56 Tribal Braids Hairstyles: An Everlasting Braiding Custom

Tribal Braids are a cultural heritage of the Africans. It has been in practice for roughly 5000 years now. And even after all this time, tribal braids are still considered to be fashion statements and a tribute to the legacy of generations of Black women.

We are here today to converse about tribal braids’ hairstyles. It is a custom, you as a Black woman, to embrace and bask in. Of course, if you are not Black, this article will teach you everything you need to know about this custom. Either way, learning about and experimenting with tribal braids, in our opinion, is always a win-win situation.

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What Are Tribal Braids?

To put it simply, tribal braids are a type of protective hairstyle that consists of braiding your hair in different designs from the frontal region all the way down the length of the hair, i.e., cornrows in various designs.

However, due to the availability of faux hair or hair extensions, tribal braid hairstyles can be jazzed up by weaving or crocheting in synthetic hair. This allows you to explore and wear different types of hairstyles, and change them as much as you would like.

56 Tribal Braids Hairstyles to Try in 2022

We aim to introduce you to as many tribal braids hairstyles as possible so that you know how many options and flexibility you have to play around with different ideas. Also, keep in mind these hairstyles are not exclusive to women, tribal braids for men are the same with little to no difference. So, if you are a man who is intrigued by this beautiful tradition, feel free to try out any of the styles given below. For a better understanding, we have included pictures for each style so you will have a precise vision of what you can expect.

Fulani Tribal Braids

Fulani Tribal Braids

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Let us begin with the Fulani Tribal Braids, also known as the most popular tribal braids hairstyle of the current time. The style is worn by women of every nation and ethnicity now because of how pretty and majestic the overall look can be. We are not joking when we claim that wearing Fulani braids will take you back in time to the ancient African civilization, and make you feel like folks of that era.

Nonetheless, it is only fair you know where the hairstyle originated. The people of Fula, also known as Fulani, from West Africa and the Sahel region, first came up with this intricate braiding style. These nomadic people not only zealously followed and wore this style for generations, they even succeeded in spreading it worldwide and keeping it alive after all this time.

Interestingly, these braids would not only be worn for beautifying purposes. There was proper meaning and drive for doing the style. For instance, women from centuries ago wore Fulani to indicate that they were fertile and strong enough to go through childbirth, while some would wear the braids to show they have had children.

Furthermore, back in the days, many men and women would express the vastness of their wealth with the number of beads or B’s they had in their braids. Also, some people wore specific types of beads as a symbol of their culture. Other times, the braids were laced in certain designs as a representation of the women or girls’ ancestors, tribe, and birthplace.

True to the first generations of women wearing Fulani braids, women still adorn the braids with simple yet eye-catching ornaments. Although, nowadays, it is only done for beauty and aesthetic purposes, and as a tribute to thousands of years of tradition. We do not use beads or designs to represent or symbolise anything anymore. On that note, some of the most commonly used ornaments are beads, cuffs, rings, shells, coins, bob wire, etc. You can go wild with how you decorate the braids, there are no set rules.

While there was a time, unfortunately, when such hairstyle would have been looked down upon in the West. However, nowadays, we can see Black women wearing Fulani in Award Shows, Corporate World, Wedding Events, Music Festivals, and simply everywhere and anywhere. And we love that! So, what are you waiting for?

Tribal Braids with Beads

Tribal Braids with Beads

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Middle Part Tribal Braids

Middle Part Tribal Braids

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Middle part tribal braids are exactly what the name suggests. It consists of separating your hair in the middle creating two sections – left and right. Middle parting your hair gives it a symmetrical form, which will make the braids on both the left and right sides look more balanced out. This hair look is, perhaps, one of the oldest and original tribal braids hairstyles. The simplicity yet the symmetrical artistic form of it is enough to mesmerise any onlookers.

 Side Part Tribal Braids

Side part Tribal Braids

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On the other side of the same coin, you could say side part braids are the sister concern of middle part braids. While not as balanced as the latter, the former still looks quite charming and attention-grabbing. There is more room to play around and fusion a side part with other hairstyles.

So, if you are more of a side part kind of person, you have nothing to worry about. Braids in this form will look gorgeous and so will you!

 Long Tribal Braids

Long Tribal Braids

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Tribal braids, similar to many other hairstyles, can be done in different hair lengths. Our favourite, without a shadow of a doubt, is the long braids. They look thick and luscious. The swish and flick movements of your hair give them an animated personality. This hairstyle will literally go with every single one of your outfits, we promise.

