Alicia Keys is the perfect example of the term aesthetic, from her soulful persona to her culturally stamped hairstyles. She has placed her spin on the braids trend and has dropped Keys Soulcare hair collection as an addition to her icon status. 

Just like the Grammy award-winning songstress, you can embody this aesthetic too. We have outlined the perfect play-by-play to scoring tens on your braid-back style.

How to Achieve Alicia Keys’s Straight Back Braids
Portrait of singer Alicia Keys, New York, 2001. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
Photo by Anthony Barboza via Getty Images

Healthy Foundation

1). To sport this look, we advise having a healthy foundation. Your hair will need to be washed and blow-dried to ace this style. For healthy hair under your protective style, we advise a hydrational shampoo like Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo and conditioner combo from our NC Shop.

Parting

2). Once hair is blow-dried and refreshed, you will part your hair however many braids you want. You will line each part with edge control or smoothing gel for a crisp section. Then, take pieces of your natural hair and twine your strands in a pattern-like way. You will repeat this pattern until you reach the tip of your hair for a complete single braid.

Extensions

3). This step is for my ladies who love hangtime. To add extra flair, you can buy a pack of textured hair. If you are like us, you know we are going with ole faithful and that’s one pack of Sensationnel’s X-pression braiding hair in whatever length or color you desire. Just like the pattern in step 2, you will repeat the same order but with the braiding hair mixed in.

Accessories

4). Get creative! We love this style because not only is it protective of our natural strands, but it also allows us to include some of our favorite accessories. You can add nude-colored beads to the bottom like Key’s did in her 06 era. You can also add extra curls in between for a natural boho look. The braid-back look can also be styled in a low bun. With laid edges, you, too, can embody this sleek look.

How to Achieve Alicia Keys’s Straight Back Braids

One thing about Key’s is that she is a versatile Queen, and she has the career and hair to prove it. She has given us multiple braid-back styles, so we’re throwing in a bonus look for the ladies with range.

Fulani Braids

Fulani Braids are the perfect braid back style to rock this Black History Month as they symbolize origin, particularly from West Africa to Nigeria. This style represents history; wherever you go, you will be recognized for rocking this cultural statement. 

Although similar to the traditional braid backs, the front row of Fulani braids is typically braided down 25%-50% of the way on the head, while the remaining hair is used for single braids.

Image Source: @themaeaffect

Feed-In Technique

1). To accomplish this look, you would use a similar method as listed before. You can either start your braids traditionally, or you can start your braids doing the feed-in method. The feed-in style can be accomplished by using smaller portions of hair to gradually feed into whatever size braid you want.

Image Source: @lavishlyjackie

Creativity

2). For Fulani-style braiding, the part should not go all the way down like a cornrow. You will part the top row of your hair, but it should not be a deep part vertically. You can be as unique as you’d like with the braids. The zig-zag braids are a nice touch if you’re an Allen Iverson fan like me. You can also part a reverse braid in the front, similar to Key’s. 

Image Source: @theafricangrip

Styling

3). Once you have parted and braided those rows down, you will use your remaining hair to part the rest of your braids in the back. These braids don’t have to be braided down. They can hang freely for more style flexibility. We love the high-braided Fulani Ponytail.

How to Achieve Alicia Keys’s Straight Back Braids
Image Source: @ALICIAKEYS

Maintenance

4). You may wonder what’s next after completing the braiding and styling process for this look. At NC, we value longevity and want you to maintain and preserve your natural tresses to your healthiest ability. We recommend African Pride Black Castor Miracle Braid & Scalp Cleansing Rinse for braid maintenance at our NC Shop to keep your braids shiny and refreshed. 

Alicia Keys has natural hair goals because her hair represents her story while defining Black History. For more tips on cultural hair trends, click here.

Jada Rice

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