Coachella is the one time of year where we set aside our usual style lineup for something edgier and fresher. Out with the old, and in with the new—T-shirts, bright and funky makeup, and fun hairstyles. We're talking hair chalk, bold accessories, and most importantly, braided styles of all shapes and sizes.
At this point, Coachella is basically synonymous with braids (as is just about every other music festival out there), and we're not mad about it. It's no wonder why—braids aren't fussy; they're functional and effortlessly cool. They keep your hair off your face and neck while you're dancing and align perfectly with Coachella's boho-chic aesthetic. That's why we're putting a special emphasis on braided hairstyles this year. Instead of defaulting to traditional braids, we want to try out eclectic festival-friendly styles. Want in on the action? Here are 15 different braid styles—sourced from far and wide—to provide the ultimate music festival hair inspiration.
Instead of traditional French braids or boxer braids, try parting your hair into quarters for four-piece braids. Simply put two braids in the back and two in the front, and you're ready to hit the festival grounds. To finish, run a little shine serum through the lengths and ends for an otherworldly gleam. We like Sachajuan Shine Serum ($33) since it's super lightweight and smoothes any frayed ends.
If you prefer to keep your hair down but still crave a braid detail, then disperse small braids throughout the bottom lengths of your hair. Even though they're tiny, they make a big impact by adding texture and body. Bonus points if you add in lime-green eye shadow and a multicolored mani.
For a corset braid, separate your hair into three sections: two small sections on either side of your head and one main section down the middle. Clip off the main section, and then pick up both side sections and braid them together, starting just above the nape of your neck. After that, gather the main section of your hair and braid it. The result will be this deceptively complex style.
Hair spray and a strong-hold styling gel will work wonders for this one. If you want a wet look, then sub the gel for a mousse.
Edgy One-Sided French Braid
Priyanka Chopra's textured waves are only rivaled by her sleek French side braid. It's just as edgy as shaving one side of your head, but it comes without the commitment. Add a cool ear cuff, and you'll be music festival–ready.
This ridged braid is the stuff of Coachella dreams. Use a parting comb to French braid a small section of hair down the middle of your head, and then tie it all together at the base of your neck. (No, really, that's all it takes.) We love how it's paired with futuristic silver eye shadow. For this look, use Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eye Shadow in Too Cool ($6).
Sometimes all it takes to spice up a traditional hairstyle is a simple hair accessory. (Take this $10 breezy linen scarf from Amazon for example.) Adding a simple scarf requires little time or effort and it keeps hair away from your face and neck.
This is another no-fuss approach to music festival hair. Once these alternating braids are complete, you can leave your hair as is—in a high bun to keep your face and neck cool. Although it's a little more complex than other styles on this list, we think the result is well worth it.
Would a compilation of the best music-festival braids be complete without a milkmaid braid? We don't think so. Thankfully, achieving this style is much easier than it looks. Just braid your hair into pigtails, and then wrap them around the top of your head, securing them with bobby pins. To keep the braids in place, spritz IGK Beach Club Texture Spray ($14) throughout.
Ribbon Fishtail Braids
Here's another music festival–appropriate twist on a traditional hairstyle. While braiding your fishtail pigtails, add neon ribbons for a pop of color. Trust us—no one else will have this hairstyle at the festival.
High-Top Braided Ponytail
We had to highlight the waist-length braid Yara Shahidi wore to the 49th NAACP Image Awards. As soon as we saw it, we thought it was the ultimate music-festival hair inspo. Her slicked-back style, cool hair accessory, and three-piece braid are stunning.
Disheveled Combination Braid
Have you noticed that we have a special place in our hearts for slightly messy braids? We think this one's easy enough to replicate. Just start with a French braid on top, and then create a normal braid toward the ends of the lengths. Then pull out a few pieces for that intentionally messy look.
Replicating this look requires a long braid that wraps around the circumference of the head. Start braiding as you would with a French braid, but instead of adding pieces on either side of the braid, only add pieces on one side. This gives it that chic waterfall look.
Just like a messy bun will never go out of style, a messy French braid won't either. We love how it ends in a small, disheveled bun for a perfect messy vibe. This style is meant to be a little loose, so make sure to spritz through with a fine-mist hair spray, like Verb Ghost Hairspray ($16), to keep it intact without adding stiffness.
Braided Low Bun With Ribbon
Hair accessories are key to amping up a traditional look. Braid your hair, pin it into a low bun, and finish it off with a ribbon headband. We love classic black, but we're thinking something more colorful would be best for a music festival. (An ultraviolet ribbon in honor of Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year will do.)
Here's another stunning celeb-inspired braid idea. Issa Rae's halo-twist braid is unlike any other red carpet look we've seen. It's edgy and eclectic. Props to her hairstylist for the fine gold detail that's threaded throughout.