Hair Braiding Styles

Types of Braid Hair Styles

There are several different types of hair styles that incorporate braids. Which style you choose will depend on many factors, and it is important to recognize the different styles are available:

Straight Braids: Either one or two plaits, simply done, that are suitable for everyday wear or can be coiled and twisted into more elaborate looks.

French Braids: A type of plait that is woven into hair closer to the scalp, and the weaving begins higher on the head than a straight braid. French braids are great for everyday or formal wear.

Micro braids: Miniscule braids that may be woven from just a few strands of hair. These braids are typically done all over the head and can be left in for a long period of time.
Up do Braids: A braided style where different braids (straight plaits or micro braids) are then worked into a traditional up do, but the woven hair adds deeper intricacy to the style.
Sloppy Braids: Quick to do, sloppy braids are fun and easy for an informal yet intricate look.

Benefits of Braids

There are several benefits to wearing braid hair styles. First, a braided style keeps hair secure even if it has multiple layers that ordinarily can’t be contained. This is particularly useful for children who need to keep their hair under control but may have damaged or uneven areas. Braids are also useful for adding subtle waves to straight hair: if hair is braided when it is wet and allowed to dry thoroughly, the hair will have a gentle wave without needing a curling iron or other potentially damaging tool.

Braids are also great for formal styles because they are deceptively intricate. A braided style may look like it took hours to weave, but an experienced braider can create multiple plaits in just a few minutes. The more braids required for the style, however, the longer they will take to create. At the same time, because braids offer great control, a finished style is more likely to last longer than without braids.

Problems with Braided Hair

If done incorrectly, braid hair styles can lead to many problems. Very tight braids can be painful and may cause hair damage, even permanent hair loss if left in too long. If braids are not woven gently, they can break hair and give it a ragged, unkempt appearance. Furthermore, because braids are woven, even a few strands out of place may be far more noticeable than with other hair styles. For many women, one of the biggest detriments of braided styles is the fact that they cannot be created with short hair: medium and long hair works best for braids, because the hair must have enough length to properly exhibit the weave.

Reversing Damage

Micro braids are the most stressful style. If your hair has become damaged because of braids, there are several steps that can minimize negative effects. First, braids should always be removed slowly and carefully to prevent additional damage. Deep conditioning treatments coupled with regular use of the proper conditioner for your hair type can help prevent damage from accelerating, giving hair a chance to grow back and regain its former glory. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive exposure to sun, chlorine, and other damaging agents will help your hair stay healthy to combat the stresses of braid hair styles.

Unfortunately, when severe damage has occurred, the best solution may be an emergency cut to remove irreparable sections of your hair. While it may not be the ideal option, an experienced stylist can help conceal much of the damage caused by improper braids.

Choosing the Best Braid Hair Styles for You

The best braid style for you is one that you feel comfortable and happy with. Some women prefer to weave their own braids, and they may prefer straight plaits or French Braids. Other women may want multiple braids and prefer to visit a salon for a professional, even style. Micro braids are favored by many African-American women because they add elegance and intricacy to harder-to-style hair.

No matter which style you are interested in, be sure to consider the basic factors of any new hairdo before setting out to weave your locks:

Will this style look good with my face shape? Because braids often pull hair away from the face, women with high foreheads or somewhat thinning hair may not feel comfortable with braid hair styles.

Is my hair healthy enough for this style? Healthy hair is less likely to be damaged by braids.

Do I want to put the time into a great braid style? Styles that require multiple braids may take hours to create as well as to unravel, and the style may need to be rewoven periodically to incorporate loose hair.

If a braid hair style is for you, it can be a beautiful and elegant look. From up dos to easy everyday styles, braids are a fun and intricate style preferred by many women.

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