If there’s one protective style that has taken the natural hair world by storm, it’s braids and beads. Also known as fulani braids, due to its origins from the Fulani people of West Africa, braids and beads is a beautiful and trendy protective style that can be executed in countless different ways.
In order to qualify as a true braids and beads hairstyle, a style must include a mix of feed in cornrows and beads – that’s it! It’s basically the grown up version of the beaded styles some black girls used to get in elementary school. I was never lucky enough to get braids and beads because my Nigerian mom usually threaded my hair, but that’s a story for another time. There are infinite variations of this style – here are a five braids and beads hairstyles to try this year:
Classic Braids and Beads
For a super classic and fuss free style, choose a middle part and have your braids come down on either side, like Tiffany. Braid down to the bra strap and use multi-colored beads two-thirds of the length of your hair for max impact.
If your hair is shorter, play with a braided bang like Cynthia. This can be combined with an updo style or with hanging braids, and is a very non-committal way to try out bangs on your face shape.
Braids and Beads with Curly Hair
Many braids and beads styles include two braids on either side of the face braided forward. If you don’t want to commit to braids all throughout your hair, you can still incorportate the look by braiding the crown and the sides like Nne, who combined her style with crochet braids.
In a Ponytail
If you don’t like hair in your face, try adding beads to the bottom of a braided ponytail like Armanda. Using only one color of beads makes this style very wearable, even for more formal workplaces.
Braids and Beads in a Bob
If you don’t like super long braids, you can always get a bob style like I did. They’re long enough to put in a ponytail when working out but short enough that they don’t whip me (or anyone else) in the face when I turn around.
To maintain your hairstyle, invest in a clarifying product made especially for protective styles, a moisturizing spray, a satin bonnet (to contain all the beads), and some edge tamer. Shop my fave products for getting and protecting your braids below: