No matter what hair length you’re working with, knowing how to braid hair instantly elevates your styling game. While you may think that having short hair limits your braided hairstyle options, think again! Whether you recently underwent a drastic haircut or have always been a fan of short hair, there are a ton of on-trend plaited looks for short hair that take way less time to achieve.
If you’re searching for the best braids for short hair, we’ve gathered 38 of our favorites to try. From bohemian styles to intricate zig-zag braids, we picked a variety of braids to help you add versatility to your styling routine.
What braid is best for short hair?
Cornrows, mini braids, French braids, and Dutch braids are some of the best braids to try if you have short hair. While you may not have a lot of hair to work with, these styles look good on any length.
What is the shortest length of hair that can be braided?
You can create braids on hair that is about ear length.
How long does it take to grow hair for braids?
On average, hair grows about half an inch per month, so growing your hair long enough for braids will depend on how long your hair is at the start of your grow-out process.
Frustrated by locks that don’t seem to grow? Consider adding an anti-breakage system like Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner Duo into your hair care routine. When used together, the duo helps reduce breakage by up to 81%, so you can finally reach those extreme lengths.
What are the easiest braids to do?
If you're new to braiding hair, mastering a simple three-strand braid is a great place to start. French braids and Dutch braids are also easy and versatile.
How do you braid a pixie cut?
Though you may have less hair to work with, it’s not impossible to score braids on a pixie cut. Try braiding hair in areas where hair is the longest, like a face-framing braid or a diagonal braid across the crown of the head.
When opting for a braid on a pixie haircut, it’s better to try the look on unwashed hair, which is less slippery. Or, you can create hold and texture with the help of a mousse or a volumizing dry shampoo. Matrix Vavoom Extra Full Freezing Spray is a great one to try since it refreshes hair while adding workable volume.
How do you do cute braids in short hair?
From double Dutch braids to mini accent braids, there are many on-trend and easy braids for short hair to try. Below, we’ve rounded up 38 of our favorites that you can recreate now.
The 38 Best Braids For Short Hair To Try Now
It's no shocker that cornrows have remained popular for a long time. The long-lasting and versatile braid is perfect for women of different hair textures and lengths—but we particularly love these braids for short natural hair. For the best results, we recommend using the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk before you begin braiding to help moisturize your strands.
Knotted Cornrow Side Braids
Embellished Braided Pigtails
If you’re someone who likes to keep your hair out of your face, this look is perfect for you. Add a few metal rings throughout the plaits to take the final look up a notch.
Shortened Braided Pigtails
Here’s another look that proves braids and pigtails are a match made in heaven. Instead of braiding to the ends of your hair, secure each braid with a hair elastic at the nape of your neck to create cute little pigtails.
Very few styles can take you from the office to happy hour. Side braids, however, are a fun way to slay at your morning meeting and during a night out.
Faux-Hawk Bun Braid
If you’re going to an interview or work event, this look is the perfect combination of style and sophistication. Simply put, it’s a slicked-back bun with a cornrow down the middle of your head. We love this look because it allows you to add some personality to your everyday office style.
Peekaboo braids are the flirtatious sister of side braids. They look fun and surprising when weaved down the center of the head, peeking out of a half-up style.
There is no piece of art more beautiful than an intricate braid design. If you have a couple of hours to spare, ask your stylist to recreate these zig-zag braids. The time spent in the chair will be well worth it once you’re swimming in compliments.
If you’re an indecisive hair guru, this look combines two of the most favored styles. Meet the Dutch bun, which is merely the love child of Dutch braids and a messy bun. To recreate this look, part your hair down the middle and create a Dutch braid on each side of the part. Wrap the bottom parts of your braid into a messy bun. Secure the bun with several bobby pins, apply a few spritzes of hairspray like Redken Control Addict 28 Strong-Hold Hairspray, and you’re good to go.
Having short strands doesn’t mean you get excluded from all the hair styling fun! You can still slay a gorgeous style by creating a half-up braid. This particular braid starts and ends at the middle of your head and is a lovely way to style your shorter strands.
If you're a braid enthusiast, you won't mind taking the time to create this Victorian-inspired braided ponytail. If you want to amp up the regal vibes, pair your style with statement earrings to pull the look together.
Voluminous Side Braid Ponytail
To make your short hair appear more voluminous, start by adding a spritz of Biolage Professional Styling Complete Control Hairspray and gently backcomb your mane. Then, take a small piece of hair from the side of your head and create a standard French braid. Lastly, tie your hair into a ponytail and let the compliments pour in.
Don’t let the length of hair in this video tutorial fool you! The best part about waterfall braids is that you don’t need long locks to show off this stunning technique. This braid looks like a gorgeous waterfall cascading into a blanket of lush hair.
Sometimes, the last thing you want is to have your hair blowing in your face while trying to go about your day. That’s where halo braids come in. Before creating your halo braid, use Biolage Professional’s All-In-One Multi-Benefit Spray to prime your hair for styling and add smoothness. Be sure to add some floral embellishments for an eye-catching look.
Face-Framing Headband Braid
Headbands have come back in a big way for 2023, but this look doesn’t require a trip to the beauty supply store to get it right. Recreate the style yourself with tight braids located right on the hairline. They frame the face beautifully while giving off a unique DIY vibe.
