The craving for cornrowed and braided styles in the summer tends to be strong for curlies, and this year was no different. Apart from the functionality of giving your hair a break from daily styling, braids of any kind are some of the hottest hairstyles in existence, hands-down. 

And there are a multitude of different kinds to fit your individual tastes: box braids, stitch braids, boho braids, crochet braids, “Lemonade” braids à la Beyoncé, you name it. The combination of classic braid styles with splashes of new trends and creativity makes for the perfect environment to keep braided styles fresh and innovative for years to come. 

Ahead we have 15 of those fresh and on trend braided styles, some of the best we’ve seen this year. 

1. Gypsy Braids 

Gypsy-Braids

Photo: @rahelbrhane_

Leaving tendrils of hair out of braids for a slightly “undone” look has been a popular look these past few years. These medium gypsy braids by LA braider @youxvanese look effortless, beachy, and au naturale. 

2. Heart Cornrows 

 

Hearts have braids in a chokehold this summer, and we absolutely love it. Watch as stylist and braid coach @pearlthestylist maps them out in this cornrowed bun style. 

3. Bright Colors

Photo: @zoleeg

Natural colors are cool and all, but sometimes a cool hairstyle calls for an equally cool color like these bubble gum pink box braids. Bonus points if the color is particularly brilliant and bold. 

4. Stitch Braids 

Photo: @bbyricann

These braids are a type of feed-in braids with no knots, and can be kept simple or have intricate designs. Stitch braids tend to have the horizontal line pattern that makes them look like a “stitch.” Anyone who’s into super clean and neat braids will be a fast fan of this technique. 

5. Micros

Photo: @sharon.alexie

Anyone who grew up watching shows from the ‘90’s can relate—you probably wanted this style at some point in your childhood. The good news is, it’s not too late to get ultra-small braids. Modern micro braids are in and looking sexy as ever. 

6. Beads

 
 
 
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Your mom used to put them on the ends of your braids as a kid, and she was onto something. The beads add another layer of customization to braided styles, and you can’t deny the sound of swinging beads on braids is incredibly satisfying. 

7. Braided Space Buns 

Photo: @slimreshae

One of the easiest and most enjoyable braided styles: space buns. Box braids can achieve all kinds of fun styles and this one is particularly quick, sometimes not even needing anything to secure it. Just wrap the braids around each other tightly and go. 

8. Ultra Long Braids 

Photo: @beingstefs

Nothing says “summer” like some thigh-length box braids. If shoulder and back-length braids are becoming stale, opt for these or even longer braids. 

9. Bantu Knots 

Photo: @marsaimartin

A style with a long history, Bantu knots are a staple in Black hair culture. Yet this modern iteration on Marsai Martin’s long braids by @alexander_armand and @magnoliahands feels new and refined. 

10. Gravity-Defying Up-Dos

 
 
 
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The thing about crowns is they don’t have to hang. They can create shapes and designs like no other, and braids are the perfect medium for it. 

11. Half and Half 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Braid Bar Ldn (@braidbarldn)

 

Don’t wanna commit to a full head of braids? Try leaving the back loose with a half-wig or extensions. 

12. Braided Knots 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Monae Everett (@monaeartistry)

 

This super creative style by Monae Everett is fun and elegant. The inspiration for these braided knots comes from a love of “organic styles and odd numbers,” which explains the three sections and three-strand braids as well as their placement.

13. Jumbo Braids 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Natural hair (@_harrisjanae_)

 

If small braids seem like a time eater, consider extra extra large ones. There’s less parting and it makes a huge statement. And don’t forget a good gel/edge control, if that’s your jam. 

14. Fulani-Inspired 

Photo: @torinashtun

Influenced by the West African Fula tribe, Fulani braids are usually identified by their formation. Most often there’s a braid in the center of the head and two braids by the ears going in an opposite direction to the rest of the braids, as depicted here. 

15. Braided Ponytail 

Photo: @goldynaps

The only thing more powerful than a high pony is a braided high pony. Fairly easy to execute with a huge payoff. 

Share your favorites from this list or your own personal favorite braided styles below.