40 Stunning Tribal Braids Hairstyles That are Sure to Turn Heads

What is considered tribal braids?

There are an estimated 3,000 plus tribes throughout Africa. And although every region and ethnic group has its own braiding style unique to them, “tribal braids” has become kind of a catch-all term for any of the braided hairstyles that could be found across the continent. One of the most popular today are Fulani braids which originated among the Fulani people in the Sahel region and West Africa.

While the natural hair movement sparked this revival of traditional African hairstyles, the looks have evolved. Modern braiders still draw inspiration from these tribes, but they couple that with ingenuity to come up with their own interpretation of the looks. And we have to say, we’re absolutely blown away by some of the designs.

40 Tribal Braids Hairstyles You Just Have to Try

If you’re looking for cornrowed hairstyles, or just protective styles that pay homage to our heritage, then tribal braids are for you.

We’ve taken the liberty of curating a collection of some of the most creative looks below to celebrate the culture, in addition to our posts on other tribal-inspired hairstyles like bantu knots and dreadlocks. Hopefully, you and the ancestors will be pleased.

1. Tribal Braids Ponytail with Blonde Highlights

Tribal braids ponytail with blonde highlights worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

From the color to the creative design, this tribal braided ponytail is literally perfection.

2. Ghana Braids High Bun

Ghana braids high bun protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @sincerelyoghosa

Ghana braids directed toward the center of your head tend to limit your styling options to a ponytail or bun. But what more do you really need when they look this good? 

3. Tribal Braids High Bun

Tribal braids high bun worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

The tribe has spoken. This exquisite combo of cornrows and box braids gathered into a high bun simply cannot be outdone.

4. Blonde Goddess Tribal Braids

Long blonde goddess tribal braids hairstyle

Looking every bit the blonde goddess, these tribal braids are undeniably gorgeous.

5. Long Platinum Blonde Fulani Braids

Long platinum blonde Fulani braids worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair

6. Short Platinum Fulani Braids Bob with Beads

In a twist on the more traditional tribal braided looks, platinum blonde is a guaranteed head-turner. Both edgy and exquisite, the hard part will be deciding whether you want to go for a long lush look or short chic bob.

Short platinum blonde Fulani braids with beads worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @braidsbychacha

7. Tribal Braids Lob with Beads

Black woman wearing a tribal braids lob with beads

On the longer side, this tribal braids lob with beads is lovely.

8. Tribal Braids Bob without Extensions

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. And the best part is, no extensions were needed.

9. Ghana Braids in Space Buns

Ghana braids in space buns worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

Complete with charms, cuffs and cord, this tribal take on space buns is out of this world.

10. Half-Up Half-Down Tribal Stitch Braids

Half-up half-down stitch cornrows with cowrie shells worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @heycurlie IG: @touchedbytb_

This half-up half-down cornrow hairstyle with cowrie shells is a mane masterpiece.

11. Fulani Braids Low Side Ponytail

Black woman wearing a Fulani tribal braids hairstyle in a low side ponytail as a protective style for her natural hair
IG: @freshlengths

Flexible enough to be styled in a sexy, side-swept low ponytail or a classic high bun, Fulani braids are hands down, a must-do hairdo.

12. Fulani Braids High Bun

Black woman wearing a Fulani tribal braids hairstyle in a high bun as a protective style for her natural hair
IG: @freshlengths

13. Small Feed-In Cornrows in Boho Braided Bun

Black woman wearing a zig-zag cornrows hairstyle in high braided boho bun
Pinterest

A classic style, with a tribal twist, this braided bun, with a zig-zag cornrowed crown is absolutely amazing. 

14. Zig-Zag Fulani Braids

Zig-Zag Fulani tribal braids hairstyle with blonde highlights

A slight departure from the typical pattern, the zig-zag appeal also applies to these fab Fulani braids.

15. Fulani Braids with Curly Ends

Black woman wearing Fulani braids hairstyle with curly ends
IG: @tresses_africaine

Whether you want to wear your Fulani braids free and flowing, or pull them up into two pigtails like below, either way is equally adorable thanks to these cute, curly ends.

16. Fulani Braids with Curls in Two Pigtails

Black woman wearing Fulani braids hairstyle with curls up in two pigtails

17. Grey Fulani Braids Bob with Beads

Short grey Fulani braids with beads worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
Pinterest

We seriously can’t get enough of these short tribal hairstyles. If you adore cornrowed bobs with colors, beads and cuffs as much as we do, then you’ve found your people.

18. Auburn Fulani Braids Bob with Beads

Short tribal cornrows bob with beads worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
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19. Tribal Braids Bob with Cuffs

Short tribal cornrows bob with gold cuffs worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

20. Wavy Tribal Braids Lob with Spiral Curls

Wavy tribal braids lob hairstyle with spiral curls worn by a Black woman as a protective style
IG: @zumbahairbeauty

Beyond the flawless wavy braids, spiral curls are a welcome change from the typical straight tribal styles.

