The versatility and longevity of braided hairstyles is why so many people enjoy wearing them. Stylists can tailor them to fit any texture, length, or occasion, so it’s no surprise we’re already starting to see braided hairstyle trends pop up in 2023.
Here are braided hairstyles that will be popular this year, according to some of our top-rated professionals — from knotless braids that are miniature in size but grand in style to accessorized feed-in braids for women to men’s cornrows with tribal designs that are works of art.
Save these popular braid hairstyles to your phone so you can share them with your stylist when booking your next appointment on StyleSeat.
1. Throwback microbraids
Actress and singer Brandy introduced a generation to microbraids, making them a coveted hairstyle in the ‘90s. Now, they’re coming back with a vengeance. Box braids reigned supreme the last few years, but microbraids are giving them a run for their money in 2023.
These braids take a while to do, so they’re a labor of love, but they offer more movement than other types of braids. If you’re not ready to commit to hours in the braiding chair, ask for mixed-size braids, using microbraids to frame your face.
2. Long knotless braids using human hair extensions
Celebrity stylist Erinn Courtney says, “The simple fact that we are doing knotless braids is an evolution from box braids.” This style has a sleeker finish that is now a go-to for many of her clients, including singer-songwriters Willow Smith and Goapele.
“Before 2010, it was unpopular and uncommon to have box braids without the thick, knotted top of the braid,” Courtney explains. “Now that we’ve incorporated knotless braids, it’s more chic, and healthier for the hair not to be weighed down around the root of the hair as it’s growing out.”
Stylist and textured hair expert Kamara Brown agrees, adding that “Zoe Kravitz braids” are her ultimate favorite braided hairstyle to do, incorporating human hair extensions. “Feeding in the extensions,” she says, “allows for complete movement, flexibility, and less tension.” Brown also notes that it “looks super cute” over time once the braids are more lived-in, “making it the most low-maintenance style.”
3. Textured and decorated butterfly locs
While locs have a rich history, the hairstyle has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. But because locs can take years to fully mature, butterfly locs are a great alternative, giving you a soft, distressed style straight out of the salon.
Butterfly locs are soft loc extensions, so it’s a great way to test out a new hair length or color. Butterfly locs also work well for people who enjoy decorating their hair with beads, charms, or rings. In 2023, we’re seeing butterfly locs styled in many ways, from sky-high pineapples to long flowing tresses.
4. Feed-in braids adorned with accessories
Atlanta-based hairstylist Jazitup has built a massive following from her intricate braided hairstyles — there is no style she can’t slay! She describes feed-in braids as an “updated version of cornrows done with hair extensions.” Jaz credits this style’s transformation over the years to braid pros like herself making them look more natural, with the addition of hair barely visible. “What makes it stand out are the stitch-like parts of perfection,” she says.
One major tip Courtney shares when choosing a braided hairstyle trend like feed-in braids is to consider the silhouette and how it would look on you. “Someone with damaged edges may not want to wear styles that expose the edges or cause further damage,” she explains.
5. Chic box braid bob
When you want to go short, there’s nothing like a classic bob. A box braid bob gives you room to play around with charms or beads to make this chic style feel more casual. You can also pull face-framing pieces and experiment with different bob styles.
A bob is perfect for someone who wants to test out short hair without committing to a shorter cut like a pixie cut. The great thing about bobs is that they range in length, so you can try out a less drastic shoulder length before committing to the classic chin-length bob.
6. Men’s cornrows with tribal designs
Brown admits that it’s been fun for her to watch men play around with different protective braided hairstyle trends. “More men have been ditching the traditional fade and opting to grow out their hair for a more versatile look,” she says.
However, Courtney points out that intricate cornrow styles “have always been a thing in Black culture,” recalling basketball legend Allen Iverson’s iconic cornrows. Instead of the traditional straight-back aesthetic, more people are confidently rocking styles that feature tribal designs, zig-zag-like patterns, and more. “[They] are finding more creative ways to express themselves through style,” says Courtney.
7. Goddess and other curly braids
Especially during warmer weather, who doesn’t love a loose curl to add extra movement to your locs? That’s why goddess braids and other curly braid styles will continue to be popular braids in 2023.
Whether you just curl your ends, ask to leave parts of your extensions curly and unbraided, or curl the entire length of your braids, these styles give you the perfect carefree, beachy vibe for any occasion.
8. Ornate braided updos
Jaz tells us that she has many clients who prefer their hair not to touch their neck, whether for professional or personal reasons. And thanks to the feed-in technique, this allows her to effortlessly add hair extensions and create a standout look that satisfies her clients.
Goddess braids with ponytails that cascade down and away from the body, as well as bold top knots and feed-in braids, are among Jaz’s most popular braided updos. The possibilities are truly endless here. And Courtney calls to our attention that fun colors can also be added to complement the overall aesthetic.
9. Elegant half-braided hairstyles
The duality of cornrows and hairstyling is what sets off this braided hairstyle trend, according to Jaz. She says, “The braids give it pizazz, whether they’re in the front, top, sides, or back. The hairstyling gives it versatility, whether it’s curls, straight, a ponytail, or a bun.”
Brown adds that with half-braided hairstyles, you can wear them in any season and for special occasions such as weddings. Finding a beauty professional who is skilled at both braiding and traditional styling is key to achieving a braided hairstyle trend that works for you. Courtney highly recommends having handy visual inspiration to help your stylist create the desired look.
10. Warm-toned braid extensions
When it comes to popular braid colors, warm tones are it this year (thanks, Ice Spice!). If you’re not ready to commit to the trendy gingery braids, try out a caramel or warm-toned blonde first to dip your toes in.
You can also opt for braid highlights, giving your hair some extra dimension without committing to one color. If you’re not sure whether warm braids will complement your skin tone, try our hair dye quiz to discover other colors to test out.
Are you ready to book your braid appointment to test out this year’s trends? There are endless possibilities to make braids your own, so browse StyleSeat today, whether you’re looking for the most popular braids to try in 2023 or setting the trends for 2024