If there’s one hairstyle that will forever remain a staple, it’s braids. After all, they’ve adorned the hair of women and men since 3500 B.C. in Africa. And at Byrdie HQ, we're huge proponents of crazy-good epic plaits, even if they're far beyond our skill set (they're still fun to look at). In search of the most covetable styles, we’ve combed through the internet to find the coolest, most badass braided hairstyles of all time—30 of them to be exact. Ahead, you’ll find our favorite, long-hair friendly braids of the season—including messy, disheveled fishtails and clean, polished crowns—all ready to be re-created and admired. Warning: You won’t be able to settle on your favorite (we know we couldn’t).
Create tiny square-shaped parts in your head and three-strand braid cornrows from the root to the ends to create box braids.
Experiment with the color and shape of your braids to add dimension and flare.
Everything’s better with a twist.
A messy braid can look so effortlessly chic.
Braid a sleek center part into an incredibly cool bun.
Braid. Braid. Tousle. Go.
Who says you can’t have an updo and a fishtail braid at the same time? Janelle Monáe’s game-changing style proves just that.
Twist pigtails at the nape of your neck for this relaxed, modern ensemble.
We love a sleek braid paired with big, bouncy curls.
Secure long pieces under the crown for ultimate face-framing.
What’s that behind your ear? Oh, just coolest little braid ever. Surprise!
Singer Lion Babe looks absolutely stunning in her two-toned box braids. The way the red and blonde complement her skin tone is stunning.
So sleek that it almost goes unnoticed.
Embrace flyaways with this relaxed look.
Keke Palmer rocked this next-level braided ponytail with cornrows in the front paired with a ponytail of medium-size box braids. Her burgundy braids set this look off.
Why not add a little neon to your look? All you have to do is weave a ribbon through.
Just try to be in a bad mood while wearing fishtail pigtails. We dare you.
The bigger, the better.
Before braiding, comb hair into the sleekest, tightest ponytail possible.
Kelly Rowland showcases how box braids look just as good swept into a tight topknot.
Add dimension to a side-parted bun by loosely braiding the front section.
Rita Ora has never played it safe in the hair category. She edged up a typical high ponytail with sleek cornrows in the front.
Add some character to your favorite lazy-girl hairstyle.
Jourdan Dunn looks like a dream in this carefree, “big hair, don’t care” look. Play up textured curls by adding cornrows for a fun half-braided style.
Three tightly wound braids form this incredibly cool wraparound ponytail.
How regal does Kelly Rowland look in this imperfect (yet perfect) crown braid? Your crown braid doesn’t need to be tight to your head—a few highlights and wispy flyaways look just as good.
This look begins with a loose fishtail but morphs into a classic braid at the nape of the neck.
The braided version of fashion week’s favorite trend.
Taraji P. Henson did this half-up, half-down style right with the sides of her hair in cornrows.
For thicker hair types, finish off a half-up, half-down look with a mini fishtail braid.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Up next, more fun ways to style long hair.