20 Braided Hairstyles That Look Great With Short Hair

Chopping your hair off can be a liberating experience for many people. Whether you've just done a big chop, gone through a breakup, or simply want to mark a change in your life, the choice to cut your locks can take a heavy weight off your shoulders (via Elite Daily).

Something that can add more pressure, however, is figuring out a way to style your hair once it's short. While there are a number of celebrities who transformed their looks with a haircut and serve as short-hair inspirations, they have a glam team while all you may have is a brush and a dream. Elaborate braids are often created with longer hair, but it doesn't mean these looks can't be recreated with shorter hair.

Experimenting with your hair can make the growing-out process seem to take less time and allow you to learn to love your shorter strands. It's not always easy, but there are tons of guides on the internet to help you learn to braid your short hair.

Crown braid

Just as the name suggests, crown braids are regal, yet surprisingly easy. Perfect for special occasions and last-minute events, the style is an offshoot of a French braid (via Byrdie). With some hairspray, clear elastic bands, a teasing comb, and bobby pins, the style is simple to grasp. In a YouTube tutorial, Ashley Brooke demonstrates the style by creating a French braid on one side of her hair, then tying it away at the back of her head. She repeats this on the other side, connecting them with bobby pins and loosening the braids slightly for a more voluminous look.

Braided pigtails

Aside from the "The Rachel" and messy buns held up by scrunchies, pigtails are another one of the '90s hairstyles predicted to make a 2023 comeback. While the style has been rocked by long-haired celebrities such as Yara Shahidi and Tessa Thompson, the style can easily be worn with short hair, too (via Glamour UK). A simple Dutch braid, aka an inverted French braid, will help you complete the style. Section your hair into two and tie one section off to the side, instructs A Beautiful Mess. Split one side into three and braid down, repeating on the other side.

Stitch braids

Although they look similar to traditional cornrows, stitch braids require more effort than a basic cornrow. Rather than parting the hair into three and braiding down, grabbing a bit of hair as you go, horizontal lines are first created, which develop a "stitch" pattern, says Natural Girl Wigs. While stitch braids are normally done by braiding your hair, you can get the style with just your natural hair. DSYB Hair on YouTube adds gel to the roots to create a defined, horizontal line as she braids down to mimic the look of a braid stitched together.

Rope braid twists

If you think you can't fit your hair into a rope braid, think again. A take on the style that was popularized a few years ago, this tutorial from YouTube creator Milabu shows you how you can transform your short locks into a style that looks way more complicated than it actually is. According to the video, the style is created by twisting the hair and adding some pieces as you go down. Pull the braids slightly for some volume and use hairspray to set them in place.

Braided headband

Ideal for all hair types, a braided headband is a stress-free style that is versatile enough for casual looks and dressed-up events. Using a bit of gel or pomade, the look can be mastered in just a few short minutes, per PopSugar. Parting from one ear to the other, section off the hair you'll be braiding and tie the rest away. With the front section, divide the hair into three parts and do a quick Dutch braid or cornrow across your hairline.


Straightback cornrows will simply never go out of fashion. They're not just for wearing under wigs and head wraps, but they get your hair out of your face while accentuating it. A great protective style for natural hair, it remains a classic in the Black community (via Essence). From Alicia Keys to Keke Palmer, the style has been worn time and time again. If you're part of the Black girl brigade that can't braid, this TikTok tutorial for jumbo cornrows will have you braiding in no time.

Pull-through braid

If you're waiting for your hair to grow, mimic longer hair with a straightforward pull-through braid. Despite the name, the style doesn't include any braiding at all. With a series of ponytails that are weaved together, the illusion of a braid is created, explains Goldfish Kiss. Start with two equally sized ponytails at the bottom of the hair. With the first ponytail opened up, bring the second one through it and pin it up. Get the first ponytail and add hair from the next section. For an easy-to-follow tutorial, this YouTube video details how to master the style.

Messy braided updo

Reject the polished look and opt for a messy, sexy, just rolled-out-of-bed look instead. Creating a deep part on one side of your hair, braid the bangs into either a French or Dutch braid and tie it at the back (via Byrdie). Then, do the same on the other side of your head. Loosen the hair slightly and use a teasing comb to lightly brush upward. Pin the braids at the back of your head and put the rest of your hair into a bun, placing the braids inside using bobby pins.

Allen Iverson braids

Before Russell Westbrook and Odell Beckham Jr., Allen Iverson was a style icon of the '90s and early '00s, reports GQ. While his off-court fashion was filled with gleaming chains and streetwear, his cornrows on and off the court remained a constant topic of conversation. While the intricate and almost labyrinthine cornrows came years before his time, Iverson is undoubtedly a popular representation of the look. More complicated than your typical cornrows, the style fits right into the Gen Z streetwear aesthetic popularized by young Black people. This YouTube video offers a simple tutorial for braiding novices.

