October 4, 2022

Janelle Monae (left) and Issa Rae (right) with braided hairstyles

Long hair is so versatile. Well, perhaps that depends on who you ask. When you’re regularly working with your long locks, it’s easy to get bored with the length and fall into set style. Maybe you’re constantly popping your hair into a high bun, using hot tools to create lived-in waves, or embracing your natural curls and letting your hair do its thing. But what if you want to try something new? Does that mean a haircut or new hair color?

All of those are options, but braids can offer a way to embrace something new without changing anything permanently. For Black women, styles like box braids, cornrows, and Fulani braids offer protective styling and a way to switch things up. Then there are Dutch braids, cascading braided ponytails, and slicked-backed buns with braided lengths that give anyone with lots of length an opportunity to try something new.

Keep scrolling for 25 of our favorite braided styles that are perfect for long hair.

01of 25

Zendaya

Zendaya with box braids at the CFDA Awards 2021.
JAMIE MCCARTHY / GETTY IMAGES

Box braids are a staple that never goes out of style. If you have long locks like Zendaya, you can skip the addition of kanekalon hair or use the knotless braiding technique to add a little hair and keep the braids in place longer.

02of 25

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union with long braids and a center part
GREGG DEGUIRE / GETTY IMAGES

We love the way this middle part frames the face. To keep flyaways and new growth frizz to a minimum when rocking a visible part, keep a mousse—we love The Doux’s Mousse Def Texture Foam ($15) and Design Essentials’ Foaming Wrap Lotion ($28)—and a silk scarf handy.

03of 25

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys with Fulani Braids
DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS / GETTY IMAGES

Fulani braids are perfect for protecting long coils. Add beads or gold accessories for some extra oomph.

04of 25

Bella Hadid

Bella Hadid with long Dutch braids
THADDAEUS MCADAMS / GETTY IMAGES

We promise you can rock these Dutch braids without looking like a kid. Take a note out of Bella Hadid’s book and accessorize with a pair of gold hoops.

05of 25

Jasmine Sanders

Jasmine Sanders with a long blonde braided high ponytail
PRESLEY ANN / GETTY IMAGES

A slicked-back high pony, braided to the end, is a simple way to show off your unique features and pull a look together in a snap.

06of 25

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne with a braid/twist hairstyle
EDWARD BERTHELOT / GETTY IMAGES

We’re getting rockstar chic with the barely-there pompadour, sleek sides, and twisted length of this braid-twist combo look.

07of 25

Issa Rae

Issa Rae with a braided bun hairstyle
MOMODU MANSARAY / GETTY IMAGES

A braided bun gives the hair texture and height. To secure your length without feeling the pain of bobby pins on the scalp, try Scunci’s Curved Bobby Pins ($3).

08of 25

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland with her braids pulled into a ponytail
CINDY ORD / GETTY IMAGES

Pulling box braids up takes less than sixty seconds and gives you a completely different look. Don’t forget to wrap a couple of braids around the base of your ponytail for some depth.

09of 25

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson with Dutch braids and baby hair
GREGG DEGUIRE / GETTY IMAGES

When slicking back or braiding long hair, let those flyaways do their thing: They show off your hair texture and allow the look to feel more lived in.

10of 25

Laura Harrier

Laura Harrier with long braided hair in a ponytail
ROBIN MARCHANT / GETTY IMAGES

This simple look takes us back to the ’90s’ and can be easily recreated at home.

11of 25

Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale with a braided crown hairstyle
ALLEN BEREZOVSKY / GETTY IMAGES

Haven’t had the time to give your hair a good wash? We get it. So why not try a look that makes use of your less-than-clean strands? Your natural oils will make stylishly tucking your hair away a breeze.

12of 25

Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell with a fish tail braid
JON KOPALOFF / GETTY IMAGES

A loose braid with a wispy, face-framing tendril is the perfect combination of elegant and effortless. Let Oribe’s Superfine Hairspray ($42) be your assistant to lock in this look, but keep the messy texture.

13of 25

Blake Lively

Blake Lively with a braided high ponytail
JON KOPALOFF / GETTY IMAGES

High ponytails don’t always have to be snatched, and this look proves just that.

14of 25

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monae with an accessorized low braid
EDWARD BERTHELOT / GETTY IMAGES

This side-parted low ponytail would have been a winner solo, but the accessories really make it pop.

15of 25

Ciara

Ciara with a loose fishtail brad
PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN / GETTY IMAGES

If your hair is straight, light bumping of your ends with a curling wand will help create the same loose texture we see paired here with a structured fishtail braid.

16of 25

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu with a long braid
STEVE GRANITZ / GETTY IMAGES

For a more classic look, take a few notes from this gorgeous look and braid the base of your head and the length.

17of 25

Julissa Calderon

A close up of Julissa Calderon's baby hair and cornrows
PAUL ARCHULETA / GETTY IMAGES

Both protective and beautiful, this cornrowed look is the best of both worlds.

18of 25

Zoe Kravitz

Zoe Kravitz with small braids in a bun
TAYLOR HILL / GETTY IMAGES

Small box braids can last a while, but you may get tired of the length every now and then. Luckily, claw hair clips are back. Grab one and you can recreate this look in no time.

19of 25

Solange

Solange wearing a scarf with her braids
HENRY S. DZIEKAN III  / GETTY IMAGES

Adding a scarf to braids can instantly add a fresh dose of individuality.

20of 25

Beyoncé

Beyonce with long braids and a finger wave
JON KOPALOFF / GETTY IMAGES

We still think about this look often. With the right stylist, these finger-waved cornrows are attainable.

21of 25

Latto

Rapper Latto with a long blonde braid
ASTRID STAWIARZ / GETTY IMAGES

Latto has long, gorgeous curls, but she isn’t afraid to play with length. With hair extensions, your ponytails know no bounds.

22of 25

Lily Collins

Lilly Collins with a sleek braided crown hairstyle
FREDERICK M. BROWN  / GETTY IMAGES

Braids and straight, sleek hair, work so well together. To minimize flyaways, use a touch of pomade or hairspray to keep things in place without leaving the hair crunchy.

23of 25

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi with a dramatic braided hairstyle
MATT WINKELMEYER /2021 MTV MOVIE AND TV AWARDS / GETTY IMAGES

Yara Shahidi has so much fun with her hair, and it shows.

24of 25

Chloe

Chloe Bailey with her locs braided
AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN / GETTY IMAGES

Chloe continuously reminds us that locs are both beautiful and versatile. If you have locs, try adding some extensions to create braided hairstyles.

25of 25

Halle

Halle Bailey with her locs braided into pigtails.
JON KOPALOFF / GETTY IMAGES

These loc’d ponytails are a reminder that our favorite grade school hairstyle isn’t off-limits in adulthood.