Best Braid Hairstyles for Grown-Up Girls (How-To Video Instructions Galore!)


For the woman who covets the fun and funky braid hairstyles of her youth and has no idea how to pull it off, here are some great braid styles.

Short braids, long braids, loose braids, tight braids. The procession of best braids in my mind reads like a Dr. Seuss picture book, with an assortment of lovely styles on parade. Tragically, my braiding skills are about as adept as a cat diving into a pile of yarn—something happens, and it usually involves a lot of tangles. Maybe because this skill has always been completely beyond me, I’ve always loved elaborate braid hairstyles.

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Or maybe my early obsession with braids is 1000% because of this.

Throughout my life, the second I had longer locks, I was asking someone to braid my hair. But as I got older, I started dialing back on the Heidi-inspired braid hairstyles. Yes, this was partially due to my own braiding skill level (see: cat/tangled/yarn), but it was also because I was working. As a woman in a TV writer’s room, you already walk in with a giant “Judge Everything about My Appearance” sign over your head. Fun and quirky hairstyle went the way of my soul, crushed under the heel of Hollywood.

And for the record, if you’re proudly sporting elaborate braids in the courtroom or under your surgeon’s cap, rock on. But for the woman who covets the fun and funky braids of her youth and has no idea how to pull it off, I am you and you are me. Because as I got older, my braids became smaller. Subtle. A wisp here, a strand there. They practically disappeared.

And then my niece Katherine was born.

Katherine, you see, is a braiding savant. If she were a chess player, she’d be Bobby Fischer. If tennis were her game, she’d be Serena Williams. Now that she’s a teenager, she can spend a few minutes in front of the mirror and emerge looking like she wandered off the set of Lord of the Rings.

In case you doubt me, I recently showed her a picture of the Khaleesi braids from Game of Thrones. She appeared a half hour later, sporting this braid hairstyle.

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It is possible that she has dragon eggs hidden somewhere in her closet.

Katherine and her nimble teen fingers have become my ambassador back into Braid Land. So I recently asked her to share her thoughts on braids, her favorite styles, and to remind us why braids are completely awesome.

ES: Katherine, tell us why you think braids work so well as a hair style.

Katherine: Well, I like braids because if I’m not wearing a fun outfit, I can wear fun hair. French braids are the best because you can tweak them, making them messier, tighter, or whatever you want. You can really make them your own.

ES: Good point. How do feel when you’re doing braid hairstyles?

Katherine:  When I do them myself, I feel proud. And it’s fun when my friends like them too, because it makes me want to share them. So I really like to do my friends’ hair too. It’s something I can do to help them to feel good about themselves.

ES: That’s such a good reminder for us Olds—fun hair makes you feel good. So let’s talk style. What’s your favorite braid for long hair?

Katherine: I have pretty long hair right now, so I like to wear it up out of my face. French braids always work well, because I can wear them with a bun or a pony tail. It’s great for summer. Lately, I’ve really been into the Fishtail braid. Here’s a great video showing you how to do one.

Also, I think a really great style for longer hair is the corset braid. It’s a big more formal and subtle, and I think can work well on grown-ups. Here’s my favorite video showing how to do it.

ES: Love it! So what is your favorite braid style for short hair?

Katherine: I really like the headband braid for short hair. And you don’t even need a lot of hair to do it. Here’s a video that shows you how to do a really cool one.

ES: What about a braiding style like cornrows? Can you do that on long or short hair?

Katherine: You can do cornrows on both! Here’s a good video on how to.

ES: Say you were going to wake up 35-years-old tomorrow. What style would you choose?

Katherine: I really like the nested side braid. It’s very simple and you can wear it for any occasion.

ES: Even at the office?

Katherine: Why wouldn’t you want to feel good about yourself at work?

ES: Excellent point, Katherine. Excellent point.

photo credit: chantel beam photography via photopin cc

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Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.