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35 Of The Best Braids For Short Hair To Try In 2021

photo of woman with cornrows and a woman with crown braid hairstyle braids for short hair

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 35 of our favorites for you 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?

Hair grows about half an inch per month, on average, so growing your hair long enough for braids will depend on how long your hair is at the start of your grow-out process. 

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 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 35 of our favorites that you can recreate now. 

The Best Braids For Short Hair To Try Now

Good hair day by @delphinecourteille_paris.


It’s no shocker that cornrows have remained popular for a very long time. The long-lasting and versatile braid is perfect for women of all 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. 

Good hair day by @palmerfisherlondon.

Braided Pigtails

If you’re someone who likes to keep your hair out of your face, this look is perfect for you. To begin, part your hair down the middle and craft two Dutch braids. Instead of braiding to the ends of your hair, however, secure each braid with a hair elastic at the nape of your neck to create cute little pigtails.

Good hair day by @dayvidwilson.

Side Braids

There are very few styles that 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. If you’re looking to add extra flair, try accessorizing your look with metallic bobby pins.

Good hair day by @annette_updo_artist.

Faux-Hawk Bun Braid

If you’re going to an interview or work event, this look is the perfect combination of style and sophistication. To put it simply, 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.

Good hair day by @fantasiaparrucchieri.

Half-Braided Space Buns

This embellished rendition of traditional space buns is super easy to create on short hair.

Good hair day by @thekirbstomp.

Messy Braided Buns

This braided bun is the epitome of bohemian style. It’s an effortless look that doesn’t take much time to recreate. Don’t worry if a few strands fall out, making your bun appear messy! It’s part of the aesthetic. You can even apply a few spritzes of texturizing spray like Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texture Finishing Spray to give your look an even more effortless texture. 

Good hair day by @nicolamurrayhair.

Mini Faux-Hawk

If you want to get in touch with your inner rock star but are fearful of committing to a full-on mohawk, try a mini faux-hawk instead. It has all the edge of a traditional mohawk, but it allows you to keep all of your shoulder-length locks.

Good hair day by @guliafabbricabellezza.

Wrap Around Braid

When in doubt, braid it out. This wrap-around braid is a quick style for anyone who pressed the snooze button one too many times. Your bedhead waves are the perfect texture to complement this easy braid.

Peekaboo Braids

Peekaboo braids are the flirtatious sister of side braids. The two side Dutch braids give a similar effect of tucking your hair behind your ear—except you don’t have to worry about it continuously falling in your face.

Good hair day by @al_alexander.

Zig-Zag Braids

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.

Dutch Bun

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.

Half-Up Braid

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.

Good hair day by @anthonyturnerhair.

Victorian Braids

If you’re a braid enthusiast, you won’t mind taking the time to create this Victorian-inspired braided ponytail. If you really want to amp up the regal vibes, make sure to pair your style with statement earrings to pull the look together.

Good hair day by @chrisweberhair.

Voluminous Side Braid Ponytail

If you want to make your short hair appear more voluminous, start by adding a spritz of Biolage 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.

Good hair day by @salongtrend.

Waterfall Braid

This braid looks like a gorgeous waterfall cascading into a blanket of lush hair. The best part about it is you don’t need long locks to show off this stunning technique.

Good hair day by @TheScottyCunha.

Undone Crown Braid

We promise this style isn’t as intimidating as it looks. Start by parting your hair down the middle, creating two equal sections. One at a time, take a section of hair and create a standard French braid. Take one of the braids and wrap it around your head until the tail is lying on the crown of your head. Secure the braid with a bobby pin and repeat the same process on the other side. Leave the strands around your face frame loose to give your look an undone, messy vibe. 

Good hair day by @stevieenglishhair.

Half Fishtail

If you’re having trouble mastering the art of braiding, don’t worry. Even those with the most clumsy fingers can recreate this look. Check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to style a half-up fishtail braid!

Good hair day by @iambeauticurve.

Headband Braid

If you like using hair accessories to amp up your look, try something new and make your braid your new accessory. A braided headband gives a gorgeous halo effect that will have everyone asking you for styling tips.

Good hair day by @jamiewileyhair.

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.

Good hair day by @cryistalchaos.

Woven Half Updo

Once you’ve started spicing up your half ponytails, you’ll fall down a rabbit hole of braids, twists, and accessories that work for even the choppiest short hair. For a subdued take on the style that’s suitable for casual weddings or parties, try this woven look.

Good hair day by @stylelushsalon.

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

Good hair day by @niclynnhair.

Mini 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. 

Good hair day by @alstyling.

Embellished Cornrows

Complete your cornrow hairstyle with gold hair clips to add a simple and sophisticated touch to your look. 

Good hair day by @pekelariley.

Braided Pineapple Updo

You don’t need a lot of hair to make a pineapple updo work for you. This braided pineapple updo will look stunning if you’re working with shorter curls. Use a curl-defining lotion like Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion to add definition and enhance the shape of your natural ringlets. 

Good hair day by @hairbymarcandre.

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. 

Good hair day by @pedro_plastic.

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. 

Good hair day by @hairby_candace.

Bejeweled Braids

If you’re looking to add an element of glam to your ‘do, intertwine hair rings into any braided hairstyle. 

Good hair day by @ashleylantzhair.

Middle Part Braid

Position your braid along your middle part for a simple yet edgy style. Keep your style frizz-free with a hair oil like Redken Frizz Dismiss Instant Deflate Hair Oil

Good hair day by @hairbyskylarbunch.

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 three small three-strands 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. 

Good hair day by @maxineeglynn.

Heart-Shaped Three-Strand Braids

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or simply love to get creative with your plaits, these heart-shaped three-strand braids are one of the easiest braided hairstyles for short hair to achieve. 

Good hair day by @regitzeornfeld.

Rope Braid Ponytail

To create this look, gather all of 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 secure the end with another hair elastic. 

festival hairstyles poofy ponytail

Mini Faux-Hawk Ponytail

If you want to get in touch with your inner rock star but are fearful of 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 keep all of your shoulder-length locks. Keep your ponytail sleek and frizz-free with a hair gel like Mizani Edge Taming Gel

upclose photo of a dna braid

DNA Braid

The DNA braid is not for the inexperienced, but we’re pleased to say you can mimic this hairstyle with a standard braid if you’re not up for the challenge.

Twisty Fishtail hairstyle

Twisty Fishtail

Professional stylists are so influential because they take our understanding of hair and elevate it. Case in point: this twisty braid that’s so simple but truly elegant.

blonde woman with a crown braid and flowers

Floral Crown

Start by parting your hair down the middle, creating two equal sections. One at a time, take a section of hair and create a standard French braid. Take one of the braids and wrap it around your head until the tail is lying on the crown of your head. Secure the braid with a bobby pin and repeat the same process on the other side. Be sure to add some floral embellishments for a look that's eye-catching. 

Interested in more expert styling tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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