Beyoncé's 2016 album Lemonade is a visual masterpiece rooted in feminism, a celebration of Black women and African history, themes punctuated by Beyoncé's grand hairstyles, specifically her waist-length braids. According to her longtime hairstylist Kim Kimble, "The whole video is paying homage to women’s culture.” In videos such as "Formation" and "Sorry," Beyoncé can be seen donning up to three looks or more throughout her various scenes. Kimble tells Elle, "We designed the hair not just for her, but for the entire project,” she explained. “Each song had its own inspiration."
From her iconic side-swept cornrows and many variations of box braids, updos and braided pigtails, there’s so much style Beyoncé brought forward in her visual album. If you need a reminder of just how great Beyoncé’s hair looked in Lemonade, check out these 35 different braid hairstyles inspired by the music video anthology’s very best snippets.
In Beyoncé’s music video “Hold Up,” you might recall her center-parted loose curls stealing the show while she sashayed her way down streets in a bright yellow dress. This look can be replicated with tree braids, another style Beyoncé loves to wear. All it takes are a few freestanding braids and curly tresses to look like the songstress. These side-swept ombré tree braids look similar enough without it being a copy-and-paste job.
There’s no secret that Beyoncé likes her blonde locks. And if you happen to have blonde hair yourself, tree braids are sure to look very Lemonade-esque. Aside from parting your hair, you can try a half-up, half-down style for a really dynamic look.
Ponytail Tree Braids
Are you curious about how tree braids look when they’re pulled back in a ponytail? Beyoncé has been rocking the look since well before her Lemonade days. It's a stunning style no matter the occasion, but particularly for bat-swinging.
Beyoncé’s voluminous curls grazed her tailbone in "Hold Up." You can go for a similar look with your tree braids with extensions if you don't have the natural length. For this particular style we found on Instagram, we can’t get over the gorgeous cinnamon color.
Tree braids look great with natural textures, but they also look amazing with roller sets and curl wands. Here’s what the style looks like with a smoother, looser curl pattern. The walnut shade is also awe-inspiring.
Ebony Tree Braids
Of course, we can’t forget how great tree braids look in a darker shade. Wouldn’t you agree?
Small Lemonade Braids
Yoncé's cornrows are already quite small in the "Formation" and "Don't Hurt Yourself" videos, but #smalllemonadebraids is still a massively popular hashtag on Instagram, so the differentiation is worth noting. We love these golden braids on Jada Pinkett Smith.
Again, if you’re on the blonder side, you might get more people connecting the dots that you’re recreating a Lemonade style. A golden tone may get easier callbacks over others since it closely matches Beyoncé's signature locks.
Beyoncé’s cornrows were pretty thin and tight for the "Don't Hurt Yourself" video, but you don’t have to do exactly what she did. If you like playing with sizes, this alternating braid style might be more to your liking.
Perhaps you prefer a set of chunky braids on your head over skinny ones—here’s a way you can style them. If you don't feel like braiding them straight back, you can try positioning them at an angle.
Beyoncé’s cornrows were pretty plain to keep in theme with the video’s overall grittiness, but there’s a chance you may want to dress your braids up for a special occasion (or just because). If that’s the case, you can decorate your cornrows with a metallic thread or braid charm.
Maybe the "tough" look isn’t for you and you'd rather go a little bit more flirty. That’s no problem at all—just curl the loose ends of your cornrows for all the "cute" you need.
Blonde Box Braids
In the music video for “Sorry,” Beyoncé and her besties went all out with hairstyles that complemented the emotion behind the scorned ballad. Throughout the video, you can see Beyoncé whipping her long, blonde box braids. It’s only fitting that you get box braids of your own in solidarity.
Half-Up Box Braids
When you need a break from all your swishing strands, you can always sweep them away in a bun. But for the sake of Lemonade, leave half of your box braids down to stay close to the source of inspiration.
In one scene, Beyoncé wears her hair in a pair of braided pigtails. She also leaves out a portion of her bangs for a sultry look. You can achieve a similar vibe by leaving out your favorite strands.
There’s another scene that shows Beyoncé donning a sky-high style that Kimble has confirmed as a reference to the Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The style might be difficult to achieve on your own, but if you have something strong enough to support your wrapped-up braids, you can absolutely rock this look. And if all else fails, you can always opt for a pre-braided Nefertiti hat.
