Pics of feed-in braids have been burning up our IG timelines lately—and we're loving it. Black girls everywhere are trading in afros and silk presses for this easygoing, chic, protective style.
To create feed-in braids, aka knotless braids, a stylist feeds synthetic hair into your natural hair beyond the start of your hairline, creating an illusion of naturally thick braids. With regular cornrows, your stylist starts each braid with a knot to mix your hair with the synthetic hair; with the feed-in method, synthetic hair is slowly added after your stylist starts braiding.
The result? Braids look seamless and lush, whether you blend in synthetics that match your hair or get playful with extensions in rainbow colors.
Scroll for 30 gorgeous ways to wear feed-in braids, plus stylist-recommended tips for switching up the looks.
Meet the Expert
- Danita Hampton is a hairstylist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a lead educator for Covet & Mane.
- Malcolm Cuthbert is a colorist and natural-hair specialist at Baja Studio in New York City.
- Kim Kimble is a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles and creator of the Kim Kimble Signature Collection line of haircare products.
Ombré Blonde Braided Bun
From the intricate partings to the golden-hued bun, Lexi's feed-in style is a showstopper.
"A nice alternative to this style would be regathering the braids into an effortless high pony," Hampton says. "Elevate this style by then wrapping the base of the pony with three of the braids to cover the hair tie. "
Cornrows With Crystals
Steal actress Quinta Brunson's cornrows and crystal-embellished edges for your next special occasion.
"This look is so stunning already," Hampton says. To add variety to this style, "use a triple-barrel wave iron to add a little more texture to the unbraided ends of the hair," she suggests.
Side-Swept Braids With Curly Baby Hairs
Here, Khat Brim's side-swept braids look natural and seamless, thanks to the feed-in technique.
These braids would look equally chic woven into a crown braid, Hampton says. "Run cornrow braids along the side of the head [and] continue to loosely wrap braids around the head, using hairpins to hide the ends of the braid," she explains.
This fishtail-braid pony look has creativity and style to spare.
"For a more relaxed look, loosen the strands of the fishtail braid sections with the end of a rat-tail comb," Hampton suggests. "Add some extra gold rings along the middle of the fishtail braid for some added glamour."
Blue and Purple Box Braids
Blue is always a good choice for adding color to dark hair; here, the stylist used curls and braids to create a cool, textured lob.
Switch up the look of this style by twirling your braids into Bantu knots. "Section the hair from the ear forward, then again in half to create two Bantu knots," Hampton says. "For a summer day, do smaller sections and knot approximately eight to 10 total," then "secure with hairpins."
Sculptural Braided Updo
Yara Shahidi crushes yet another red carpet with help from stylist Nikki Nelms, who wove Shahidi's braids into this innovative updo.
"Yara's hair is already a masterpiece here," Hampton says. "A nice addition would be to wrap a metallic thread or small gems around some of the braids to add some shine and texture to the look."
Chunky Two-Strand Twists
These chunky feed-in twists with immaculately styled edges play with texture and shape.
"Pull the two-strand twists up from the ears and above into a high pony for a cute casual look," Hampton suggests.
Karrueche Tran's long, sleek braids are giving us Beyoncé "Say My Name" vibes.
On a hot day, Hampton suggests weaving these braids into pigtails and topping off your look with a bucket hat.
Shani Crowe's 66-carat masterpiece is an excellent reference for a wedding-day or special-occasion look.
"The look is a work of art," Hamptom praises. "The only thing left to do to this is add one of those gorgeous baubles and place it on her ear.
Beaded and Braided Ponytail
To achieve this braided bun-meets-ponytail look, you'll probably spend a significant amount of time in your braider's chair—but Vanessa Matsena's beaded 'do is worth the wait.
Hampton suggests going "full goddess" with this look by "adding a head wrap, keeping the top open, [and] allowing the braids to cascade along the side."
Wire-Embellished Cornrow Bun
Bianca Lawson's cornrows don't appear to feature extensions, but feed-in braids could work with this look; just add a little hair and gold wire.
For a different look, release the cornrows from the bun and wear them in a ponytail instead, Cuthbert suggests.
Side-Swept, Long Cornrows
Beyoncé has been giving us braid-spiration since she and Destiny's Child hit the scene in the '90s. Her bum-length braids frame her face beautifully.
"Beyoncé’s side-swept cornrows can be transformed by braiding the lengths into a fishtail braid," Cuthbert says. (Check out our step-by-step fishtail braid tutorial.)
Red, Fulani-Style Braided Updo
The traditional Fulani style gets a twist with a gorgeous red color and an intricately knotted-up 'do, courtesy of the trend-setting Nara Hair Braiding salon in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"These tribal braids by Nara were completed with a braided crown," Cuthbert explains. "However, the style looks just as good with the lengths hanging down."
Beaded, Platinum Blonde Braids
Solange's blonde braids with red beads are iconic. With natural hair that's dyed blonde, take extra care to ensure the hair is properly moisturized—especially when adding tension.