Long Tribal Braids with Beads

Long Tribal Braid with Beads

Long Tribal Braids Middle Part

Long Tribal Braids Middle-Part

Medium Tribal Braids

Medium Tribal Braids

If you are not big on long hair because they are quite high maintenance, we understand the struggle, you have nothing to worry about. The solution is to opt for medium-length braids. Here is the truth about medium hair, they are the most refined version of all hair lengths. While long and short hair might come and go in trend, medium hair will always be en vogue. So, imagine combining that sophistication with a braiding style from a time long gone? It’s elite. You will embody and feel delightfully feminine.

Medium Side Part Tribal Braids

Medium Side Part Tribal Braids

Medium Tribal Braids Middle Part

Medium Tribal Braids Middle Part

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Short Tribal Braids

Short Tribal Braids

Last but the cutest hair length is the short hair. And tribal braids in short hair are basically to die for. Do you think we are exaggerating? We are not! Think of Cleopatra, the Queen of Nile, and the braids and beads she wore, the power and beauty she exuded. You can do that too by getting yourself a gorgeous bob with braids, and embellishing them with lovely jewels. If you are not into that royalty vibe, of course, you can also pick something more badass and daring. The possibilities are limitless.

Short Tribal Braids with Beads

Short Tribal Braids with Beads

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Tribal Layer Braids

Tribal Layer Braids

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So, what are tribal layer braids? Similar to a traditional layered haircut, layered braids include creating an illusion of length and volume of the hair. In this case, instead of cutting or styling your hair, you will merely weave in braids and create the defining characteristics of a layered style.

Furthermore, depending on the number of layers you would prefer, your hair will be divided into that many sections. For instance, you want three-layered braids, so you will have the rear section, crown, and frontal region of your head as three different layered parts.

Now, the main difference is each layer will be braided in different directions with diverse patterns or designs. Fun, right? We love it.

Layered Tribal Braids Side Part

Layered Tribal Braids Side Part

2 Layer Tribal Braids

2 Layer Tribal Braids

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2 Layer Tribal Braids Middle Part2 layer braids with middle part

2 Layer Side Part Tribal Braids

2 Layer Side Part Tribal Braids

3 Layer Tribal Braids

3 Layer Tribal Braids

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3 Layer Tribal Braids Middle Part

3 Layer Tribal Braids Middle-Part

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Beyoncé’s Lemonade Tribal Braids

Beyonce's Lemonade Tribal Braids

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Do you remember Beyoncé’s hair from “Lemonade”? She took the lemonade tribal braiding one step further by bringing in her own twist. Even though it has been more than five years since the album was released, many fans still love to wear the Lemonade tribal braids. If you don’t know what we are talking about, imagine a blend of cornrows, Goddess Locs, and Fulani – and voila! You have a head full of Beyoncé’s Lemonade braids.

Jumbo Tribal Braids

Jumbo Tribal Braids

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Of course, for all of you who love the jumbo hairdo, you have the opportunity to get yourself exactly that tribal braids. This hairstyle, rightly, looks as fierce yet pretty as every other jumbo braided style. The thick braided locks will not let you down.

Jumbo Tribal Braids Middle PartJumbo Tribal Braids Middle Part

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Jumbo Tribal Braids Side Part

Jumbo Tribal Braids Side Part

Jumbo Tribal Pop Smoke Braids

Jumbo Tribal Braids Pop Smoke

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Tribal Braids with Curls

Tribal Braids with Curls

Okay, so we all love braids and especially tribal braids due to their historical and cultural importance. And also because the overall aesthetic of these braids is soul-soothing. However, there are times only braids do not do it for some of us. Thus, if you relate to us, what can you do? You could try to spice up the hairstyle by incorporating some curls. Trust us when we say, curls and braids are a heavenly duo and will make you feel like a goddess.

2 Part Tribal Braids with Curly Hair

2 Part Tribal Braids with Curls

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Tribal Braids with Curly Ends

Tribal Braids with Curly Ends

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Kids Tribal Braids

Kids Tribal Braids

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As we have established already, tribal braids are fun. If you have a little girl or boy, we promise they will love these braids with beads. The playfulness of the style will excite them to show off their hair to friends and playmates. Moreover, this way they will learn more about their ancestors and feel immensely connected to their roots.

Half Up Half Down Tribal Braids

Half Up Half Down Braids

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Who doesn’t love a half-updo? We believe every girl or woman out there went through a phase in life when all they did was half-updo. Half hair up and the other half down is a style that is timeless, cute, and sexy. We adore it!
If you are someone who is in that phase of your life or would love to relive that style but with a new twist, we suggest you try it out with tribal braids.

Small Tribal Braids

Small Tribal Braids

We have discussed tribal braids of different lengths. However, quite interestingly, these braids also come in different sizes, i.e., big and small.
Small braids are thinner in width and when weaved in, collectively they look thicker with higher volume. When done correctly, your hair will look more natural and voluminous.