21. Tribal Braids with Triangle Parts

Tribal braids hairstyle with triangle parts worn by a Black woman
IG: @zumbahairbeauty

Triangle parts are an easy way to add a touch of visual interest to your tribal braids.

22. Curved Tribal Braids Ponytail

Curved tribal braids ponytail hairstyle worn by a Black woman
IG: @zumbahairbeauty

Clearly fit for a queen, ponytail hairstyles don’t come more regal than these tribal braided looks, equally gorgeous with or without beads.

23. Slanted Shuku Braided High Ponytail with Beads

Shuku braids ponytail with beads worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

24. Straight Shuku Braided High Ponytail with Beads

Straight Shuku braids ponytail with beads worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair

25. Wavy Cornrows Lob

Wavy tribal cornrow lob hairstyle worn by a Black woman as a protective style

It’s no secret that we love a good cornrowed lob. Needless to say, we’re head over heels for this wavy tribal hairstyle.

26. Half-Up Half-Down Fulani Braids Ponytail

Half-up half-down Fulani braids ponytail hairstyle worn by a Black woman

A hint of color takes this Fulani braids half-up half-down hairstyle to a whole other level.

27. Zig-Zag Cornrows into Space Buns

Chunky zig-zag cornrows in space buns worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @ulovemegz

Sis looks like a star in this zig-zag space buns style. And we are here for all of the twists and turns on the traditional.

28. Fulani Tribal Braids in a Low Side Ponytail

Black woman wearing a Fulani tribal braids hairstyle in a low side ponytail with
IG: @tresses_africaine

While you might not see an across-the-forehead-design that frequently, you can pretty much count on any Fulani-inspired cornrows to be exceptionally braided and exquisite looking.

29. Half-Up Pink Ombre Tribal Braids with Bangs

Half-up half-down pink ombre tribal braids hairstyle with beaded bangs worn by a Black woman
IG: @zumbahairbeauty

No color is off limits with these looks. Adding bright pink hair is a refreshingly bold but atypical approach to tribal braids, while dark blue, shown below, works well if you prefer to stay on the more subtle side.

30. Dark Blue Tribal Braids Ponytail with Beads

Dark blue tribal braids ponytail with beads worn by a Black woman
IG: @zumbahairbeauty @blaqsgud

31. Woven Layered Tribal Braids

Woven tribal braids worn as a protective style on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

Deceptively simple, the attention to detail in this sophisticated tribal design is absolutely stunning.

32. Long Tribal Cornrows with Beads and Bantu Knots

Black woman wearing long tribal braids with wooden beads in a half-up half-down bantu knot hairstyle
IG: @lelliessantiago

Beyond the length and beads, tribal cornrows get added flair by opting for bantu knots instead of a bun, in this head-turning half-up half-down hairstyle.

33. Fulani Braids with Twisted High Side Ponytail

Black woman wearing Fulani braids in a twisted high side ponytail

A small section of braids are loosely used to secure the base of this ponytail for an effortlessly chic look.

34. Long Fulani Braids Partially Pulled Back

Black woman wearing long tribal Fulani braids in a partially pulled back hairstyle

A single braid on each side is pulled back and pinned together to create this simple, but sexy style.

35. Long Honey Blonde Fulani Braids

Long honey blonde Fulani braids worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @vanessamatsena

From Fulani to lemonade braids, honey blonde is clearly a hit in long tribal hairstyles.

36. Thigh Length Ombre Lemonade Braids

Black woman wearing thigh length ombre lemonade braids
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37. Waist Length Ginger Fulani Braids

Waist length ginger Fulani braids worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
@kersti.pitre

Fierce and fiery, these waist length ginger Fulani braids are lit.

38. Thigh Length Auburn Tribal Braids

Black woman wearing thigh length auburn tribal braids hairstyle with middle part

A little longer and slightly lighter than the previous look, not to mention it’s missing a middle part, these auburn tribal braids are proof of how seemingly minor choices can drastically set two styles apart.

39. Small Purple Cornrows into Ghana Braids

Small purple cornrows woven into Ghana braids as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair
IG: @mizkimoraprecious

Cornrows are combined into side-swept purple Ghana braids to create this surprisingly striking look.

40. Blue and Purple Tribal Braids Bun

Blue and purple tribal braids worn as a protective hairstyle on a Black woman with natural hair

You have to be pretty confident to rock blue and purple ombre tribal braids, but sis is slaying this style effortlessly.

Given all of their history, as well as artistry, tribal braids hairstyles are clearly here to stay. They’re the ideal way to literally and figuratively go back to your roots.

If you’re down to see even more braided hairstyles with beads, stick around and click around.