Fishtail knot braid

Growing out your bangs can be a long and frustrating process. Yet once they're at the length you want them, having wisps of hair flowing in your face is even more annoying. With a fishtail knot braid, you can lift your hair away from your face without simply resorting to a messy bun or an abundance of bobby pins. Create a fishtail braid on each side of your head, tying them with an elastic band. Bring them toward the back and tie them together in a knot, says All things Hair, holding them in place with a bobby pin.

Faux undercut braid

The year 2014 is coming back in the form of twee, indie sleaze, and all things Tumblr. While its return has been ushered in with grungy makeup and whimsical clothes, why not mark its revival with a throwback hairstyle? Cara Delevigne's iconic faux undercut marked the edgy style of the time. The Brit + Co five-minute braid technique instructs you to create a deep part on the side where you'll be braiding your hair. Do a Dutch braid and pin the rest under your hair to hide it.

Upside-down braided bun

Bolder than your average top knot, this style is business in the front and party in the back with the addition of a Dutch bun. If you struggle to put your hair into a bun, it's also great for stretching out the hair to ensure that it all fits. Split your hair into two from ear to ear, as this creator does in a YouTube video. Create a Dutch braid at the back of your hair, going up until you create a ponytail. Combine the two sections into a bun and use bobby pins to keep it in place.

French braid top knot

For an everyday look, a French braid top knot is always a go-to option. If the upside-down braided bun is for dressed-up events, the French braid top knot is her younger, sportier sister. Done with two French braids going up into a bun, the style is ideal for anytime you want to keep your hair out of your face (via Twist Me Pretty). Make a U-shaped part from temple to temple, and tie the rest of your hair back. Part the front down the middle and create a French braid with each section, completing the look with a bun.

Knotless braided bob

In order to protect your natural hair, doing protective styles every few months is necessary. While box braids have been a popular style for decades, consider doing knotless braids instead. Knotless braids offer tension-free styling that allows your hair to grow without added pressure on the roots, says Pattern Beauty. If you want to embrace the length of your hair, spring for a knotless braid bob, like this cross between boho and knotless braids from Vandy Vanity on YouTube.

Waterfall braid

Similar to a crown braid, this hairstyle creates an elegant look with a chic braid that cascades across the side of the head. While waterfall braids are as majestic as they sound, they actually don't require much effort (via Cosmopolitan). The style initially starts the same way as a French braid, but you create the waterfall look by dropping the first strand of hair in the braid, picking up a new one instead, and repeating the process as you braid. This YouTube video demonstrates how the style can be accomplished on short hair.

Mini braids with beads

Embrace your inner child and the Y2K aesthetic with mini braids and beads. This protective style allows you to get a break from your hair without having to add extensions if you don't want to. Angie Adisa on YouTube shows how to do the simple yet chic style. Add beads and switch them up to match your mood or outfit. One of the best parts about this style is that you can install faux locs if you want to protect your hair longer.

Bantu knots

Aside from being a talented writer, actress, and all-around cultural icon, one thing Issa Rae is always going to do is serve looks. On and off her hit show "Insecure," she had a myriad of natural hair looks that served as inspo for people with shorter hair (via The Zoe Report). One of her best looks was her Bantu knots, a style that's easily achievable for short, kinky hair. Worn for years by Black people across the diaspora, this YouTube tutorial shows how to elevate the style with braided hair.

Braided bangs

Throughout time, the pixie haircut has never failed to be a daring and dynamic haircut. While the style is versatile and looks good with everything, the growing-out stage is infamously aggravating, particularly if your bangs start to grow out longer than the rest of the hair. The best part about this, however, is that the longer your hair grows, the more styling options there are available to you. All Things Hair explains that a simple French braid across the hairline will elevate your short strands.

Braided ponytail

Being invited to a last-minute event without having your hair done is enough to send you into a tailspin. Doing natural hair often involves a bit of planning, but it doesn't always have to! With patience, a bit of cornrow knowledge, and a drawstring ponytail, you can do this YouTube tutorial. Make a horizontal part from ear to ear and tie the hair back into a ponytail, braiding the excess. Split the remaining section into three with vertical parts and cornrow them back. Braid the remaining hair and tie it into a bun. Add your ponytail, and you're done!

Faux hawk pull-through braid

A faux hawk braid is the perfect juxtaposition of femininity and boldness. The striking look is a great style for events, but it can be a bit hard to achieve on shorter hair. With a pull-through braid, you can mimic the look without actually having the length to achieve it. Per Glamour UK, the pull-through method is done by twisting two sections of hair around a strand in the center. For short hair, this YouTube tutorial from Amanda Cypert Beauty shows how it can be accomplished.