Big Tribal Braids

Big Tribal Braids

On the other hand, we have braids that are comparatively big in size. They look exactly opposite to the small braids. Obviously, both are equally stunning. However, big braids do look more neat and elegant – only if done properly. If not then your head could end up looking sparse, and we do not want that.

Bohemian Tribal Braids

Bohemian Trival Braids

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The boho lifestyle is a commitment to adventure, to stepping out of comfort zone and to live unconventionally. And what could be more challenging than to get a hairstyle that is quite unconventional in the beauty world? You will not only express your style but will also speak volumes about what you stand for when you wear bohemian tribal braids.

Goddess Tribal Braids

Goddess Tribal Braids

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When you wear the goddess hairdo it is a testament to your energy, what and how you perceive yourself and the world around you. You will embody your goddess power and feminine energy infinitely, which is vital in the world we live in so that you can feel rooted to your core.

So, without any hesitation or second thoughts, get a head full of these divine braids that were created for you by your ancestors.

Tribal Braids with Box Braids

Tribal Braids with Box Braids

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Another kind of braiding style we borrowed from our ancestors is the box braids. Approximately more than 3000 years old, this style was worn by certain tribes in Africa for symbolic and societal purposes.

Nevertheless, while we don’t follow that anymore, box braids are simply beautiful and look good no matter how or what you wear them with.

Moreover, due to the geometric appeal of the look, it is pleasing to the eyes. Hence, if you want tribal braids why not mix them up with box braids and get yourself something unique yet lovely?

Tribal Braids with Box Braids in The Back

Box Braids In Back

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Tribal Braids with Knotless Box Braids

Tribal Knotless Box Braids

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Ponytail Tribal Braids

Ponytail Tribal Braids

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Do you like ponytails? We can confidently claim we love a ponytail. If you affirm with us, trust us when we say, tribal braids and ponytail are a combination, which is blissful. It is chic and classy. You can – literally – wear your braided ponytail for any and every occasion.

Egyptian Tribal Braids

Egyptian Tribal Braids

If you didn’t know, here is a little geography lesson: Egypt is located in Northeast Africa. Do you know what this means? The braiding culture is almost similar if not entirely. Let us traverse around 3000 years ago to Ancient Egypt, when wearing braiding spoke loudly about your social status and class.

The wealthy would wear intricate tribal braids with jewels and various ornaments as a symbol of their status. On the other hand, the layman or the commoners would wear simple braids for practical commitments and functionality.
The Egyptian tribal braids were not any different than the ones known to be more traditionally African. Perhaps, the beading style differed slightly or the braiding designs but that’s all, really.

Egyptian Long Tribal Braids

Egyptian Long Tribal Braids

Egyptian Fulani Tribal Braids

Egyptian Fulani Tribal Braids

Bob Tribal Braids with Beads

Bob Tribal Braids with Beads

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Bob hairstyles either make you or break you – there is nothing in-between. We’ve all been there when we got a bob hairstyle that we thought we would rock but unfortunately, we did not rock – at all.

However, if you still love bob and can’t figure out how to pull it off, you should get the tribal braids bob. This is a bob style every one of us can wear and pull it off. Especially, when you finish the look with some beads – queenly!

Knotless Tribal Braids

Knotless Tribal Braids

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Have you ever gotten tribal or other forms of crochet braids, and noticed there are big knots where your natural and synthetic hair meet against the scalp? Those knots can be unappealing to many people, while others find them quite uncomfortable.

In such cases, what can you do? You can, actually, go for jumbo knotless braids. Due to the lack of knots, the synthetic hair will seem like it grew straight out of your scalp. The hairstyle will be effortless and impeccable.

Tribal Braids Updo

Tribal Braids Up Do

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Sometimes letting our hair loose or wearing them down does not feel great. We want our hair out of our face and put together. But easier said than done right?

Hair updo can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know which hairstyle best suits the shape of your face and if it will go with the outfit. So much to think about!

Hence, having a braided updo will save you so much stress and time. The biggest bonus is that this hairstyle is agreeable and cultured, and will go with all our outfits at any time of the year.

Tribal Braids with Bun

Tribal Braids with Buns

Tribal Travel Braids

Tribal Travel Braids

Travel braids aren’t any different than any other tribal braids style. It is simply a verification of the fact that you can wear these braids when you travel around. Your hair will be stylish, charming, and fun. It will create a great first impression for the people you meet while travelling. Decorating your hair with colored braids, and many different kinds of ornaments will be enough to make your pictures a million times more aesthetic.