With accessorized feed-in braids like these, it's easy to change up the look. "Solange’s cornrows can be transformed by switching up the number of beads and the color," Cuthbert says. "Try clear beads to really accentuate the blonde color with high shine."
Cornrows With Bubble Braids
Brazilian blogger Magá Moura is another naturalista who shows us how versatile our natural coils can be by adding bubble braids to this look.
To change up this look, play around with the pattern of your baby hairs, Cuthbert suggests. "Grab an edge-styler brush and some edge control and go wild," he says. "Wavy patterns work well on longer edges, while swirls are fun for shorter edges."
Cuthbert loves the affordable Camryn's BFF Gentle Edges Brush and Style Factor Edge Booster Strong-Hold Water-Based Pomade for styling baby hairs.
Pink Braided Bob
During peak summer months, long feed-in braids may be too warm for some of us. The bob gives us a cool, protective style option.
Cuthbert recommends decorating the partings of this hairstyle with stick-on crystals. "Use eyelash glue and your favorite gems," he says. "A little hair oil will loosen the jewels" when you're ready to get rid of them.
Chunky Braided Updo
Paola Mathé's cool braided updo isn't one-dimensional, Cuthbert insists. "Paola’s braid ponytail can also be worn in a braided topknot," he says. "Just twist lengths into a bun [and] use a few pins for added security or your favorite scrunchie."
Braided Half-Up Topknot
Sanaa Lathan's braided look is ideal for crocheting; ask your stylist to install individual feed-ins to the front of your hair, then install the rest with crochet.
These skinny braids are also super versatile, lending themselves to all kinds of braided updos, Cuthbert says. "Lathan’s half-up, half-down style can be swept completely off of the neck by braiding [the] lengths into a milkmaid braid or braided crown," he suggests.
Side-Swept Braided Lob
A braided lob is a nice middle ground for someone who wants length without the commitment of cascading extensions.
In addition to being low-maintenance, this style is also adaptable, Cuthbert says. "This braided bob by Tanasia is begging to be fully adorned by all of the hair jewelry. More is more!"
He adds, "This braid look easily turns into a chic low ponytail with a side-swept swoop."
Center-Parted Cornrows With Accessories
If you have shoulder-length hair, you can ask for Keillah Okari's style sans extra hair, or add extensions for longevity and fullness.
Cuthbert says this "center-parted braided style is the perfect foundation for creating space buns or pigtails."
Braids Plus Bubble Braid
Feed-in braids lend themselves to many style options, as stylist Susan Oludele—aka @hairbysusy, one of the best-known names in braiding—shows.
"I love the creativity in this look," Kimble says. "To put my own flare on it, I would remove the braids and just keep the hair on the scalp sleek." Kimble recommends her Kim Kimble Signature Collection Baby Hair Edge Control for keeping edges in place.
Fulani Braids With Texture
Adding a braid where your middle part would be gives this style an elevated, cool-girl look.
If you're an experienced braider, Kimble suggests adding "some more hair into the braids, so you can have more texture to create a tree-braid effect." (We think these braids would look amazing knotted into a low bun à la Zoë Kravitz.)
Chunky Red Stitch Braids
By subtly weaving red extensions into these stitch braids, the stylist creates this jaw-dropping ombré effect.
To take this look to the next level, Kimble suggests adding "some ribbon or embroidery thread into the braids."
Red Braided Bob
OK, this asymmetrical bob is fire (pun intended) and the gold charms on the blunt, burned ends set it off.
"This look is so vibrant and fun already, but I would add more accessories to the braids for even more pizzazz," Kimble says.
Waist-Length, Accessorized Braids
Love. That. Length. These feed-in braids remind us that we can honor traditional African styles while adding a modern twist.
"This hair is breathtaking and the braids are bomb," Kimble says. "I would add more color in the braids." (Pro tip: Weaving colored beads and ribbons into the hair creates a similar effect to extensions.)
Braider Kersti Pitre's bright yellow-and-white 'do is the ultimate eye-catcher. We love the contrast of her alternating thick and thin cornrows.
For a change, Kimble suggests adding some dimension to this lemonade-hued topknot with darker-colored extensions; to get a similar look at home, wrap braids with black embroidery floss.
Long, Side-Swept Braids
Content creator Lesley's geometric braids are a reminder that simple doesn't have to be boring.
To switch things up, Kimble says she "would take the braids and roll them into an updo and add some fun accessories." (TBH, we'd also love to see these braids woven into a fishtail.)
Stitch Braids With Undercut
"I love this look so much!" says Kimble. To make the undercut "pop even more" on this style, Kimble recommends adding color; try a spray-on, wash-out hair color like Dark and Lovely Go Intense! Color Sprays.
Double Bubble Braids
"Grown-ish" hairstylist Tinisha Meek proves that even bubble braids work with the feed-in technique.
"This look is so fun and youthful," Kimble says. To switch up the look, twist up the pigtails to "create two buns on either side of the head."