Fulani braids consist of tight cornrows plaited close to the scalp, with the rest of the hair in box braids. Traditionally, Fulani braids had a single braid down the middle of your head with smaller braids to the sides and beads at the ends of your hair. 

Modern renditions of Fulani braid hairstyles showcase this style’s versatility, with many unique patterns and all kinds of accessories. You may have seen variations of this fun, protective hairstyle on celebrities like Rihanna and Alicia Keys. 

In this post, we reveal 30 trendy Fulani braid styles for you to try and cover how much they cost, how to prepare to get them, and how to maintain them.

What Are Fulani Braids?

what are fulani braids

Fulani braids are braided down the middle and to the sides of your head in thin to medium-sized cornrows. The rest of the hair is braided and typically decorated with beads, shells, jewelry, and more. Fulani braids can be short or long and can be worn up or down (or half-up and half-down!). 

Originally, the braids were wrapped around your hairline from ear to ear, with a single braid down the middle of your head and other braids on the sides. Decorative beads would be placed on the ends of the braids. Although the style originated with the Fula (Fulani people) in West Africa, there are now many modern variations of the style. 

Face-Framing Fulani Braids

These flattering hairstyles place braids strategically around your face to accentuate or soften your features. 

1. Curly Hair with Braids in Front of the Ears

This look pulls a few small cornrow braids forward to frame your face, leaving natural curls in the back. While most of the braids on the scalp go front-to-back, the braids above the ear go back-to-front. 

curly hair with braids in front of the ears
Stylist: Lum Mbincho

2. Straight-Back Cornrows with Over-the-Ears Braids

This fully braided look involves braiding some of the hair above the ear forward to frame the face. The rest of the hair is in long braids that go well past the shoulders. 

straight back cornrows with over the ears braids
Stylist: Teasha Tay

 3. Braided Long Bangs

Instead of pulling the hair straight back from the forehead, this style frames the face with long bang braids. Just like braids anywhere else, bang braids can have curly ends or be spiced up with beads or other decorations. 

braided long bangs
Stylist: Diamond Johnson

Fulani Braids with Curls

These combo Fulani styles pair tight cornrow braids on the crown of the head with bouncy loose curls in the back or on the ends. 

4. Split-Part Fulani Braids with Curls

These medium-sized cornrows are angled on a flattering diagonal part, keeping the hair on the crown tight with flowing tresses in the back. 

split part fulani braids with curls
Stylist: Telitha Collier

5. Geometric Shaped Braids with Curls

This style starts with cornrows in an intricate braided pattern and ends with tight coils at the bottom. A nearly endless variety of geometric designs let you express yourself in a unique look that is all your own. 

geometric shaped braids with curls
Stylist: Asia

6. Curved Design with Curly Hair 

Rather than cornrows with an angular pattern, you can opt for a softer curved design. This particular hair look mixes braids with long strands of curls for a multi-textured feel. 

Fulani Braids with Designs

If you really want your hairdo to turn heads, ask your hairstylist for one of these fun designs.

7. Snake Design

The cornrows in this pattern are neither curved nor straight, rather they snake across your head in an eye-catching wavy design. 

snake design fulani braids
Stylist: Porsche

8. Wavy Asymmetrical Braids 

A type of microbraid style, this design keeps the eye entertained with an intricate pattern of asymmetrical zig zags.

wavy asymmetrical braids
Stylist: Bre

9. Wavy Braids With Styled Edges

These small cornrows on the scalp blend into a mix of tight braids and loose waves in the back, while styled edges frame the face.

wavy braids with styled edges
Stylist: Rokhaya Cisse

10. Double Center Design

This look doubles down on the classic Fulani design by starting with two braids down the center of the scalp. This particular version adds styled edges along the forehead, curved braids along the sides of the head, and a mix of braided and unbraided sections for the rest of the very long hairstyle. 

double center design fulani braids
Stylist: Natalie Bell

11. Zig-Zag Design

This look couples cornrows that go straight back from the face and a few zig-zag braids on the sides for maximum impact. The cornrows continue seamlessly into long Fulani braids for a back-swept long-hair look. 

zig zag fulani braid design
Stylist: Ketia Ellis

12. Horizontal Fulani Braids

This style flips the script with cornrows that go horizontally across the scalp. Styled edges and long braids ending in coils complete the look.

horizontal fulani braids
Stylist: Jas TheFlower

13. Criss-Cross Classic Fulani Braids

These braids cross adjacent rows to create an interesting pattern. This version adds bold hair color to make the look pop even more.

criss cross classic fulani braids
Stylist: Je’Taun

14. Wide Criss-Cross Fulani Braids

These braids end somewhere very different from where they start, creating a flashy geometric look with even more visual impact. 

wide criss cross fulani braids
Stylist: Bella Domina

15. U-Shaped Braid Design

This neat pattern follows the natural curve of the head with a U-shaped design. Styled edges complete the look. 

u shaped braid design
Stylist: Nae Nae

16. Maze Design Braids

Maze braids consist of intricate patterns that can go just about any which way you, or your hairstylist, can imagine. The rest of the hair is left in long braids, making it easy to put up into a braided bun or other updo. 

maze design braids
Stylist: Jalisa Wooley

Heart-Shaped Fulani Braids

Braiding hair into the shape of a heart is a trendy modern take on the classic Fulani style. 

17. Over-the-Ear Heart

This ’do creates a vibrant combination of geometric cornrows up top, heart-shaped braids over the ear, and cascading curls below. 

over the ear heart shape fulani braids
Stylist: Ashlea

18. Heart Parts With Blonde Accents

Dark hair and blonde Fulani braids come together in this look, which is even more eye-catching thanks to heart parts between thick cornrows.

heart parts with blonde accents
Stylist: Tina Brown

19. Interlocking Heart-Shaped Designs

The pattern gets another look thanks to criss-cross braids and interlocking heart-shaped designs. This fun style works for adults and children alike. 

