27 Big Braids Hairstyles to Inspire Your Next ‘Do

From high ponytails to box braids

a collage of big braids hairstyles in a green background
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We love box braids and mini twists, but there’s a growing demand for bigger and bolder looks this year. According to Pinterest, the search for ‘big braids hairstyles’ is up by 30 percent, with many looking to try more statement braids like the design stitch braids. In case you don’t have the time to mindlessly scroll through hundreds of hairdos, we compiled 27 big braids hairstyles we predict are going to be everywhere in 2024. We also tapped hairstylists to share their favorite looks and tips for recreating them right at home. 

Meet the Experts

  • Sarah Potempa is a celebrity stylist and co-founder of The Beachwaver Co. She is known for designing the first-ever rotating curling iron, the Beachwaver, and uses the tool to create waves for her clients. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair, and her celebrity clientele includes Camila Cabello, Jennifer Garner, Ana de Armas and Lea Michele.
  • Ciara Imani May is the founder and CEO of Rebundle, a hair brand that offers synthetic hair catered to sensitive scalps. She has four years of experience in the haircare industry, and an extensive background in business administration, customer service and entrepreneurship. She was also one of Inc.’s Female Founders 100 in 2021.
  • Janelle Sands is a professional hairstylist and brand educator for CURLS with over 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s also the founder of Secret Curl Society, an organization that empowers women through professional consultation, educational workshops and support services.

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big braids hairstyles a photo of zendaya rocking large knotless braids
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1. Large Knotless Braids

Zendaya turned heads with these knotless braids at the CFDA Awards—and we’re still talking about them. According to Sands, your stylist will create this look by parting your hair into large sections before applying a strong hold gel and braiding your natural hair. Next, they’ll begin feeding in hair extensions to make a thicker braid. “[People of all] hair types and densities can wear this hairstyle. However, [you need] at least three inches of hair to properly install this style,” adds Sands.

wedding hairstyles for black women marsai martin in a braided bob
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2. Lob

A lob (aka a long bob) will always be stylish and a braided version is even more stunning. According to our experts, you want to find a length that flatters your face shape and then you can style the lob in a variety of ways. “If you want it to be chin-length, consider leaving the ends unfinished for a gentle flip or extend them to shoulder-length for a chic lob,” says May. Adding a side part or some dazzling accessories on the ends can give the look a nice finishing touch. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of janelle monae rocking a fo'hawk
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3. Fo'Hawk

Janelle Monae proves you can add a bit of edge to your big braids hairstyle. The singer rocks an intricate braid in the center, adorned with rings and her sides are left completely smooth to mimic a mohawk. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of alicia keys rocking a singular braid updo
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4. Singular Braid Updo

Whether you’re attending a wedding or simply looking for a hairstyle that keeps your strands from sticking to your neck, this updo should be saved in your inspo folder. Once you create a high braided pony, drape the tail across your head and pin the ends back for an elegant updo. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of blake lively rocking a rousled ponytail
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5. Tousled Ponytail

If you have straight or looser waves, this tousled look should be on your radar. To emulate Blake Lively’s style, don’t spend too much time making it pristine. The messier, the better. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of tracee ellis ross rocking cornrows
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6. Cornrows

Like box braids, cornrows can be a versatile hairstyle to try out. It’s up to you how many rows of braids and how far apart you want them. To recreate Tracee Ellis Ross’ look, part your hair into five sections and start braiding them down towards the nape of your neck. Then, gather the ends into a low bun for a casual look. 

7. Bohemian Braids

This style continues to be a popular choice regardless of the season. As Sands explains, “This [look] is achieved by parting the hair and braiding using extensions. A thin wavy extension is added throughout the braiding process and remains outside of the braid for a waterfall look. It’s so beautiful!”

big braids hairstyles a photo of tracee ellis ross rocking cornrows
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8. Lengthy Cornrows

As mentioned, cornrows can be customized to your style. Consider playing with length like Ross and showing off cascading braids that fall past your waist. 

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9. Fishtail Braid

Here’s your sign to step your braiding game and try out a fishtail style. Create a low ponytail like Lucy Liu above and refer to this handy tutorial to recreate the look on yourself.

big braids hairstyles a photo of aja naomi king rocking a low ponytail
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10. Low Ponytail

The low pony can be turned into any style (i.e., double twist, French or fishtail) and it can be decorated with snazzy accessories, as Aja Naomi King shows us. If you have shorter locks, add some extensions or reach for a hair piece to get in on the fun. 

