown) so the bun isn’t too far forward, and you can really see the braid." — Kim Kimble
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Photo: Via @vernonfrancois.
"This braid is on a client with natural curly hair, which was blowdried and styled. This is a really good weekend look for women with busy lifestyles. My client just had a baby, so this style allowed low maintenance whilst retaining chic." — Vernon François
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY VICTORIA ADAMSON.
Braids don't have to be complicated. This simple add-on is a classic upgrade to a basic ponytail.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
"Who says you can't wear braids to the Golden Globes and still look chic? I accented Olivia Palermo's glam waves with braids to give it a little edge." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @amandlastenberg.
"I gave Amandla [Stenberg] this hairstyle for the Marc Jacobs show at NYFW this season. I accented her Afro with two really long cornrows to frame her face. We used a little bit of hair extensions from Beauty Works to exaggerate the braids." — Lacy Redway
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Photo: Via @jenatkinhair.
Take a cue from Kim Kardashian and North West, and match braids with your favorite gal pal.
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Photo: Via @vernonfrancois.
"This is a very natural look. It's almost a secret braid running along the nape of the neck. It’s a great way of keeping hair out of your face, whilst keeping your hairline intact. Iconic celebrity influencers such as Erykah Badu have all been known to wear this." — Vernon François
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