Fulani Braid Ponytails

Fulani braid ponytails are a great, low-maintenance way to keep your look sharp while keeping your hair out of your way.  

20. Thick Fulani Braid Ponytail

Thick cornrows along the scalp meet in the back for this stunning braided ponytail. With a few twists, you can turn a high ponytail into a high bun. 

thick fulani braid ponytail
Stylist: Alyssa Videau

Classic Fulani Braids

Sometimes you just want to stick with the classics. In that case, consider one of these more traditional Fulani styles that embrace a boho vibe. 

21. Middle-Part Fulani Braids

This classic look features a traditional braid down the center of the head, with microbraids running down the sides and back. 

middle part fulani braid
Stylist: Kendra Silmon

22. Cornrow Fulani Braids

This mainstream style features thicker cornrows on the crown of the head and individual braids cascading off the back.

cornrow fulani braids
Stylist: Larisa Holland

23. Straight-Back Fulani Braids

In this classic microbraid look, thin cornrows off the forehead transition into long individual braids in the back. 

straight back fulani braids
Stylist: Eureka

Side-Part Fulani Braids

Rather than using a traditional center part, these styles put their own twist on fulani braids. The side part can be an especially flattering style for certain face shapes. 

24. Large-Split Part Fulani Braids

Thick cornrows run diagonally across the head in this split-part style. Individual braids with straight ends complete the look. 

large split part fulani braids
Stylist: Bella Domina

25. Medium-Split Part Fulani Braids

This look features a diagonal part with medium-sized braids. Stylized edges can help frame the face.

Fulani Braids with Jewelry and Accessories

Just as there is virtually no limit to the number of creative Fulani braid styles, there is virtually no limit to the number of Fulani braid accessories. Beads, cuffs, rings, decorative wire, and colored extensions are only the tip of the iceberg. 

26. Traditional Fulani Braids Wrapped in Decorative Wire

This braided hairstyle features micro braids on a traditional center part, but adds visual interest with pops of bright blue and decorative gold wire wrapped around some strands. 

traditional fulani braids wrapped in decorative wire
Stylist: Jalisa Wooley

27. Fulani Braids with Designs and Lighter Extensions

This look stands out from the rest thanks to its creative geometric design and hair extensions in a contrasting color. Gently styled edges can soften the look around the face. 

fulani braids with designs and lighter extensions
Stylist: Edward Mathis

28. Fulani Braids with Rings

We’ve seen that the ends of Fulani braids can be adorned with beads, clips, and cuffs, but some styles feature accessories elsewhere on the hair. This look weaves small rings throughout the braid pattern and even on the edges of the hairline.

fulani braids with rings
Stylist: Bre Smith

29. Fulani Braids with Beads

A more traditional Fulani braid style features beads on the ends of the braids. This version kicks it up a notch by adding cuffs and rings in the cornrows. 

fulani braids with beads
Stylist: Ashlea

30. Straight-Back Cornrows with Beads

A look that works both on long hair and short hair, this classic style features cornrows from a center part and braids with beads on the ends.  

straight back cornrows with beads
Stylist: Ashlea

Are Fulani Braids the Same Thing as Tribal Braids?

Fulani braids are one version of tribal braids. Here we take a deeper look at what makes each type different.

The broad category of tribal braids includes various styles, including Fulani braids, box braids, Ghana braids, and so on. Tribal braiding typically refers to hairstyles of African descent, with some tracing back thousands of years. Nowadays, tribal braids is a general term that refers to braids organized into patterns or designs, often with decorative touches. 

These braids are one specific type of tribal braid style. They involve making thin to medium-sized cornrows or braids close to the scalp, typically with one braid in the middle of your head and the rest to the sides, although modern variations may differ. These braids are known for their intricate and decorative designs including beads, shells, cuffs, and more.

How to Prepare for Getting Fulani Braids

Fulani braids can take four to eight hours to complete, so you’ll want to come to your appointment prepared as best you can. Show up to the salon with your hair clean, dried, blown out straight, and without any products in it.

How Much Do Fulani Braids Cost?

Fulani braids typically range from $120 to $350. The exact cost for you will depend on a wide range of factors, including the hairstylists’ level, the size of the braids, your current hair length, and where you’re located.

How to Maintain Fulani Braids

To keep your hair healthy and looking good, proper maintenance is key. Typically, Fulani braids last about one to two months.

The following tips can help keep you maintain your braids: 

  • Wash your hair every three to four weeks. Follow up with conditioner to keep your braids shiny and healthy. A good hair oil can also help retain moisture and prevent frizzing.
  • Avoid putting hair up too often. You don’t want to put excessive pressure on your scalp or your natural hair.
  • Keep your scalp moisturized. A healthy scalp is where your hairstyle begins. Proper hydration with moisturizing products can help stave off dryness, itchiness, and dandruff.
  • Go in for routine trims to protect from shedding or breakage when you switch styles. This is especially important if you’re wearing protective styles to grow or retain length. Trim frequency depends on your hair, but a good guideline is every three to four months for natural hair or every six to eight weeks if you have a chemical relaxer. 

Ready to Get Fulani Braids?

Fulani braids are a unique style with deep roots in African culture and plenty of modern variations. The best part is that you can choose a look that works best for your face shape, your lifestyle, and your personal style. Whether you’ve chosen a look from the list above, or want a professional stylist to help you decide, you can book your next braiding appointment through StyleSeat.