Braids are always a good idea. But not just any braids, cool braids — like those elaborate styles that make people stop and ask for your stylist’s info so they can get the same ones. If you’re anything like me, though, you psych yourself out of getting certain braided styles because you don’t think you can pull them off.
But it’s time to level-up your braid game. With the warm summer months right around the corner, heat-protective styles like braids are perfect for protecting your natural strands. Plus, the upkeep is super-minimal, so they’re convenient if you’re not into doing much to your hair every day.
Here, Brooklyn-based braid guru Stasha Harris of Magic Fingers Studiodemonstrates exactly how to get these four braided styles for natural hair. Watch to see her fingers werk *magic*, then take each step (listed below) to your stylist, or sit in front of your mirror and do it yourself — if you’re good like that.
Beautiful Bantu Knots
1. Using a skinny, rat-tail comb, part the back of your hair into a heart shape (or whichever shape you want).
2. Section your heart shape into two smaller sections by parting it down the middle.
3. Cornrow your hair into tiny braids that create the shape of a heart.
4. When you’re finished with your tiny cornrows, create one slightly bigger braid that connects both sides and outlines the shape of the heart.
5. To create bantu knots, section your hair into small-to-medium-size sections.
6. Then, sub-section each section into two parts, and start creating a twist.
7. Next, wrap your twist around in a circular motion to create a tight coil. You can secure the coil with a small bobby pin for an even tighter hold.
8. Repeat this step on all sections of your hair.
9. Add another element of fun by adding beads to your bantu knots. Holding the tip of the braid, use a beader to insert each bed onto your hair.
10. Accentuate your edges with a rat-tail comb and a shine gel like Ampro’s Shine ‘N Jam Conditioning Gel.
Braided Space Buns
1. Start by sectioning off your hair into four large sections.
2. Create a middle part in the front section of your hair, and braid a diagonal half-braid, stopping at the crown of your head. Repeat the same step on the other side.
3. In the bottom half section of your hair, create a diagonal part (going to the left or right), and braid a tiny braid, followed by a bigger braid going in the same direction.
4. On the opposite side, repeat the same step to create cool alternating braids.
5. Wrap around the ends of each braid in a circular motion to create a tight, coiled bun on each side.
Swirly Snake Braids
1. Using a medium-size comb, part your hair in a swirl shape.
2. Next, braid one small cornrow in the shape of your swirl part.
3. Right next to your small cornrow, braid a bigger braid following the same S-shape direction. Repeat that step for all of your braids.
4. Accentuate your edges with a rat-tail comb and a shine gel like Ampro’s Shine ‘N Jam Conditioning Gel.
5. Use hot water to steam the ends of your braid so they seal together and lay more flexible.
6. To smooth down flyaways, apply mousse to the top of your hair, and tie it down with a du-rag or a silk scarf. Use a blowdryer to dry your mousse.
Embellished Box Braids
2. Interweave the wire into each braid, and loop the end of the wire together to secure it.
3. Place the cuffs and hoops wherever you’d like.
4. Accentuate your baby hair with a rat-tail comb and a shine gel like Ampro’s Shine ‘N Jam Conditioning Gel. Using the end of the comb, create an S shape for your your sideburns.