23 Braided Hairstyles for Curly Hair That Are Fresh and Elegant

23 Braided Hairstyles for Curly Hair That Are Fresh and Elegant

woman with cornrows and curly ponytail

@freshlengths / instagram

When you want to deviate from your usual wash-and-go, incorporating braids into your curly style is one approach. There are many braided hairstyles for curly hair to consider—all of them incredibly creative and cool. For example, you can opt for a chic braided ponytail, leaving out a few curly pieces to add texture. Or, you can slick your curls into a high bun and add a crown braid to the front for an elegant touch.

If you need more inspiration, we’ve rounded up 23 braided hairstyle ideas for curly hair, complete with styling tips from hairstylist Yetty Bames.

01 of 22

Crown Braid Bun

yara shahid wearing crown braid and curly hair hairstyle

Arturo Holmes / Getty Images

Adding a chic crown braid to the front of your hair (like Yara Shahidi did) can instantly elevate a loose, curly bun. Style your edges with a strong-hold pomade—like Kiss Colors & Care Edge Fixer ($9) to finish the look.

02 of 22

Cornrow Ponytail

woman with cornrows and curly ponytail

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Spice up your curly ponytail by opting for a few cornrows in the front. The precisely-parted braids add sleekness and sophistication to the classic style.

03 of 22

Cute Curly Ends

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: Coi Leray attends 2023 Billboard Women In Music at YouTube Theater on March 01, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Monica Schipper / Getty Images

Coi Leray has become synonymous with cute braided styles like this one. To achieve the super bouncy look, create a few medium-sized braids throughout your hair and curl the ends of each one using perm rods.

04 of 22

Chunky Cornrows and Curls

tia mowry wearing blonde cornrows hairstyle

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You can’t go wrong with large cornrows—they’re stylish and easy to achieve. We love how Tia Mowry put her spin on the hairdo by leaving out a few curly pieces throughout.

05 of 22

Face-Framing Braids

LUCCA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 01: Erin Kellyman attends the "Willow" Series Red Carpet during the 56th Lucca Comics & Games 2022 on November 01, 2022 in Lucca, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

If you want to keep most of your bouncy curls in their natural state, take some notes from actress Erin Kellyman by simply creating two small braids at either side of your face. Complete the face-framing style by adding a few clear beads to each braid.

06 of 22

Mini Crown Braids

crown braid on natural hair

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This look offers a fresh take on classic crown braids. Instead of opting for a single chunky braid, incorporate several smaller ones to create a headband-like effect.

07 of 22

Cornrow High Ponytail

influencer wearing high ponytail with cornrows and curls on natural hair

Dominique Charriau / Getty Images

Not only is this style super cute, but it’s also fairly easy to achieve if you’re comfortable braiding your hair. “Braid your hair to the middle and put the rest in a high ponytail,” Bames says. “Then style [your curls] as you wish.”

08 of 22

Braided Curly Bun

high bun hairstyle on natural hair

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There's nothing curly hair can't do, including regal updos. The key to achieving Ryan Michelle Bathe's look is to part your hair down the middle and then slick it up in a high, voluminous bun. "To style the bun, wrap a few twists [or braids] around it and add some shine to your edges by applying a finishing product like a serum," Bames says.

09 of 22

Multi-Braid Ponytail

zazie beetz wearing large box braids

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

Here, Zazie Beetz's hair has been styled in a cool, sculptural way. Creating several braids within your side ponytail gives the look tons of flair. We also love how her natural texture comes through at the ends of each braid, featuring a few undone curly pieces.

10 of 22

Feed-In Braids

feed in braids on curly hair

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Tamera Mowry-Housley's braided look is polished yet playful. Each side of her hair features two braids that feed into her curls. "Drawing attention to your curls like Tamera has is the secret behind this look," Bames says. Use a curl pudding or curl-enhancing styler to define the hair's natural pattern."

