The Ultimate Guide: 15 Cool Braid Styles For Men You Need To Try

by John Griffith

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always harbored a secret envy for those with the patience and creativity to let their hair grow long and experiment with different styles. The idea of braiding my hair always seemed like a distant, almost unachievable goal, given my impatience with hair growth and my lack of knowledge on where to even begin. However, the allure of braids, their elegance, and the way they seem to add a layer of character to one’s appearance finally got the better of me. Diving deep into the world of men’s hairstyles, I found myself poring over advice from seasoned experts from Byrdie and GQ, eager to understand what it takes to rock the braided look. And so, I embark on sharing what I’ve learned, hoping to inspire others like me to take the plunge into the diverse world of braid styles for men.

Dive into the world of men’s braids

aap rocky from the film monster

Can Men Wear Braids?

Absolutely, men can wear braids! Braid styles for men are a versatile and stylish choice for anyone, regardless of gender. They offer a way to express personal style, manage hair of any length, and protect it from environmental damage. With the rise of gender-neutral fashion and the breaking down of traditional style barriers, men across the globe are embracing braided hairstyles. From sleek cornrows to intricate twists, braids can suit a wide range of tastes and hair types, making them a fantastic option for men looking to explore different hairstyles.

Braids are for everyone

Choosing the Best Braiding Hair for Men

Selecting the best braiding hair is crucial for achieving both the desired look and maintaining hair health. For men interested in adding extensions for length or volume, opting for high-quality, natural hair extensions is key. These blend seamlessly with your natural hair, providing a realistic and comfortable wearing experience. It’s important to match the extension’s texture to your own hair for the most natural look. Additionally, consulting with a professional hairstylist can help ensure that the chosen hair extensions are suitable for your specific hair type and desired braid style.

Selecting the right braiding hair is essential for a natural look

The Longevity of Men’s Braids: What You Need to Know

The longevity of braid styles for men can vary widely based on the braid style, hair type, and maintenance routine. Generally, braids can last from a few days to several weeks. Tighter styles like cornrows may last up to 6 weeks with proper care, while looser braids might need redoing more frequently. To extend the life of braided hairstyles, it’s important to maintain a clean scalp, moisturize regularly, and protect the hair while sleeping using a silk or satin headwrap. Regular maintenance will not only keep the braids looking fresh but also protect your hair from damage.

Proper care can extend the life of braids

man with braids

Optimal Duration for Men to Keep Braids In

While braid styles for men are a low-maintenance and protective hairstyle, it’s crucial not to keep them in for too long. The optimal duration for men to keep braids in is typically between 2 to 6 weeks. This timeframe helps prevent potential hair and scalp damage, such as breakage or buildup. Keeping braids in for longer can lead to matting or locking, making the removal process difficult and risking hair loss. Regularly consulting with a hairstylist can help determine the best timeline for your hair type and braid style.

Men should aim to keep braids in for 2 to 6 weeks

Do Braids Promote Hair Growth in Men?

Braid styles for men can indirectly promote hair growth by protecting the hair from damage and breakage. As a low-manipulation style, braids reduce the need for daily styling and exposure to heat, thereby minimizing breakage and allowing the hair to retain length. However, it’s important to note that braids themselves do not cause hair to grow but rather help in retaining the length of existing growth. Proper scalp care and maintaining a healthy hair care routine are essential for promoting hair growth while wearing braids.

Braids protect hair from damage and aid in length retention

Protective Styling Tips

When it comes to protective styling, the consensus among experts is clear: realism is key. Whether you’re drawn to the low-maintenance allure of cornrows or the natural progression into locs, the foundation of healthy hair lies in routine care. Bertin’s advocacy for leave-in conditioners and silk durags or pillowcases to retain moisture overnight is a testament to the meticulous care required to nurture and protect your hair.

Realistic maintenance expectations and routine care are key to benefiting from protective styles like braids

Cool Braid Styles For Men

In our journey through the labyrinth of braids for men, we encounter guides like Stefan Bertin, a London-based maestro of hair whose expertise spans red carpet looks and textured hair for Byrdie. Plus, Shannon Currie, a stylist at SliderCuts who has witnessed the burgeoning interest in protective styles firsthand and shares her wisdom with GQ magazine. Their insights serve as our North Star, illuminating the path to embracing our natural texture and exploring the realm of braids, locs, and twists.

Explore the variety of braided styles for men

’90s-Inspired Locs

Evoking a sense of nostalgia while embracing modern trends, this style features long locs pulled back into textured pigtails. It’s perfect for men who appreciate a retro vibe mixed with contemporary fashion. This look not only pays homage to iconic ’90s music and culture but also offers a distinctive way to style longer locs.

Retro vibe, modern flair

Box Braids

Shannon Currie emphasizes the importance of starting protective styles like single braids on healthy hair. Deep conditioning and proper hydration are key to maintaining the health and appearance of your braids.

