Modern stitch braids originated from cornrowing, a hair braiding technique that dates as far back as 3000 B.C. Since then, cornrowing has led to other braiding techniques, including Fulani braids and stitch braids.

There are many stitch braids to try out, each one with their own flair and style. We’ll cover different types of stitch braid hairstyles and how you can make them your own. Once you find the stitch braid style you love, make sure to book an appointment with a braider near you! 

What are stitch braids?

Stitch braids involve cornrows of various sizes in your natural hair using a “stitch in” braiding technique that threads in additional hair. With stitch braids, you should see stitch-like partings and clean lines throughout. 

Styling your hair into stitch braids can help protect and support your natural hair, promoting hair strength and making it less prone to breakage.  

How to do stitch braids

Stitch braids can be done with two different methods: rubber band and non-rubber band.

  • Rubber band method: The hair is parted into sections and held together with rubber bands before they’re braided into cornrows. 
  • Non-rubber band method: Instead of rubber bands, styling gel and fingers are used to hold the sections together. 

How much do stitch braids cost?

The average cost of stitch braids is $86, ranging from $75 to $115, depending on the style and where you get them. 

Disclaimer: This cost is the result of averaging available proprietary data from several states. For more accurate costs, it’s best to consult your braider on their pricing. 

How to maintain stitch braids

Once you have stitch braids installed, it’s important to take care of both your braids and your natural hair. Try these tips when maintaining your new set of stitch braids and make them last longer

  • Shampooing: Dip either a cotton ball or piece of cloth into your shampoo of choice and gently rub it directly on your scalp. You can clean up the shampoo by soaking a new cotton ball or cloth in warm water and rub it where you applied shampoo on your scalp.  
  • Conditioning: Use the same technique as shampooing, but instead of your scalp, apply conditioner on the hair roots. 
  • Drying: Let your hair air dry. Apply a lightweight oil, like a vitamin E oil, onto your hair roots and scalp. 
  • Moisturizing: Gently rub a leave-in moisturizer on your braids to keep your natural hair shafts moisturized. 
  • Sleeping: To keep your stitch braids looking fresh, wear a silk bonnet or scarf at night. 

14 types of stitch braids 

Ready to see all the kinds of stitch braids you can try out with your hair? Scroll through some of our favorite styles below! 

Small stitch braids

small stitch braids
Braids by Mytribe

Stitch braids can come in any size, from jumbo braids to thin and narrow. With smaller stitch braids, you can really see the carved-out pattern of the stitch braids on your head. 

Jumbo stitch braids 

Jumbo-sized stitch braids can be used for a number of stitched looks. You can choose to just stick with jumbo stitch braids, or use them to balance micro braids. It’s important to know that jumbo braids don’t last as long as slimmer braid sizes due to the size of their sections. 

Stitch braids with color

Want to switch it up with some color? Stitch braids are the perfect way to try out any hair color you desire! Choose one or multiple shades to add into your braids — the options are endless. 

Criss-cross stitch braids

criss-cross stitch braids

Not only can stitch braids come in different sizes, but also various complex patterns and designs. These stitch braids use one braid size that overlaps one another, revealing a criss-cross pattern as the result. 

Stitch braids with a sew-in

stitch braids with a sew-in 

With stitch braids, you can choose not to have the braids go all the way down the ends of your hair. Instead, you can have some bouncy curls with the help of hair extensions. You can put your hair up into a ponytail, bun, or wear it loose.  

Stitch braids to a low bun

stitch braids into a low bun
Jamila Turner

If you want the fishbone pattern of the stitch braids to really stand out, try them with a low bun. Not only is this an elegant look, but it helps keep your hair out of your face if you’re a person on the go. 

Stitch braids with a high pony

For a glamorous look, have your braider do thicker stitch braids that are braided in an upward direction. You can then opt to have the rest of the hair in the ponytail braided into box braids, or leave the weave loose. By keeping it loose, you’ll have more opportunities to style however your heart desires. A cool twist on this look is doing a half-up half-down high ponytail.

Stitch braids with hairpieces

Want to glitz out your hair a bit more? Embellish your braids with simple and dainty hairpieces. This will add a unique twist to your braids — the only thing you’ll need to decide is if you’re more of a silver or gold kind of person! 

Spiral and swerve stitch braids

spiral and swerve stitch braids into a ponytail 

While we love the simple straight-back stitch braids, why not make your head a canvas and your braids the paint? Express yourself by adding a combination of swerve and spiral stitch braids. 

Long stitch braids

If you’re looking for an extra-long look, go for full-length stitch braids. Try jumbo braids for the main braids on the top of your scalp. On the sides, you can either do smaller braids that frame your face or add a unique pattern. 

Double helix pattern

double helix patterned stitch braids
Christina Jones

Here’s another fun twist to add to your stitch braids. Your braider will section the hair at the front and braid it to overlap, creating a double helix pattern. The remaining hair is braided to the ends, creating a chic but playful look. 

Stitched halo braid 

You’ll never need to worry about dropping your crown with a stitched halo braid. This hairstyle uses a stitched design on the top of your head that flows into a jumbo braid circling around your head. It’s a beautiful way to show off your stitched braid pattern while keeping your hair out of your face. 

Diagonal stitch braids

diagonal stitch braids on a little girl
Shaney Williams

Like to keep your stitch braids simple but ready for a little change-up? Instead of having your stitch braids go straight down, have your hair braided in diagonal lines. The braids will fall down onto your neck, and can either be braided all the way down or put into buns — up to your preference! 

Heart-shaped stitch braids

Show off your love for stitch braids by adding a heart-shaped design to your look. For this hairstyle, the hair is woven into braids overlaying one another just above the ears, which will give you that distinct heart shape. For the rest of the hair, you can either braid it straight back, or braid it diagonally to showcase the unique design. 

Stitch braids FAQ

Below are commonly asked questions about stitch braids.  

How long do stitch braids last? 

The greatest benefit to stitch braids is that they typically last longer than other braided hairstyles. With proper care, your stitch braids should last between four and eight weeks. 

Are stitch braids the same as cornrows?

Stitch braids and traditional cornrows are often confused with each other because of their similarities in appearance. The key difference is in the finger technique used to create the braids. With stitch braids, the braider will typically use the nail on their pinky finger to create the stitching and clean lines. 

The braider will usually need to use more gel product to keep the stitches looking tight. For cornrows, the braider will just use their middle and index finger to achieve regular feed-in braids with a bit of gel.