11 of 22

Center-Braid Ponytail

lyric ross wearing low bun hairstyle with cornrows on natural hair

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This look is all about drawing attention to the center of the head. It features braids of various sizes across the middle, creating an eye-catching contrast. The voluminous, fluffy curls in the back add extra drama to the look.

12 of 22

Braided Faux Hawk

regina king wearing faux braided mohawk hairstyle on natural hair

David Livingston / Getty Images

For those who don’t want to commit to a mohawk, faux hawks might be your speed. The style offers tons of room to get creative and experimental—as Regina King has proven. Her take features intricate braids on one side and beautifully defined curls on the other.

13 of 22

Braided Afro

Bozoma Saint John wearing cornrows and an afro hairstyle

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Accent your gorgeous, voluminous afro with a crown of medium-sized braids. This modern look proves the endless versatility of afro hairstyles.

14 of 22

A Fun Feed-In Braid

Daniella Perkins wearing curly bob with cornrows hairstyle

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A curly bob is a classic style that will always turn heads, but the hairdo is even more striking when braids are added to the mix. “This look can be achieved by using a half-inch curling iron to curl the entire head before adding a feed-in braid at the front,” Bames says.

15 of 22

Cornrow Trio

cornrows and curls hairstyle

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If you need more proof that cornrows and braids are a great combo, take this look as a prime example. You can achieve this style by parting your hair into three sections for the cornrows and then using a half-inch curling wand to enhance your natural curls.

16 of 22

Beads and Braids

Summer Valentine wearing long curly hair with cornrows and beads hairstyle

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This Diana Ross-inspired hairdo is pure perfection. Adding a few braids on one side enhances the glamorous, volumized style. And, of course, we're obsessed with the black beads.

17 of 22

Braided Messy Bun

Alicia keys wearing topknot hairstyle on curly hair

Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images

Let’s be honest: We all love a hairstyle that keeps our hair away from our faces from time to time. An effortless top knot is a great choice for those with curly hair because they’re low maintenance, stylish, and can be tweaked according to styling preferences. Take Alicia Keys’s top knot, for example. She added braids to her updo and teased her hair to make the look her own.

18 of 22

Two-Tone Braids

Naomie Harris wearing cornrows and curls on natural hair

 Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Adding color to your braids is a great way to personalize your look. Here, actress Naomie Harris has opted for center-part cornrows that combine black and honey-blonde braiding hair, a combination that always looks good. The lower half of her hair has been left in a free-flowing, wavy style that looks so stunning.

19 of 22

Braided Half-Up, Half-Down

Issa Rae wearing cornrows and curls hairstyle on natural hair

David Livingston / Getty Images

Issa Rae has inspired us with so many braid styles over the years, and this is one of our favorites. Here, she sported a half-up, half-down look, complete with a curly bun. The Fulani braids at either side of her hair draw even more attention to this fabulous, one-of-a-kind style.

20 of 22

Tousled Curls and Braids

Mariah Carey wearing long curly hair with feed in braids hairstyle

Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images

In addition to her amazing voice, we can’t get enough of Mariah’s natural curls and waves. Here, the icon has opted for tousled curls and completed the look with two small feed-in braids. Bames recommends finishing the look using a texturizing holding spray for added volume and texture.

21 of 22

Decorative Braided Ponytail

WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 08: Marsai Martin attends The Premiere Of Universal Pictures "Little" at Regency Village Theatre on April 08, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Leon Bennett / Getty Images

Adding hair accessories can easily take a sleek, braided ponytail to the next level. In this case, Marsai Martin weaved gold thread through her braids to make them stand out even more.

22 of 22

Regal Crown Braid

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 06: Storm Reid attends Variety's Power Of Young Hollywood at The H Club Los Angeles on August 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

For this red carpet appearance, Storm Reid pulled her curls back into a sophisticated crown braid. Instead of going with a chunky braid in the front, she opted for two tiny braids on each side. The bronze charms add a regal, elegant feel to the look.


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