Long hair is so versatile. Well, perhaps that depends on who you ask. When you're regularly working with your long locks, it's easy to get bored with the length and fall into set style. Maybe you're constantly popping your hair into a high bun, using hot tools to create lived-in waves, or embracing your natural curls and letting your hair do its thing. But what if you want to try something new? Does that mean a haircut or new hair color?
All of those are options, but braids can offer a way to embrace something new without changing anything permanently. For Black women, styles like box braids, cornrows, and Fulani braids offer protective styling and a way to switch things up. Then there are Dutch braids, cascading braided ponytails, and slicked-backed buns with braided lengths that give anyone with lots of length an opportunity to try something new.
Keep scrolling for 25 of our favorite braided styles that are perfect for long hair.
Box braids are a staple that never goes out of style. If you have long locks like Zendaya, you can skip the addition of kanekalon hair or use the knotless braiding technique to add a little hair and keep the braids in place longer.
We love the way this middle part frames the face. To keep flyaways and new growth frizz to a minimum when rocking a visible part, keep a mousse—we love The Doux's Mousse Def Texture Foam ($15) and Design Essentials' Foaming Wrap Lotion ($28)—and a silk scarf handy.
Fulani braids are perfect for protecting long coils. Add beads or gold accessories for some extra oomph.
We promise you can rock these Dutch braids without looking like a kid. Take a note out of Bella Hadid's book and accessorize with a pair of gold hoops.
A slicked-back high pony, braided to the end, is a simple way to show off your unique features and pull a look together in a snap.
We're getting rockstar chic with the barely-there pompadour, sleek sides, and twisted length of this braid-twist combo look.
A braided bun gives the hair texture and height. To secure your length without feeling the pain of bobby pins on the scalp, try Scunci's Curved Bobby Pins ($3).
Pulling box braids up takes less than sixty seconds and gives you a completely different look. Don't forget to wrap a couple of braids around the base of your ponytail for some depth.
When slicking back or braiding long hair, let those flyaways do their thing: They show off your hair texture and allow the look to feel more lived in.
This simple look takes us back to the '90s' and can be easily recreated at home.
Haven't had the time to give your hair a good wash? We get it. So why not try a look that makes use of your less-than-clean strands? Your natural oils will make stylishly tucking your hair away a breeze.
A loose braid with a wispy, face-framing tendril is the perfect combination of elegant and effortless. Let Oribe's Superfine Hairspray ($42) be your assistant to lock in this look, but keep the messy texture.
High ponytails don't always have to be snatched, and this look proves just that.
This side-parted low ponytail would have been a winner solo, but the accessories really make it pop.
If your hair is straight, light bumping of your ends with a curling wand will help create the same loose texture we see paired here with a structured fishtail braid.
For a more classic look, take a few notes from this gorgeous look and braid the base of your head and the length.
Both protective and beautiful, this cornrowed look is the best of both worlds.
Small box braids can last a while, but you may get tired of the length every now and then. Luckily, claw hair clips are back. Grab one and you can recreate this look in no time.
Adding a scarf to braids can instantly add a fresh dose of individuality.
We still think about this look often. With the right stylist, these finger-waved cornrows are attainable.
Latto has long, gorgeous curls, but she isn't afraid to play with length. With hair extensions, your ponytails know no bounds.
Braids and straight, sleek hair, work so well together. To minimize flyaways, use a touch of pomade or hairspray to keep things in place without leaving the hair crunchy.
Yara Shahidi has so much fun with her hair, and it shows.
Chloe continuously reminds us that locs are both beautiful and versatile. If you have locs, try adding some extensions to create braided hairstyles.
These loc'd ponytails are a reminder that our favorite grade school hairstyle isn't off-limits in adulthood.