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, here are 40 different braid styles 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? Well, here you go! It's the perfect look 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 either with extensions or au natural. 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 and looser curl pattern. The walnut shade is also awe-inspiring.
Ebony Tree Braids
Of course, we can’t forget Black. It’s a classic. 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 the golden cornrows featured above and the way they seemingly pay homage to Lemonade.
In the music video “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Beyoncé gets in touch with her tough side by sporting straight cornrows. You can get a similar effect by braiding your own defined set. In this example, you can see what jumbo cornrows (or "goddess braids," if that’s what you prefer to call them) look like with a stitch pattern etched in.
Again, if you’re on the blonder side, you might get more people connecting the dots that you’re recreating a Lemonade style. A deep golden tone may get easier callbacks over others since Beyoncé’s locks appear darker for this edgy video.
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. Though, instead of braiding them straight back, maybe you can position 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 becaus)e. 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–you just curl the ends of your cornrows for all the "cute" you need.
Blonde Box Braids
In the music video “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 of the scenes, Beyoncé wears her hair down 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, “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 as well.
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 is reminiscent to the crown Beyoncé wore in her own video.
Beyoncé may not have worn this exact style in her visual album, but we’re sure it would get her stamp of approval anyway. Cornrows, Bantu knots and curls—need we say more?
If you really want to steal the show, go with this ultra-elaborate braided crown that’s half cornrow and half Fulani. Curling the rest of your 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 “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, you can throw in some braid charms as well.
Adorned Side Braid
Not digging the headband look? You can ditch it and just 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 to 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 also very similar to the original source material with its loose wavy strands. However, its baby hairs are more prominent while its braid charms add a touch of contrast.
Chunky Box Braids
In the music video “Daddy Lessons,” there is a scene where Beyoncé is riding a horse in an open field while her box braids sway in the wind. Unlike the other box braids she wore in her previous videos, these are on the thicker side. These shoulder-grazing box braids are on the same level of Beyoncé’s style, albeit shorter than the ones she had.
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
Or maybe you’re into the bohemian aesthetic and you prefer your box braids to be freer and less uniform. 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.
Peekaboo Box Braids
Break up the monotony of your box braids with a few colorful peekaboo plaits. Deep shades like violet look stunning up against brunette hues.
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.
Blonde Side Braid
If you need to be reminded of just how great side cornrows look in blonde hair, here’s an edgy bright style to add to your favorites. Don’t forget to swoop out those baby hairs.
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 is 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 and voluminous set of pigtails that reach your waist. When you’re not sporting a hat, you can pair it with whatever accessory you like.