While you may not see sock buns regaining popularity anytime soon, some looks like plaited hair never goes out of style. From everyday women to lavish A-listers, plaited hair is a mainstay for almost everyone.
Since plaited styles range from simple to intricate, it can be hard to know which kind fits within the range of your braiding expertise. We've got you covered if your imagination only takes you as far as a single French braid. Whether your strands are short and sassy or long and wild, here are some of the best plaited hairstyle trends to try this year.
What is the difference between plaited and braided?
It’s understandable to get confused between the plaits and braids, but rest assured, they mean the same thing! Braids are the go-to word for those who speak American English, while plaits are the preferred term by anyone speaking British English.
40 Plaited Hairstyles to Try Now
Double-Plaited Space Buns
We adore all double bun hairstyles, but plaited space buns are definitely our favorite. Begin by flipping your hair over and splitting it evenly down the middle of your part. Working with one section at a time, begin crafting a French braid starting at the nape of your neck. Continue braiding until you reach the crown of your head. Secure the braid with a hair elastic and repeat the same steps on the opposite side.
Once your braids are complete, flip your hair back upright and backcomb the remaining hair in each section to create volume. Wrap the hair in each section around the base of the elastic to form buns. Use bobby pins to hold the buns in place and lock everything in with a few spritzes of hairspray.
For a more oversized look, create three separate braids within your ponytail and braid all three together. You’ll get lots of volume now and tons of texture later on when the braids are removed.
These are like your favorite middle school hairstyle but simpler and sleeker. Divide your pigtails in half and create a plait by weaving the two thick sections of hair together. Use Matrix Controller Gel to slick down the sides of your hair and add some shine.
Boho Braided Pigtails
This laidback version of pigtails is perfect for a breezy day at the beach. Simply part your hair down the middle and very loosely craft two identical three-strand plaits on each side of your head. Secure each braid with a hair elastic, and then pancake your plaits so they appear more undone. Finish with a few spritzes of texturizing hairspray like Redken Beach Spray.
Plaited Pigtail Loops
Pin the end of your pigtail through its base to create an adorable loop that’s a fresh twist on the same-old pigtails.
French Braided Pigtails
Rounding out our favorite pigtail looks are the classic French pigtails—after all, we never said you had to reinvent the wheel completely!
Standard French Braid
You didn’t think we’d overlook a straightforward French braid, did you? This timeless style can be yours in minutes! Begin by detangling your hair with a boar bristle brush. Divide the hair at your hairline into three even sections—left, middle, and right.
Cross the right section under the middle section, then pull the left section under the right. Repeat these same steps as you continue braiding, adding more hair to the braid as you go. When you finally reach your ends, secure the braid with a hair elastic and a few spritzes of hairspray.
Need more information or visuals? Peep the tutorial above.
Tiny braided highlights are the perfect way to add dimension to your hair without actually coloring it. Bonus points if you pair them with a zig-zag part, Y2K style.
Speaking of zig-zags, if you have some time to spare before a special occasion, have your stylist recreate these zig-zag braids at the crown of your head. We promise that a little bit of patience will be worth the payoff!
Snakes aren’t our first contenders as far as hairstyling icons go, but this quick tutorial from Audrey Trullinger will have you rethinking where you pull your inspiration from. A high-hold hairspray such as Matrix’s Vavoom Freezing Spray Extra Hold will prevent your serpentine plaits from slithering out of place.
When it comes to plaited hair, it’s always fun to think outside the box. This peek-a-boo braid is placed above one side of your ponytail, serving as a sweet surprise for anyone getting a glimpse of your mane from behind.
Consider these face-framing braided tendrils if you love wearing your locks all down. Prep and style your hair into loose waves using Redken’s Spray Smooth Anti-Frizz Hairspray, then make two thin plaits on either side of your face and top them off with a few flower barrettes to kick things up a notch.
Why shell out for a new headband when you can make one from your plaited hair? Here, Hair.com ambassador Bradley Leake shows us how it’s done using Biolage Professional’s All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Spray, Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil, and Matrix’s Vavoom Freezing Spray Extra Hold.
Half-Up Dutch Plaited Ponytail
In the past few years, half-up hairstyles have returned in a major way. Half-up top knots and ponytails have not only taken over social media but also set the bar even higher by putting a new spin on classic styles. If you want to try a quick and easy Dutch braid, combine it with your half ponytail for a simple, everyday look.
To begin, part your hair into two equal sections on the top and bottom. Using a hair tie, fasten the top half into a ponytail. Separate the loose hair from the ponytail into three even sections. Begin your Dutch braid by pulling the left section over the middle one, followed by the same steps with the right section. Continue the process until you’ve reached the ends of your hair. When you’ve finished, secure the braid with a clear hair elastic.
Edgy Side Plait
A lot of plaited styles are designed to flatten out your mane, but this edgy side braid will let your natural volume shine. Leave the hair at the top of your head free and take a small section of hair from one side, fastening a thin braid close to the scalp. Secure the style with a bobby pin and finish it off with strong-hold hairspray. Pair this style with statement jewelry and a dramatic eye look for maximum style impact.
If you’re all about side-parted details, here’s another way to sport a side plait featuring a half-tucked fishtail.
There are a few styles that can be worn to just about any occasion in your life. Luckily, the faux-hawk braid is equally as chic and elegant as it is edgy and fun. Whether you’re walking down the aisle or going to a rock concert, a faux-hawk braid represents the best of both worlds.