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11. Half-up, Half Down

Kelly Rowland proves that box braids can change into any look. Case in point: This half-up, half down style. Section your hair and gather the top half into a high ponytail, while leaving the rest down. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of keke palmer rocking a red high pony
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12. Red High Pony

If you’ve been eyeing a new hair color, let Keke Palmer persuade you to make the change. Her bold red hue elevates her big braids hairstyle and the high pony brings it to the next level. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of keke palmer rocking milkmaid braids
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13. Milkmaid Braids

This elevated version of a crown braid is simple to recreate at home. Once you divide your hair into two pigtails, start braiding each tail before overlapping each section and pinning in place. Finish off the style by leaving two wavy tendrils out for a more casual style. (If you need more guidance, here’s a step-by-step video to get you started.)

big braids hairstyles a photo of keke palmer rocking a tendy look
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14. The Tendy

This latest trend requires just one step: Leave one tendril out. As Potempa told us recently, “A tendy is a tendril of hair used to frame the face on just one side, as opposed to two tendrils framing the face on both sides. It gives your hair a fashionable edge with its asymmetry.” This small detail can make a huge difference to your look. 

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15. Halo Braid

Wrap one big braid around your head and use a few bobby pins to secure the look in place. You might need to brush up on your Dutch braiding skills, but luckily we have you covered.

big braids hairstyles a photo of teyonah parris rocking jumbo updo
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16. Jumbo Updo

Presenting an updo worthy of any formal events you have coming up. The intricately woven jumbo braids follow angled lines that draw the eyes all the way up to the high bun on top.

big braids hairstyles a photo of janelle monae rocking pigtails
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17. Pigtails

Janelle Monae proves that you can rock pigtails as an adult. To recreate the look, simply divide your hair into two low ponytails, then braid them into any style you want. Don’t forget to secure the ends with hair ties and add some jewels so you’ll shine all night long.  

big braids hairstyles a photo of kerry washington rocking a senegalese twists
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18. Senegalese Twists

Show your braider these chic twists seen on Kerry Washington above. Or you can attempt it yourself with a comb, some styling gel and elastic bands. Use the comb to section off your hair, gel for twisting each braid and an elastic band to secure the ends. Have fun dressing it down or whipping it into other hairstyles (like a high pony or a half-up, half-down look). 

big braids hairstyles a photo of rihanna rocking a side braid
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19. Side Braid

A side part and a side braid? Talk about a hairstyle worthy of red carpets and brunch dates with friends. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of lupita nyongo rocking wavy ends
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20. Wavy Ends

Forget the rules. If you have thicker strands like Lupita, this look works by braiding at the roots and stopping mid-length to let the rest of your waves flow down to create a unique finish. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of ashanti rocking design stitch braids
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21. Design Stitch Braids

This early aughts style is making a comeback and getting a major update a la the designed edges as seen on Ashanti above. As Sands explains, “​​These braids are created using the stitch-in braiding technique, which involves sectioning the hair into thin or thick horizontal lines and braiding them into cornrows using hair extensions. The result is a stunning and unique stitched look that sets stitch braids apart from other big braided hairstyles.” 

big braids hairstyles a photo of danai guiria rocking dutch braid
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22. Dutch Braids

We’ve established the Dutch braid is a quick and easy style (see: #14), so recreate this one sported by Danai Guiria. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of susan kelechi watson rocking a high pony
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23. High Pony

There’s your regular high pony and then there’s this braided version that takes things up a notch. Make like Susan Kelechi Watson and secure a ponytail at the highest point of your head before braiding it all the way down to your shoulders. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of yara shahidi rocking a side pony
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24. Short Side Pony

If you have short hair, consider this side pony style. Use a boar bristle brush to smooth your hair over to one side, before tying it into a pony and adding three big braids like Yara Shahidi. 

25. Bubble Braids

This trendy hairstyle continues to be popular year after year. If you want to look as amazing as Gold Rosheuvel, tie your hair up into a high ponytail before breaking the tail up into ‘bubbles’ using elastics. Tip: Use your fingers to tease out the bubbles and give them more volume. 

big braids hairstyles a photo of dania guiria rocking a bob
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26. Bob

Braids and bobs are a match made in hair heaven. Danai Guiria takes the look one step further by rocking combed-out ends with hers on the red carpet. 

wedding hairstyles for black women fishtail high bun aunjanue ellis
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27. Fishtail High Bun

Trust us, this intricate high bun is worth the time and effort. You’ll need multiple layers of fishtail braids to create the look and a nice styling gel to slick back any flyaways. 

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...