If you’d prefer using hair accessories to amp up your look, try something new and make your braid your new accessory. A braided headband creates a gorgeous halo effect that will have everyone asking you for styling tips.
Side-Parted Headband Fishtail
To mimic this style, start a Dutch braid just above one ear and carry it parallel to your hairline. If you’re underwhelmed by the way your natural strands look as a fashionable accessory, opt for braided extensions in your color instead. Just pin the extra hair in place and get going.
Woven Half-Up Bun
Once you’ve started spicing up your half-up looks, you’ll fall down a rabbit hole of braids, twists, and accessories that work for even the choppiest short hair. Start with a high half-up braid, then twist it into a messy bun and pin it into place with bobby pins.
Wrap Around Braid
When in doubt, braid it out. This wrap-around braid is a quick style for anyone who needs a low-maintenance look in a rush. Your loose waves are the perfect texture to complement this easy braid.
Braided Low Buns
This braided bun is the epitome of bohemian style. It’s an effortless look that can be done at home by following the tutorial above or taken to the salon for inspiration.
Double Loose Braids
These simple loosely-woven three-strand braids are easy for everyday styling and let you show off your natural texture. Be sure to pancake each of your plaits to create a fuller appearance. Complete the look with a few spritzes of flexible-hold hairspray like Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray.
Rows of Accent Braids
If you have a lot of short hair to work with, separate your hair into four even sections and craft four three-strand braids starting at your hairline.
Colorful Accent Braid
Braids are a go-to for showing off dimensional hair color, which is why we love this three-strand accent braid paired with a fantasy shade.
Mini Rope Braid With Shaved Side
What we love most about rope braids is that you can create them on any hair length and texture. This mini rope braid paired with a shaved side is edgy and playful.
If you’re looking to add an element of glam to your ‘do, intertwine hair rings into any braided hairstyle.
Mini Faux-Hawk Ponytail
If you want to get in touch with your inner rock star but fear committing to a full-on mohawk, try a mini faux-hawk with a ponytail instead. It has all the edge of a traditional mohawk, but it allows you to salvage your shoulder-length locks. Keep your natural curls defined and frizz-free with a touch of Matrix’s A Curl Can Dream Light-Hold Gel For Curly And Coily Hair.
Mini Rosette Braids
Rosette braids are a popular special occasion hairstyle for long hair, but mini rosettes also look stunning on shorter strands. Begin by creating small three-strand braids at the back of your head. Working with one braid at a time, pancake and twist your braid to form the shape of a rose. Then, use bobby pins to hold the look in place.
Rope Braid Ponytail
First, gather all your hair towards the back of your head and secure it with a hair elastic. Then, create a rope braid with the loose hair from the ponytail and fasten the end with another hair elastic.
Deconstructed Side Braid
Braids are the building block of any formal style, which means they can be styled in many ways. We’re particularly fond of the deconstructed braid, an ethereal take on an updo that can be tailored to all hair lengths.
The juxtaposition of zipper-like texture and shiny, slicked-back hair feels like a work of art. To tame flyaways at the hairline, use Mizani Edge Trimming Hair Gel.
Twisted Into a Bun
Even shorter hair can fake the look of a voluminous braided bun. After crafting multiple braids on the head, twist the ends of the braids together at the nape of the neck to create a swirly chignon.
There are plenty of protective styles for short hair, and stitch braiding has been a top contender for a while. As demonstrated by stylist Nastacia Crooks-Brady, this stunning look should be left to a pro!
You can't go wrong by going back to basics with an ultra-sleek braid. Ensure no frizz or flyaways are in sight by applying Shu Uemura Art of Hair's Umou Styling Cream before slicking back your hair. This strong hold styling pomade will take your short and medium-length hairstyles to the next level without weighing down your strands and offers a smooth and subtle matte finish.
Even shorter lengths can still achieve a chignon with a pretty side braid. A braid is only as good as the texturizer that goes into it, and Pureology Style + Protect Mess It Up Texture Paste creates an effortless lived-in texture.
Braided High Ponytail
These days, ponytails are anything but boring. Add some intrigue to a same-old high ponytail by weaving two braids on either side of your middle part for a luxe look.
Braid within a Braid
This is nothing like that trippy mirror within a mirror effect you’d see in a funhouse! Pancaking your braids and then layering a thin plait down their center creates a 3D effect that elevates an everyday set of braids. You’ll want to add a lot of texture to this hairdo to ensure the double braids stay in place, so we recommend using a dry shampoo like Kérastase Fresh Affair Refreshing Dry Shampoo to add some grit.
One of the many exciting things about experimenting with new hairstyles is that you often don’t need to shell out for new accessories to make your style stand out. Breathe new life into an old silk scarf or handkerchief by incorporating it into a half-up crown braid. The runway-ready look is sure to be a head-turner.
Upturned Accent Braid
Whether hair is straight or curly, short or long, a side accent braid requires minimal skill or effort to pull off. Create a deep side part when opting for this look, then weave your plait from above the cheekbone and bring it up to the part line before pinning it into place. Pulling the braid up away from the face can also help show off your envious bone structure!
Interested in more short hair styling tricks? Hair.com has the products you need to take your braids to the next level.