Tribal Cornrow Braids

Tribal Cornrow Braids

Here is a fun fact: Cornrow braids are almost as old as tribal braids. Both originated in African regions, and still thrive and live to this day. Pleasingly astonishing, isn’t it? We love practicing such traditions.

Similar to tribal, cornrows also symbolised things like religion, ethnicity, age, and kinship. So, what happens when you combine tribal and cornrow braiding styles? You create a brand new hairstyle that will straight up make you look like a deity out of mythology.

Tribal Cornrow Braids with Swoop

Tribal Cornrow Braids with Swoop

Tribal Braids with Color

Tribal Braids with Colour

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Okay, so you want to get these braids but you want to make them more fun and playful than it already is? The answer is to get the braids in colours.

Should you get a single colour, multi-color, or Ombre? It is completely up to you because you have the flexibility and options to do so. Nowadays, you can get these braids in any colour you want, and we respect that!

Red Tribal Braids

Red Tribal Braids

Blonde Tribal Braids

Blonde Tribal Braids

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Ombre Tribal Braids

Ombre Tribal Braids

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Burgundy Tribal Braids

Burgundy Tribal Braids

Brown Tribal Braids

Brown Tribal Braids

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Honey Blonde Tribal Braids

Honey Blonde Tribal Braids

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Black Tribal Braids

Black Tribal Braids

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Blue Tribal Braids

Blue Tribal Braids

Fashionable Accessories’ for Tribal Braids

We have mentioned several times about using ornaments to decorate your braids. While we talked about some like beads, many other kinds of braiding ornaments are available in the market right now. In this section, we will introduce you to some of our favourite ones so you can get your hands on them today.

  • Pearls
  • Hoop Rings
  • Cowrie Shells
  • Viking Coils
  • Filigree Tubes
  • Braiding String
  • Wooden Beads
  • Clear Beads
  • Feathers
  • Bling’s

How to Take Care of Your Tribal Braids?

Yes, tribal braids indeed work as a great protective hairstyle. You can wear these braids for up to six to eight weeks safely without the fear of damaging your natural hair.

However, one point most people miss when it comes to protective hairstyles is the importance of maintaining and taking care of it all. This is essential because if you fail to take proper measures you will end up causing perpetual damage to your scalp and natural hair.

  • Therefore, to help and to ease your journey, we have discussed all about tribal braids maintenance, in this section. We promise if you follow these steps religiously, and merely tweak around to find out which products suit you the best, both your natural and synthetic hair plus your scalp will be in the best of conditions.
  • First and foremost, your aim is to moisturise your hair. This must become one of your life’s top five priorities because moisturising will literally make or break your hair. If you want your braids to be neat, clean, and shiny – you need to moisturise, moisturise, and moisturise!
  • We have the hair covered but what about the scalp? Your scalp needs hot oil treatment. You could use anything from coconut to jojoba oil – whatever suits your scalp the best. Gently but thoroughly massage your scalp as often as possible. For best results, do this before you wash your hair.
  • On that note, yes, you need to wash your hair. Not regularly but once every couple of weeks to clean off all the products and dust. Of course, if you want to do it once a week, we suggest you use dry shampoo. They are great for removing any grime or bacteria that might be on your scalp or hair.
  • Moreover, to remove dirt and other collected residue, apply and wash your braids with apple cider vinegar once a week.
    To avoid or minimise frizz, we recommend you use a hair mousse produced specifically for braids and your hair type. Be generous and thorough with your application.
  • Don’t forget to use leave-in conditioners as they will also help with the moisture.
  • Going to bed with these braids can be uncomfortable. We wear a silk scarf and bonnet and sleep on a silk pillowcase, you can try out this method. This ensures our braids are protected from frizz and any unwanted hair manipulation.
  • Low manipulation of hair is important because it will guarantee your hair does not break or face any unwanted damage.
  • Lastly, when you start feeling too comfortable or slightly heavy on the head due to the extensions, we recommend you remove the braids and let your natural hair breathe.

Final Verdict

There is something earthly and divine about tribal braids. Perhaps, because it connects us to our foremothers, the thousands of years between generations traversed merely by following and keeping up a tradition so ancient. Also, perhaps, because the braids have been embraced worldwide as a symbol of beauty and femininity. Sometimes it almost feels surreal but again, traditions have a way of making us feel wholesome and loved.

We hope we were able to convince you to fall in love with tribal braids as much as we did. It is not only a hairstyle for us but a testament to where we come from and where we stand in this world today. It is a custom that will be carried on for generations to come. And it is upon us to wear these braids as the queenly crowns they are and enjoy the honour of being able to wear them.
Thus, do not feel reluctant about trying out not only the traditional classic tribal braids but also all the ones with new twists and turns that are emerging every day.

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