40 Braided Natural Hairstyles without Weave You Have to See to Believe

Is it good to braid your natural hair?

Braids are an excellent low manipulation style for natural hair. If you opt to tuck the ends away, so they are not left loose or exposed, then the oldest and most fragile part of your hair would be protected as well, which would also make braids great for length retention.

Should you braid natural hair wet or dry?

Starting on wet hair delivers far more definition and hold, if you’re ultimately doing a braid out where the braids will be unraveled right away. Otherwise, braids are best done on clean, dry, detangled, stretched and moisturized natural hair. It’s easier to work with and results in a much smoother, elongated look. 

What do you put on natural hair before braiding it?

While starting with freshly washed hair’s a given, many don’t realize the importance of properly moisturizing and prepping their hair before braiding. Because Black hair is already naturally on the dry side, a good deep conditioning treatment beforehand can help to provide you with long-lasting hydration and much-needed protection against breakage.

Also, be sure to apply heat protectant if you plan on blow drying to stretch your natural hair. Lastly, using a nourishing twisting cream as you’re braiding will help to lock in much-needed moisture for a number of days.

40 Braided Natural Hairstyles (Cute, Easy and No Extensions Needed)

Whether you want to give your hair a break from added extensions, or you’re just in the mood to work with what you have, you’ve come to the right place. Because no weave is needed for any of these beautiful, braided natural hairstyles.

Then, when you’re ready to switch things up, and go back to braids with weave, have no fear. We’ve got you covered there too with a plenty of protective styles to suit your preferences.

1. Halo Braid with Gold Cord and Cuffs

Halo braid hairstyle with cuffs on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @syeda_bombom

Created with one continuous cornrow braided around your entire head, or two off-center braids bobby pinned at the back, this halo hairstyle, finished with gold cord and cuffs, lends itself to a fabulous boho or festive look.

Part of the appeal is in its lack of perfection, so be sure to braid your hair loosely, or fluff it out afterward to achieve that effect.

2. Straight-Back Flat Twists in a Low Bun

Low bun flat twists hairstyle without weave on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @brianalynee

You seriously can’t go wrong with a straight-back hairstyle. Parted on an angle, these flat twists are proof that the name doesn’t have to be taken so literally.

And the best part is, when you’re done braiding, you can wrap the loose ends into a low bun to turn a simple, chic look into a protective style.

3. Pop Smoke-Inspired Braids with Beads

Beaded short cornrows without extensions on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @asianxeyes

Woo Baby! These short cornrows adorned with tribal beads are reminiscent of pop smoke braids, and needless to say, they’re banging.

4. Two Strand Twists Updo with Bangs

Two strand twists updo hairstyle with bangs on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @jd_winters

Two strand twists are probably the easiest low manipulation look to install on natural hair. And they can be styled an endless number of ways, particularly the smaller they are in size.

These were gathered into a gorgeous ponytail updo, with a few intentionally left out for bangs. Easy and elegant, it’s the ideal date night hairdo.

5. Side Swept Partial Flat Twist Out

Black woman with natural hair wearing flat twist out hairstyle with side-swept flat twists
IG: @curliecrys

To copy this lovely look, start on wet natural hair and make a deep part on the right side. Create flat twists around your entire head, braiding them all to the left.

Once dry, unravel all except for the two below the part to reveal a sleek side-swept flat twist out.

6. Two Strand and Flat Twists on a TWA

Black woman with short natural hair wearing two strand and flat twists on her TWA
Pinterest

A cute combo of two strand and flat twists, this look is proof that it’s possible to achieve a chic braided style on short natural hair.

7. Two Low Buns with Cornrows and Beads

Two low buns and cornrows with beads hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @curlfriendari

Take your buns from basic to booyah by adding two cornrows with beads in the front.

8. Beaded Mini Twists on Short Bob

Short two strand twists bob hairstyle with beads on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @jd_winters

This mini twisted bob is serving maximum style. Clean, dry, stretched, detangled and moisturized hair lay the perfect foundation for this lovely look.

Even if your natural hair isn’t in a blunt cut, the ends can be bent to a uniform length as you’re adding the beads to give that illusion.

9. Three Accessorized Cornrows

Black woman with natural hair wearing three cornrows hairstyle with safety pins and no extensions
IG: @thelolawilliams

It’s rare to see safety pins used as an accessory, but somehow they work on this cute cornrowed hairstyle. A “safer” choice would be to replace them with rings, cuffs, or other jewelry, or just leave them out completely for a still charming look.

