Braids & Other Hairstyles for Men

Updated February 21, 2017

When most folks think of braids, their first thought is of a little girl with braided pigtails. However, little girls aren't the only ones wearing braids. Grown men--of all races and with short hair or long--also can wear braided hairstyles. In fact, many men today have discovered that braids are a versatile tool for a simple change of style.

Long Braids

Long braided styles for men usually take one of two forms: a full head of micro braids or a long, single braid. A full head of long braids is a style usually worn by African American men and women. However, white singers like Dexter Holland of The Offspring and Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses have shown that the style doesn't have to be particular to one race.

In order to achieve this look, hair needs to be past the shoulders in length. Have a friend or professional start braiding hair from the bottom layers up in small, tight braids. The tighter the braids, the better the style will look when it's complete. Secure the ends of braids with small elastic bands made for hair.

A long single braid is a style often worn by male rockers as well. It's a temporary style mainly used by men with long hair as a way to keep their hair out of their faces. You may notice a male co-worker with long hair wear a braid to look more professional. Long braids are braided low, starting at the nape of the neck, and tied at the bottom with a hair tie.

Short Braids

Short braided styles also take one of two forms: They can simply be the shorthair version of the long, thin braids discussed above or they can be short, thick braids that stand up straight. The second type are usually three inches or less in length and are worn by either African American men and women or punk-rock men and women. The reason they are popular among punk-rockers is because they give the appearance of a full head of spikes but can be taken down for everyday wear at work.

Corn Rows

Cornrows are another braid style popular with African American men and women. Cornrows are different than long braids in that they are similar to miniature French braids, meaning hair is braided down the head, picking sections up along the way to add to the braid. Cornrows can go straight back from the forehead to the neck or can zigzag in unique patterns. White people can also get cornrows but they don't last as long or look quite the same because of the difference in hair texture.

Rat Tail

A rattail is a type of mullet in which the entire head is shaved except for a long strand of hair in the back. Usually, but not always, the long strand is a braid. This style is commonly seen on young boys. It's a way to look professional and trendy at the same time. The tail can be tucked into your shirt when it needs to be hidden, which is one reason why the style became popular.

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About the Author

Laila Alvarez has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for Houston Community Newspapers and "L.A. Zoo View," "North O.C. Magazine," "Perpetual Phlegm" and other magazines, newspapers and websites. Alvarez has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University-Fullerton.