Elaborately-braided hairstyles can sometimes take hours to achieve, so of course, you want them to look extra fresh once you finally get out of the salon chair. We’re talking about hair that makes you do a double take and then double tap. 

Braiding, particularly in cultures with a strong African influence, is a tradition that goes back for generations. And classic styles are constantly being reinvented and brought to life with a new-school swag. That’s because braids are extremely adaptable, and with a wealth of techniques and traditions to look back on, it should come as little surprise that Black people with naturally Afro-textured hair are embracing and reinventing an important part of our culture.

Be it beads, patterns that swoop and swirl around the crown, technicolor ombré hues, or braid styles adorned with thread, cuffs, and butterflies, the options are endless, which can be a bit daunting if you’re trying to decide on a look. But fear not! We’re here to help you navigate it all with some major inspiration spied on celebrities and on Instagram. Whether you’re looking to rock straight backs, Fulani braids, or the ever-popular Janet Jackson Poetic Justice braids, we’ve got ideas that will help you achieve ultimate hair goals.

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