10. Tribal Braided Bob with Beads

Tribal braided bob without extensions on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @dhatgirlbecca

This tribal braided design looks like it would challenge your DIY skills, but it’s actually not that difficult. And once the front half is complete, all you have to do is box braid the back and two strand twists the ends.

11. Mini Two Strand Twists

Two strand twists hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @syeda_bombom

This look took four and a half hours. The time to install your two strand twists will vary, of course, depending on the length of your hair. But given the subsequent styling options, it should be well worth the effort.

12. Multi-Sized Straight-Back Cornrows

Black woman with natural hair wearing multi-sized straight back cornrows
IG: @syeda_bombom

Created using alternating size cornrows on wet hair, this straight-back style is definitely sexy. But starting on dry, stretched, detangled natural hair will help make the parting easier and overall results smoother.

13. Flat Twists with Swoop and Side Bun

Flat twists hairstyle with swoop and side bangs on natural hair without extensions
IG: @queenteshna

The variations on flat twist hairstyles with buns are truly endless. This version features a sweet swoop and side bun you’ll look forward to wearing on your next wash day.

Check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions:

14. Mini Two Strand Twists in Space Buns

Micro twists in space buns hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @syeda_bombom

Look like the star that you are, rocking these must-try mini twists up in space buns.

15. Mini Box Braids in Space Buns

Mini box braids in space buns hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @syeda_bombom

Compared to the previous look, box braids tend to lay flatter and last longer than mini twists, but you really can’t go wrong no matter which approach you choose.

16. Flat Twists with Beads

Black woman wearing flat twists with beads on her natural hair without weave
IG: @limitlessbloom

Beads are a beautiful way to add flair to your flat twist hairstyles. Seriously, between the fifty-eleven design possibilities and accessories, it’s virtually impossible for this look to fall flat.

17. Long Side-Swept Box Braids with Beads

Side-swept beaded box braids without extensions on Black woman with long natural hair
IG: @razorempress

Back with beads in yet another look, they’re the perfect finishing touch on long box braids that could use a little boost.

18. Half Cornrows Half Box Braids

Black woman with natural hair wearing half cornrows half box braids hairstyle without weave
IG: @ravishing_tresses

Look, we love a style that can go the distance. So although this cornrowed combo is super cute as is, when the box braids get rough, the back can be unraveled to reveal a banging braid out.

19. Curly Blue Frohawk with Cornrows

Curly blue frohawk hairstyle on natural hair without weave
IG: @stacysinterlude

Short hair don’t care. This natural beauty is proof that pieces and ponytails aren’t needed. Looking beautiful in blue, you can get a similar temporary color using hair wax and avoid the blues from permanently coloring your hair.

20. Flat Twist and Cornrow Combo with Beads

Flat twists and cornrows hairstyle without weave on Black woman with natural hair

Two large flat twists, flanked by two small cornrows? It’s hard to believe that this beautiful beaded style is the result of just four braids.

21. Messy Space Buns Box Braids with Bangs

Black woman with natural hair wearing box braids without weave up in messy space buns
IG: @lavishlybritt

Can’t decide between mini twists and mini braids? Well, this style gives you the best of both worlds. Each section is braided halfway, so the roots stay secure, then the rest is twisted for that beachy, boho vibe.

22. Half-Up Half-Down Bantu Knots and Cornrows

Black woman with natural hair wearing half-up half-down hairstyle with cornrows and bantu knots
IG: @neffyfrofro

This creative 90’s-inspired hairstyle with pigtails, bantu knots and cornrows might be a throwback, but it’s just as appealing today.

23. Flat Twisted Halo Updo with Middle Twist

Halo braid flat twist hairstyle with middle twist and gold cuffs on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @mynaturalsistas

Remix your boho chic halo braid by opting for flat twists instead of cornrows, and adding a third one down the center. Set the style off with gold cuffs. It’s an easy way to switch up a classic natural look.

24. Short Side Swept Flat-Twisted Bob

Black woman wearing a flat twisted bob hairstyle with gold cuffs on her short natural hair
IG: @mynaturalsistas

This side-swept bob created on short natural hair, is a gorgeous gold-cuffed combo of two strand and flat twists.

25. Half Cornrows Half Two Strand Twists

Half cornrows half two strand twists hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @hairhealthhumanity

As far as we’re concerned, this half cornrows, half two strand twists hairstyle, is all good.

26. Mini Box Braided Bob with Middle Part

Black woman with natural hair wearing a short box braided bob without extensions
IG: @brianalynee

How cute is this mini box braided bob? And it’s hands down one of the easiest styles to DIY.