If the Nefertiti hat is a little too dramatic or artsy for your liking, you can get a similar effect with a braided high bun. Go for a bun that’s a little higher than you’d usually get to stay true to the Lemonade theme.
Tall Head Wrap
Although Beyoncé didn’t wear a head wrap in this exact video, she did throughout Lemonade, so it’s worth mentioning if you want to go for a Nefertiti look that isn’t so literal. It’s a great way to get height and keep your braids protected.
In the music video for “Emptiness,” Beyoncé’s hair is down, but she's wearing an elaborate crown that looks very similar to traditionally braided styles found in Africa. Particularly, her look is very reminiscent of the "Shuruba" or "Albaso" style worn by the women of Ethiopia and Eritrea, which is a half-braided, half-down hairdo. These two beauties are sporting micro cornrows and their natural hair in addition to their statement crowns.
The Shuruba/Albaso hairstyle doesn’t have to be done with ultra-skinny cornrows. It can also alternate between braid sizes for a natural crown effect that’s highly Lemonade-inspired.
Blonde Crown Braids
If you'd rather try your hand at regular cornrows, you can braid the front of your hair into a simple pattern. Blonde is a stunning shade to work with, and we love the contrast between the darker braided roots and golden curls.
This cornrow pattern might look a little similar to its blonde counterpart above, but as you can see, it has select statement cornrows that wind down like a snake-shaped crown. The box braids placed right by the ear create a chain-like appearance that's reminiscent of the crown Beyoncé wore in her own video.
If you really want to steal the show, go with this ultra-elaborate braided crown that’s half cornrow and half Fulani. Curl the parts you leave out into loose waves for an intriguing contrast. Last but not least, pin down some cowrie shells for a pan-African touch that’s on par with Lemonade.
Tiara Side Braid
In the music video for “6 Inch,” Beyoncé wears her iconic black wide-brimmed hat with a beautiful side braid. You can find a hat identical to what she wore, or you can switch it out for a pretty headband. For extra bling, throw in some braid charms as well.
Adorned Side Braid
Not digging the headband look? Ditch it and stick to the braid charms instead. We're in love with the volume this braid has from its loosely cornrowed roots. The fullness at the base of the braid is also a nice touch.
Plain and Pressed Side Braid
If you prefer to not be as flashy, you can always go for a plain side braid. This sleek, glossy plait is perfectly pressed and ready for its own video shoot.
Bridal-Worthy Halo Braid
When Beyoncé wasn’t strutting around with her giant hat, her softer side came through with a soft, center-parted updo that’s reminiscent of a halo braid. Her falling curly strands were breathtaking. This style we found is a little tighter braid-wise, but it’s still pretty spot on.
Wispy Halo Braid
This halo braid is similar to the original source material with its loose, wavy strands.
Neatly Charmed Box Braids
Larger box braids are certainly eye-catching. And if you’re a fan of having your braids neatly installed and accessorized, this look will be sure to feed your soul.
Boho Box Braids
Maybe you’re into the bohemian aesthetic and you prefer your box braids to be freer and less uniform. In that case, take a page from this boho beauty’s book.
Cornrows and Box Braids
It’s impossible to see Beyoncé's roots from the camera’s distance, so we can't confirm or deny whether she snuck a few cornrows into the mix. But, in case she did, here’s a hybrid cornrow and box braid style that fits the video’s overall ambiance.
In “Formation,” Beyoncé brought out a handful of natural hairstyles to the forefront. However, the scene when she leans out the window of a moving car with her side-swept cornrows has become a cultural icon (and sassy meme). You can easily recreate the style—just make sure to pick your favorite selfie side.
There’s a portion of "Formation" where Beyoncé is shown with her hair swept back in a pompadour-like style. You can create a similar look with volumized roots and a single cornrowed braid.
Formation Halo Braid
What can we say? Beyoncé really likes wrapping her hair up into a halo. Here’s a cool, zig-zagged halo that's different from the rest in this list.
Beyoncé brought her cornrowed pigtails out again with her wide-brimmed hat. You can get a similar effect if you go for a loosely braided, voluminous set of pigtails that reach your waist. When you’re not sporting a hat, you can pair it with whatever accessory you like.