16 plait hairstyles for every skill level
The humble plait is more versatile than you think
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / January 22 2021
Don’t be fooled, plaits aren’t just your ‘girl next door’ hairstyle. What may seem like a simple hairstyle can easily be styled so many different ways. It’s a red carpet staple, an off-duty go-to and a practical (and pretty) hairstyle for the gym. Keep it loose or tightly braided; style it high or low; or trade a single plait for a head full of micro plaits. There are so many different types of braids you can play with - here are our favourite celebrity plait hairstyles to get those creative juices flowing.
Certified Malibu Barbie beach babe Hailey Bieber has just reinvigorated the adorable mini plaits we were all obsessed with at seven years old. Sans butterfly clips this lowkey style is a great way to keep pesky flyaways out of your face while you’re chilling at the beach or poolside getting your tan on.
Swift is serving serious schoolyard vibes in the promo pics for her surprise album 'evermore', but somehow the look is 100 per cent chic and not at all childish. So, consider this proof that a simple French braid truly never goes out of style.
The rosette braid
Here’s a nifty trick: wrapping a plait into a braided bun creates a rose-like effect. Nicole Kidman went ultra messy at the front, but her rosette detail made this hairstyle red carpet-worthy.
Vertical half up half down braids
Come at your hairstyle from another angle like Marion Cotillard. It’s tough on one side, soft and tousled on the other.
The bedhead plait
Don’t confuse sloppy with intentionally messy. Emily Ratajkowski’s glossy shine and dainty bow are little touches that let you know this undone look doesn’t actually have a single hair out of place.
The faux Dutch braid
Dutch braids - the type of braids that are raised - can be tricky to master. But Julianne Hough’s hairstyle is a great way to fake it. Section off a top layer of hair and secure into a half upstyle. Plait the lengths then once you reach the nape of your neck, plait the underneath section into the original plait to connect the two.
Brushed-back and braided
Lili Reinhart’s brushed-back braided ponytail with fly-aways is the perfect balance of carefree and cool.
An undone braid
When braiding hair, you don’t need to bother with perfection - in fact, that undone look perfectly complements a plait. We love the softness of Elizabeth Olsen’s ‘falling out’ braid.
An off-centre plait
Braids for short hair are possible, especially when you go for smaller, tighter plaits. Lucy Boynton’s subtle side plait adds a striking detail to an otherwise plain lob.
A braid headband
If you have extra long hair, you can braid a section at the nape of the neck and wrap it all the way over the top of your head to create a braided headband. Elsa Hosk used this trick to add a Grecian vibe to her simple half up, half down hairstyle. Tip: You can also cheat with braid hair extensions!
The festival braid
Festivals are all about fuss-free yet eye-catching hairstyles, and we reckon this nonchalant hairstyle that Margot Robbie wore at the Cannes Film Festival Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood photocall in 2019 nails the brief. She didn't even bother securing the plaits with hair elastics.
The two-layer plait
Diane Kruger’s plait is next-level! You may want to leave this one in the capable hands of your hairdresser. You’ll need to clip a top layer of hair out of the way before doing a reverse braid (aka Dutch braid) down the back of your head. Then, loosely braid the upper layer over the top. Pretty from the front, showstopping from the back.
Shailene Woodley’s three-way braids are the perfect gym hairstyle, but it’s also an edgy option for a night out.
The sleek low plait
Smooth, low and tidy is a winning combination for an office-approved braided hairstyle. Zendaya nailed it!
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.