Just be sure to use edge control at the roots to keep them nice and neat. Then, follow with a leave-in conditioner and twisting cream so your mane will be moisturized, not to mention laid, and last a good two to three weeks.

27. Braided Flat Twists Updo

Black woman wearing a flat twist updo hairstyle without weave on natural hair
IG: @neffyfrofro
Top view of a flat twist updo hairstyle without weave on natural hair
IG: @neffyfrofro
Black view of a flat twist updo hairstyle without weave on natural hair
IG: @neffyfro

This flat-twisted updo is too fire not to capture from every angle. Sexy, sophisticated and simpler to recreate than it looks. And the best part is, no weave is needed.

Check out the YouTube tutorial below for step-by-step instructions.

28. Cornrowed French Roll Frohawk

Black woman with natural hair wearing a cornrowed French roll frohawk

Want a natural updo that can’t be outdone? Edge meets elegance, this cornrowed French roll frohawk is the one.

29. Two Strand Twists in High Bun with Bangs

Two strand twists hairstyle in a high bun with bangs on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @curldaze

When in doubt, red lipstick and a bun can’t be beaten.

30. Mahogany Two Strand Twisted Bob

Mahogany two strand twists bob hairstyle on a Black woman with short natural hair
IG: @ravishing_tresses

This mahogany color is truly a game changer. Or should we say mane changer? Playing around with temporary hair color can take your two strand twists up a notch without the commitment or potential damage.

31. Two Strand and Flat Twists Updo

Flat twists and two strand twists updo hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @game_of_fros

With layers of flat twists coming together in the front, this hairstyle puts the bang in banging.

32. Straight-Back Flat Twists in Low Bun

Flat twists into a low bun on a Black woman with 4C natural hair
IG: @thejennjackson

If you can create one flat twist, seven should be no problem. Then, wrap them all into a bun at the base of the braids. Ease meets elegance, this is truly the perfect protective style.

33. Twisted High Bun

Twisted high bun hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @brianalynee

Start by slicking your hair up into a high afro puff. Then, divide said puff into 3-5 sections, two strand twisting each one. Keep in mind, that the chunkier they are, the more volume your final look will have. Lastly, freestyle pin them into place, creating a bun in the process.

If you want to get fancy, you can create two flat twists going up the back first, but this look is cute and classy as is.

34. Braided Bantu Knots with Cornrows

Braided bantu knots hairstyle with cornrows on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @sabrinasbeauty

If you can create a bun, then these bantu knots should be no problem. After braiding each section of hair, wrap it around itself and secure it at the base to protect the ends.

The cornrowed accent braids are a bold move, if you really want to challenge yourself, but your bantu knots would be just as beautiful without them.

35. Short Chestnut Box Braids with Beads

Chestnut colored box braids with beads on a Black woman with short natural hair
IG: @euniceasiedu

Beads are having a moment and we’re here for it. Sure, they can make styling your box braids a bit more challenging, but what they lack in flexibility, they make up for it in fashion.

36. Large Box Braids High Bun with Cornrows

Two cornrows hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @euniceasiedu

Part your hair on your favorite side (every naturalista has a preference) and cornrow two braids toward the back of your head. Instead of leaving the ends to dangle, wrap them into a small bun to create a pretty, protective style in minutes.

37. Flat Twists in a High Bun with Bangs

Black woman with natural hair wearing flat twists in a high bun with two strand twisted bangs
IG: @brianalynee

Two strand and flat twists come together in a look that can’t be beaten. High bun and bangs for the win!

38. Straight-Back and Sideways Flat-Twisted Bun

Straight-back and sideways flat twists bun protective hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @jd_winters
Side view of straight-back and sideways flat twists bun protective hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @jd_winters
Back view of straight-back and sideways flat twists bun protective hairstyle on Black woman with natural hair
IG: @jd_winters

If your goal’s to end up with your hair in a low bun, you can part and flat twist your hair any number of ways. No matter how you ultimately get there, this is indeed the perfect protective style.

39. Cornrow Lob with Beads

Cornrowed lob hairstyle with beads on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @creeative91

It’s great if you have the length to pull of this look, but it’s not necessary. The more important thing to pay attention to is how you part your hair, since the design can make or break your style.

40. Multi-Braid Two Strand Twists

Black woman with natural hair wearing criss-cross cornrows and two strand twists hairstyle
IG: @spritzhairstudio

A beautiful, braided combo of criss-cross cornrows, two strand and flat twists, this look is literally everything!

As you can see by creativity and versatility of these braided natural hairstyles, clearly we’re out here working our Black Girl Magic on our manes.