Healthy start, stunning braids

Loc’d Man Bun

Merging the rugged appeal of locs with the polished aesthetic of a man bun, this style suits men who prefer a sophisticated yet edgy look. It’s especially fitting for those with medium to long hair seeking a practical way to manage their locks while showcasing their texture.

Edgy sophistication in a bun

Tapered Man Bun

Currie notes the versatility of braided styles and suggests that a tapered man bun can be an excellent way for men to explore longer hair while keeping it neat and professional.

Neat, professional, stylish

Faded Cornrows

This style blends the traditional technique of cornrows with the modern appeal of a fade, creating a dynamic look that’s both neat and striking. Ideal for those who appreciate precise lines and a clean scalp, faded cornrows offer a stylish solution that bridges the gap between classic and contemporary tastes.

Classic meets modern

Braids with a Crisp Fade

For maintaining the sharpness of the fade while wearing braids, Bertin stresses the importance of regular visits to a professional stylist. This ensures the style remains crisp and clean.

Sharp edges, sharper style

Single Braids with Added Length

For those not wanting to wait for their hair to grow but eager to experiment with longer styles, adding extensions to single braids can instantly transform your look. This option provides versatility in styling and a chance to experiment with length without the long-term commitment.

Instant length, instant style

Intricate Cornrows

Currie mentions that the detail and precision required for intricate cornrows mean selecting a stylist experienced in complex braiding patterns is essential for achieving the desired outcome.

Detailed art on your head

Four Cornrows

Both experts agree that simplicity doesn’t mean sacrificing care. Even with a straightforward style like four cornrows, regular moisturizing and nighttime protection with a durag are advised to maintain hair health.

Simple yet meticulously cared for

Medium-Length Locs

Balancing the ease of shorter hair with the styling options of longer locks, medium-length locs offer a versatile and attractive choice. Whether tied back for a formal look or left loose for a more casual appearance, this style adapts to your lifestyle and personal expression.

Versatile, effortlessly stylish

Mini Braids

Stefan Bertin suggests embracing the natural texture of your hair when considering mini braids or micro braids. This low-manipulation, protective style not only looks great but also helps in preserving the hair’s integrity. Mini braids are particularly appealing for their ease of maintenance and the ability to adapt to different hair types, embodying Bertin’s philosophy of working with rather than against your hair’s natural tendencies.

Low maintenance, high style

Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are not only a hairstyle but a celebration of cultural heritage. This bold choice is for the man who isn’t afraid to stand out and make a statement. The style involves sectioning the hair into parts, twisting those sections tightly, and then wrapping them into small, knotted buns scattered across the head. Bantu knots are a fantastic option for events where you want your style to speak volumes about your confidence and creativity.

Bold, cultural statement

bantu knots amine rapper

Face-Framing Box Braids

Both Bertin and Currie highlight the importance of selecting styles that complement your natural hair’s texture and length. Face-framing box braids, adaptable to various lengths, offer a customizable option that can highlight facial features while protecting the hair. As with other braid styles, maintaining moisture is crucial, aligning with Bertin’s advice on using leave-in conditioners to keep the braids looking fresh and healthy.

Customize to highlight features

face framing box braids

Fishtail Cornrows

Fishtail cornrows offer a unique twist on the classic cornrow style, incorporating the detailed pattern of a fishtail braid. This intricate braid style requires a skilled hand, as it combines the tight, to-the-scalp technique of cornrows with the complex pattern of fishtail braids. The result is a textured, visually appealing hairstyle that’s perfect for special occasions or for anyone looking to elevate their braided look.

Intricate, eye-catching braids

Braided Locs

Reflecting on Bertin’s and Currie’s insights, braided locs represent a fusion of commitment to natural hair growth and the aesthetic appeal of braiding. This style requires careful consideration of hair health, particularly regarding moisture retention and scalp care—key aspects emphasized by Bertin. The versatility of braided locs, from their formation to their day-to-day styling, captures the essence of embracing one’s natural hair journey while exploring creative styling options.

Creative, nurturing natural beauty

Maintenance and Care

Navigating the maintenance of braided styles is crucial for their longevity and health. Currie’s advice on covering hair with a durag at night and Bertin’s emphasis on hydrating with natural oils underscore the importance of a tailored care routine. Whether it’s the ease of upkeep for cornrows or the minimal maintenance for locs, understanding the needs of your hairstyle and hair type is paramount.

Proper maintenance is the lifeline of any braided hairstyle

As someone who has long admired the intricacy and personality of braid styles, diving into the world of men’s braids has been an eye-opening experience. The journey from apprehension to admiration, guided by the wisdom of experts like Stefan Bertin and Shannon Currie, has not only expanded my appreciation for the art of braiding but has also instilled a newfound confidence to experiment with my own hair. In embracing these styles, we find a unique expression of our individuality and a protective embrace for our natural hair. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a curious newcomer like myself, the world of men’s braid styles is rich with possibilities, waiting to be explored.

Venture into men’s braids

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.