If you’re looking to spruce up your look but are not sure how to go about it, a simple but elegant hairstyle can make all the difference. Braids are one of the most versatile ways to wear your hair — braids can be sporty and young, they can be elegant and mature and they can even be the best of both worlds. The following are 12 types of braids that you can try the next time you feel like amping up your look:

Simple Three-Strand Braid

A simple braid is a regular, standard type of braid that you may have learned to make since you were a child. It’s a classic three-strand braid where you divide your hair into three parts and then interlock them together into a neat braid. You can also play around with the style of the simple braid, by adjusting the thickness of the three strands, using hair accessories and playing around with the texture of the braid. All you need to get this hairstyle right is a good hairbrush and a hair band to keep it in place.

Four-Strand Braid

A four-strand braid is a step above the classic simple braid. As the name suggests, you work with four strands of hair here instead of three. It is a fun variation from the simple, three-strand braid. You can wear it to class, for casual drinks with friends or simply if you want to experiment with something simple, but different for your hair. All you need is a hairbrush and a hair tie to get this look right. You can even adorn your hair with some accessories to give it an extra touch of color.

French Braid

A French braid is a slightly more dressy braid but it is still a fairly easy one to achieve. At first, you may find it difficult to do it on your own as the braid starts at the top of your head and has a few more steps than the previous styles mentioned above.

You start out by beginning with a simple braid from the front sections of your (near the temple) hair. After creating one stitch, add strands of hair from outside the braid on each side. This continues till you reach the nape of your neck and you can finish off the braid as a simple three-strand braid. This is an easy hairstyle that can still add some spunk and dressiness to your appearance. All you have to do is pull your hair into this stylish, classic look. If you have colored hair, this is a great way to show off the layers of color.

Fishtail Braid

A fishtail braid looks like you have put more effort into your appearance but in reality, it is a very easy braid to master. Again, it is bound to take a few attempts to get right but it is an easy hairstyle that will just enhance your look without requiring too much effort. A fishtail braid also requires four strands of hair which come together as thin, organized sections in the braid which end up looking like the neatly aligned scales of a fishtail.

You will need a hairbrush and two hair ties to get this style right. Start off with a ponytail and then divide your hair into two parts. You will start braiding by bringing a thin section of your hair from the outside towards the opposite side. This keeps happening until all your hair is in a fishtail braid. Once you are done, tie the braid with a hairband at the bottom. You can cut off the hair tie on top.

Rope Twisted Braid

A rope twisted braid, as the name suggests, looks like a rope. This, again, is a simple enough style to achieve. All you need are two hair ties and a brush. You start by pulling your hair into a ponytail and then dividing it into two parts. Twist each section of the ponytail individually in a clockwise direction. Once you have twisted both sections, intertwine them in an anti-clockwise direction.

When you reach the bottom of the braid, secure it with a hair tie. This is a great style to sport to the gym! It keeps all the hair off your face and shoulders and does not get in the way. You can even try this spunky look for a casual dinner or a night out with friends.

Dutch Braid

A Dutch braid is like a reverse French braid. This braid adds a lot of layers and dimensions to your hair. If you have colored hair, this is also a great way to show off all those shades and layers! A Dutch braid can be pulled into a low bun to make it appropriate for work or a funky half updo if you are looking to go out about town.

You need just a hair brush, a hair tie and some practice to get this one right!

Reverse Braid

A reverse braid is exactly what it sounds like. It is like any other braid but in reverse. So instead of starting at the nape of your neck and going down to your back, this braid starts at the nape of your neck and goes in the reverse direction, towards the top of your head. You will need a hairbrush, hair tie and some bobby pins.

Put all your head down and bring all your hair to the front. Start by Dutch braiding a section of your hair from the nape of your neck. When the Dutch braid reaches the top of your head, gather all your hair and pull it into a ponytail. Roll the ponytail into a top knot or bun and secure it with bobby pins. You can tug apart the braid slightly to give it a more relaxed and softer look.

Waterfall Braid

A waterfall braid is an elegant classic that makes you look like you have just walked out of Game of Thrones or The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s a simple, delicate braid that frames the front of your head, until the temples. It is called a waterfall braid as the braid cascades down your hair like a waterfall.

This is a great style to sport on a sunny day in the outdoors. It goes perfectly with a dress and is a perfect blend of boho chic and classic. You can finish off the look by adding soft curls to the leftover hair at the bottom.

Milkmaid Braids

Milkmaid braids are two-side plaits that go around your head like a crown. This is a style you will often see milkmaids in dairy farms sport, therefore lending the braid its name. You need a hairbrush, a few hair ties and a lot of bobby pins. Make simple braids on either side of your head. Then, bring the left braid over your head and pin it wherever it ends on the other side. Pin down the rest of the braids too so it does not move from its place. Repeat the same step with the other braid and tuck it underneath the left braid to hide the ends from plain view. Again, pin it securely so it does not move around. You can keep some loose strands of hair around your face to give yourself a softer look.

Ladder Braid

A ladder braid is one that, quite literally, looks like a ladder. It has levels and steps that give the appearance of a ladder and is actually a cool pattern that is sure to grab some attention. It is simple enough to do and can spruce up any regular ponytail or give you some style if you just want to leave your hair open.

You can start with a regular ponytail and then go down the side of the ponytail with a thin fishtail braid, except the strand on the right keeps going around the ponytail, creating the steps of the ladder. The ladder shape will start becoming more prominent after you do a couple of inches.

Carousel Braid

A carousel braid is one that goes around your hair the way a carousel does. Typically it goes along with a ponytail, so you can really see the curve the carousel braid is lending to your hair. The braid starts with a Dutch braid and goes into a delicate lace braid where one side of the braid gets a new strand after each round. The braid goes around your ponytail in a spiral fashion, making it look like a carousel.

It is an easy braid to master and after a few attempts, you can do it yourself! It is a fun way to spruce up your everyday ponytail and adds some layer and spunk to your hair!

Pull-Through Braid

A pull-through braid is not technically a braid, but it sure looks like one. This hairstyle involves making a series of ponytails one after the other and pulling them through each other so that combined, it starts to look like a braid. You will need a hairbrush and several hair elastics. It’s a cool and simple way to enhance your look without spending too much time on your hair. It is both a casual and dressy look — you can go to class with this hairstyle or even a wedding, wearing a beautiful dress.

More braids, like crown braids, halo braids, feed braids, goddess braids, etc to come.

Final Thoughts

The braids mentioned above are not necessarily difficult, but some of them may surely take a little practice to get right. Braids are an elegant, versatile way to experiment with your hair. They can make any casual attire look dressy and elegant! So try it on someone else or give it a whirl on your own! Before you know it, you would have mastered the braid!