6 Ways to Style Beads and Braids

Yemi Alade



Beads and braids are so nostalgic: reliving the 70s and 80s. Since 2021, hair beads have become  one of the most requested items at many leading beauty stores. As a symbol of creativity and cultural identity, beaded braids have been embraced in pop culture across the world among Africans. Serving also as a fashion tribute to the slave trade history, many African women have incorporated the look into their beauty routine and remodelled the trend to be a critical cultural statement.


Some women affirm their social status also with the quality and craftsmanship that their beads and braids exude. Back in the 70s, a model of African descent, Floella Benjamin was not allowed to wear the braids and beads for a supposed African magazine cover photoshoot. She had to wear a curly wig to show ‘sophistication.’ 


Times have changed. Today, many western celebrities have paraded the beaded braid as an emblem of racial pride. Beyonce, Solange, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Keke Palmer, Lupita Nyong’o, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade have made this beauty trend popular.


If you’re keen on jumping on this trend, here are some tips on how to style them.


Cornrows and Beads

Alicia Keys


Alicia Keys is the queen of cornrows. For her, the look is almost incomplete without the beads. Edgy and elegant, she has elevated this look with the gold-plated chiselled beads. You can get freaky with it when you style a sideway cornrow. That’s how to be a showstopper.


Braids and Beads

Rihanna knows how to style this by having the crystal beads arranged haphazardly on her braids instead of the hair tip. This looks beautiful and you might want to ask her how she sleeps well at night with it.


Big Box Braids and Beads

We recommend this for children and busy executives. As spotted on Kim Kardashian’s daughter, North West, big box braids don’t look basic or regular when you spice each strand with colourful or crystal beads. It’s one of the best bohemian looks that money can buy.


Beaded Frontal Fringe 

Lupita Nyong’o


When you style the famous and classy Ghana weaving and leave some fringe on your forehead, your beads can be the topping. Media personality, Tacha has got many drooling with this look on her gram. As a matter of fact, the Mamapiano legend, Yemi Alade and Lupita Nyong’o show off this African beauty with pride with this look.


Go Knotless!

You can have your knotless braids in beads. With knotless braids, it is less pain and more protection for your fragile hair. With knotless braids, you can instantly wear your hair up, down, to the side, or styled any way you choose without having to wait several days for them to loosen up.


Beaded Crochet Braids

Yinka Olatunbosun, culture journalist


Trendy and hassle-free, beaded Crochet braids only need you to install and go! This time-saving beauty hack is a must for urban women who want to stay trendy and showcase African beauty.


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