8 Best Braids for Short Hair | Hair.com

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The Best Braids for Short Hair

20 March 2018
photo of woman with braid for short hair
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

If there’s one single misconception about short hair, it’s that cutting your mane into a bouncy bob or layered lob limits your styling options. While wrangling short strands can require a bit more strategy than long-haired girls might be used to, it’s by no means impossible.

While we all love a chic blowout, there’s bound to be a day when you oversleep or just can’t be bothered to break out the curling wand. For those times, it’s important to have a few hair styling ideas up your sleeve. Grab a texturizing spray, a handful of elastics, and plenty of pins. We’re showing you how to achieve the best braids for short hair.

photo of waterfall braids for short hair

Waterfall Braid

The waterfall braid is a work-appropriate style that’s particularly beautiful on freshly colored hair. The dimension of the twisted strands helps highlight the bright and dark pieces of your balayage or ombre, creating the illusion that your mane is even thicker than it actually is.

To try this style, create a deep side part and plan to braid away from it. Gather three strands at your hairline as if you’re French braiding. Here’s the twist: Every time you’d normally cross over the strand closest to your forehead, you’ll drop it and pick up a new piece. By continually adding new hair, you’ll craft the woven illusion that makes waterfall braids so unique.

photo of chignon twist braid for short hair

Chignon Twist

The most difficult part of braiding short hair is dealing with all the tendrils that inevitably try to sneak free. Instead of trying to hide every single one, embrace a messy-chic vibe by pinning them back in plain sight.

Pull as much of your hair as you can back into a tiny chignon at the nape of your neck, then begin twisting and pinning any pieces that might be falling. Finish the whole style with a light coat of hairspray to ensure nothing budges throughout the day.

photo of milkmaid braids for short hair

Milkmaid Braid

If your hair is long enough to pull into a short ponytail, there’s enough of it to create a milkmaid braid. You’ll want to start with a crisp part from the center of your forehead to the nape of your neck. Working with one section of hair at a time, create a standard braid and pull it up to the center of your head. Pin the braid in place, then repeat the process on the other side.

Don’t be afraid to add extra pins until your ‘do feels secure—nobody wants one single pigtail slapping them in the face during happy hour. Tuck the ends of your braids away, then pancake the style for extra volume. Adding a few loose pieces around the face will add youthful flair to the look.

photo of double dutch pigtails braids for short hair

Double Dutch Pigtails

Pigtails were a stable of our youth, but we’re also convinced they look just as feminine and sweet on adults. To try this look for yourself, part your hair down the middle from forehead to nape. Work with one section at a time, creating a Dutch braid and transitioning to a standard braid when you run out of hair.

Cross each strand under the center rather than over to achieve that trademark inside-out look. Once your braids are in place, gently pancake them to achieve a more dramatic effect. Be sure you’re using clear elastics, as bulky hair bands can distract from the style.

photo of side braids for short hair

Side Braid Duo

Professional stylists are so important because they take our understanding of hair and elevate it. Case in point: this double braid that’s so simple but truly elegant. We can see this look paired with a breezy sundress or jumpsuit during the summer months.

Start with a side part, crafting a traditional braid right at the hairline and pinning it at the back of the head. Pancake the plait gently, working to create maximum volume. Once your first braid is in place, start on a second one just below the first. If you’re feeling crafty, twist your remaining hair into a chic updo and arrange it to mask your bobby pins.

photo of half up braids for short hair

Half Up Braids

We’re guilty of leaning on the half ponytail as a cure-all for messy hair days, but the unfortunate truth is that it can fall flat. Instead of the same old style, try this voluminous, textural version instead. Start with two sections on either side of you part, working with one at a time to craft a standard braid on each side. Adding more hair as needed, combine the ends of both braids and begin fishtailing.

We’re the first to admit that this half ponytail isn’t quite as simple as the one you’ve been used to, but feel free to customize this style with your favorite types of braids. When you’re all done, secure the braid with an elastic and pancake all over to give your look visual heft. Don’t forget to add a finishing spritz of hairspray to ensure all that work can stand up to the wind and humidity.

photo of woven half updo braids for short hair

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.

Taking sections from above either ear, create two fishtail braids that meet at the back of your head. Crisscross them over each other, pinning each in place. Make sure the style is totally secure before you let go. If you’re a lady who likes to air dry, this is an excellent way to show off that soft texture without battling any stray pieces that might have dried strangely.

photo of headband braids for short hair

Headband Braid

Way back in middle school, we relied on headbands because they enabled us to look put together without doing any of the work. The grown up version of the headband is this braid, which sits back from the hairline and puts your cheekbones on full display.

To mimic this style, start a French braid just above one ear and carry it along 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. Simply pin the extra hair in place and get going.

With these braided styles for short hair under your belt, you’re guaranteed to avoid a bad hair day—that is, until your hair starts growing out.

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