Half Faux-Hawk Updo
Featuring a mohawk from the front and loose waves from the back, this plaited hair idea will keep everyone guessing. Look to Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil to give your strands a covetable shine.
Festival season is upon us, so there’s no better time to start planning your look. If you have festival season on the brain, you’re probably dreaming of all things desert and boho. A tousled, braided top knot is the perfect Instagram-worthy look for any festival-goer.
To achieve this look, section off the top of your head and separate it evenly as if you were creating four different plaits. Make sure the braids are as tight to your scalp as possible, braiding them into a top knot. Pull several thin strands from the top knot for a perfectly undone look. Since no festival-worthy style is complete without an accessory, embellish the look with some loose glitter at the top of your mane.
The half-plaited rosette may look intricate, but achieving this beautiful faux flower can be done in a few simple steps.
To begin, loosely braid small sections at the side of your head starting at your ear, stopping at the middle. Take the loose hair and both braids to the center, bringing them together with a hair tie. To create the rosette shape, create a three-strand braid with the remaining hair from the half ponytail and secure it. Roll the braid towards the top elastic to shape the rosette. Pin down the edges with bobby pins and complete the look with a medium-hold hairspray.
Boho Accent Plait
Accent braids are a super easy and casual way to emphasize almost any hairstyle. Since boho chic is in right now, there is no better way to finish off your look than with small, messy braids throughout your locks. We especially love the look of accent braids on wavy, textured strands.
Allow your hair to air dry, then simply add a small rope braid to the side of your head and secure it with a hair tie. Your bohemian look is complete with a few spritzes of texturizing spray and the perfect accessories.
Rope Braid Half-Updo
Begin with a middle part and pick up a 2-inch segment of hair from the center of your hairline on each side of your head. Craft a rope braid with each section. Pull the braids to the back of your head and secure them with bobby pins to create a half updo.
This one is for the minimalists! The unique shape of this plait may be tricky to achieve on your own, especially on the back of your head, so we recommend showing this to your stylist as inspiration.
Double Dutch Plaits
Start with a center part and form two even sections of hair on each side of your head. Clip the section you aren’t braiding first to keep it out of the way. Split the hair into three even sections beginning at your hairline. Craft a three-strand Dutch braid from the start of your hairline all the way to your ends. Use a hair elastic to hold the braid in place and repeat the same steps on the opposite side. Complete the look with a few spritzes of hairspray.
Double Dutch Ponytail
Pulling your Dutch pigtails together at the nape of your neck and then twisting them together instantly switches up your style and takes less than one minute to do.
This plaited hair look has it all: texture, shine, and smoothness without a single strand out of place.
Side Swept Fishtail Ponytail
Create a deep side part and sweep your hair over your shoulder. Take a 2-inch strand of hair from the front of your hairline and split it into two even sections. Wrap the two pieces around each other to create a rope braid until you reach the nape of your neck.
Use the remaining hair to create a traditional fishtail braid and use a hair elastic to hold it in place.
Embellished Side Braid
If you’re a sucker for diamonds and pearls, why not give braid jewelry, like rings, a try? Simply intertwine them throughout any braided look for an instant hint of glam.
Boho Waterfall Braid
Waterfall braids are loved for their elegance, but your strands don’t have to be super sleek to wear the look properly. Try a waterfall braid with loose, textured waves. We love Pureology
Style + Protect Beach Waves Sugar Spray, a non-drying, texturizing spray that creates soft, tousled waves on color-treated hair.
Rosette Crown Braid
Interested in swapping your traditional crown braid for something new? This flower power crown is sure to inspire you!
Half-Crown Scarf Braid
Opt for a half-crown braid embellished with a scarf if you want the gorgeous effect of a traditional crown that also lets you show off your length.
Inverted Fishtail Braid
Gather a section of hair from the front of your hairline and divide it into two even segments. Grab a small piece of hair from the outside of the left section and cross it under the right section. Then, take an identical piece from the right section and cross it under the left. Repeat these steps, adding more hair each time you cross over until you’ve braided all of your hair. Gently pancake the braid and tie it off with a hair elastic.
Accent Side Braid
Looking for no-fuss hairstyle inspiration? This accent braid is the perfect mix of sassy and chic and serves as a functional style if you’re looking to grow out your bangs.
Dutch Plaited Bun
Instead of individually tieing off each plait, gather any remaining hair into a low bun and secure it with a hair elastic.
Center Part Plaited Bun
Begin by creating a center part. Use a rattail comb to create a section that is about 1-inch wide at the center of your head. Working with the 1-inch section, craft a traditional three-strand braid beginning at the front of your hairline. Braid until you reach the nape of your neck. Pull the remaining hair to the back of your head and gather it at the nape of your neck. Wrap your strands into a low bun and secure it with a hair elastic.
Cornrows have been around for ages, and the protective braiding style doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. We recommend applying the Mizani 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil to your hair before you begin cornrowing. The product leaves hair manageable, shiny, and beautifully moisturized.
Tied With A Bow
The best plaited looks are all about the small details. Incorporate a hair bow into any braided look for a special touch.
Diagonally Plaited Messy Bun
Messy buns don’t have to be basic. If you’re looking to upgrade your messy low bun
(h3Five Strand Braid
Five-strand braids appear to be super complicated, but the technique is similar to some of the most popular plaits out there—with just a few extra strands to work with. With a little practice and patience, you can master the five-strand braid in no time!
Discover more favorite professional hair care products to make sure your plaits stay styled to perfection on Hair.com.