Goddess braids look as regal as they sound. They're colossal cornrows that are a thicker, bolder, jumbo version of classic braids. Basically, if you want a style that's going to make a statement, get goddess braids. This protective style can be worn in a myriad of ways—you just have to pick your vibe. The unlimited options call for minimal upkeep and can last for weeks, depending on the design.
The hardest part is picking a style. To make your life easier, I took the guesswork out of things: Welcome to my world of braidspo, below. (What would we do without Instagram?) Whether you like spunky styles or you're a less is more person, there's a look you'll love that's appropriate for any occasion. Let this be your summer of goddess braids. Ahead, 42 styles that'll have you running to the salon.
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Ah, a throwback of one of my photoshoots with Magic Fingers Studio when I was a beauty assistant at Cosmopolitan. The simplest and most stylish way to turn up a topknot is with goddess braids. Switch up the size of your braids for added flair, then coil the ends up into a high bun.
Sleek straight-backs spiked with a fiery color, like burgundy, is the perfect pairing. Especially when adorned with hair jewelry, like beads and cuffs.
Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway gave Yara Shahidi the blueprint style for baby hair. Save this image when you need inspo on how to style and swirl your edges to perfection.
Another Redway work of art seen on actress Kiki Layne. The formula for a larger-than-life fro is starting with goddess braids that stop at the crown of the head. Let your curls speak for the rest of the lewk.
There's endless versatility in goddess braids. Wear your hair like a crown. This simple style showcases the power of one simple braid and knows no bounds.
All the fire emojis for the way Normani's serving in these extra-long goddess braids. The limit on length does not exist!
Elevate this playful style into something picturesque with gold thread interlaced throughout both braids.
Braids and beads just go together, it's as simple as that. Give your ends a touch of vibrancy with color-coordinated beads.
Paris Fashion Week calls for couture from head-to-toe, as stunningly shown on actress Nathalie Emmanuel last year. For the most glamorous goddess braids, add crystallized accessories like celebrity stylist Nai'vasha Johnson did here.
Who says you can't create the illusion of finger waves with braids? Stylist to the stars Vernon François, one of the most inventive in the game, gave Amandla Stenberg's goddess braids an element of surprise with old Hollywood glamour.
Issa Rae has the braided ponytail of my dreams done by natural hair extraordinaire Felicia Leatherwood. If you look closely, you can tell it's a four-strand braid.
Just because you have goddess braids doesn't mean your bangs have to be tucked away. Jazz up your style with coiled, curly bangs for even more dimension.
Leatherwood dreamt up this regal updo at a Natural Hair Academy show in Paris and it's an absolutely breathtaking combination that shows the beautiful synergy of twists and braids.
Travel tastemaker Skylar Marshai is one of my favorite follows on Instagram. Not just because of her glorious feed full of stunning international scenes, but because of these braids. Pure perfection.
A surefire way to make your braids stand out from the crowd is with a hair color you can't miss: fiery red. Model and activist Ebonee Davis proves how fierce this look really is.
When you're starring in Black Panther, your hairstyle also has to play the part. Celebrity stylist Larry Sims gave Danai Gurira's goddess braids fit for a queen with a dazzling gold hair accessory.
Prepare to be mesmerized by this mermaid braid worn by Shaunie O'Neal. Then, save this video for your next trip to the salon.
Beauty influencer Arnell Armon stuns in these straight-backs proving there's beauty in simplicity, especially when your edges are laid.
Shapely braids like these will spice your bun up a bit. Alternating between goddess braids and small cornrows creates a cool structure to the style.
Does this bubble ponytail even need an explanation? So fire.
This stacked crown braid is beauty, personified. The art and creativity of stylist Crowezilla, who specializes in crafting structural hair masterpieces, is unmatched.
Feeling indecisive about one color? Taste the rainbow and choose them all. These kaleidoscope braids worn by South African rapper Sho Madjoz are in a league of their own. Her Instagram page alone may be full of all the braidspo you need.
Try supermodel Jourdan Dunn's side-swept goddess braids if you want to show off your good side. Then, accentuate the other side with a single braid.
If you've ever wanted blue hair without the commitment, braids are the way to go. Come through, color!
Since we're talking color, this bright red braided bob cut asymmetrically by celebrity braider Susy Oludele is flaming. I'm also obsessed with the chunky size of these braids.
Sanaa Lathan looks so fierce in this half-up, half down style tricked out with a sky-high ponytail and curvy cornrows created by Sims.
Beauty influencer Jade Kendle-Godbolt shows the tried-and-true way to take a braided ponytail up a notch: gold wire. Pick a few braids and wrap them wire, then see how quickly your style transforms.
The answer is no, your braids don't have to be neat. Let's normalize crooked braids, so beautifully done by celebrity stylist Nikki Nelms on Janelle Monae.
Frayed, curly ends are such a fun way to finish off goddess braids. Plus, they make for excellent content as shown by beauty and style influencer Aysha Sow in this video.
Naeemah Lafond is known as the Queen of Statement Hair for a reason. She's responsible for this "Party in the Back", a.k.a. a single hoop braid topped off with a fro, which guarantees a good hair day.
It's impossible to pick my favorite Rihanna hairstyle, but these burgundy goddess braids are way, way up there.
Feast your eyes on yet another masterful creation by none other than Shani Crowe. This single seashell completes the look.
The bigger the braids, the better. Lafond created this simple, yet striking look for a fashion show.
It's hard not to be distracted by model Fridacashflow's glowing skin, but these braids are just so effortlessly gorgeous. They show that you only need a few goddess braids to complete a look, if patience is not your virtue.
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Goddess braids are one of Jhené Aiko's signature styles. This time, she swept her chunky braids up into a braided bun and allowed a few others to chill in the back.
Turn two braids into four-ish by intertwining a smaller side braid into a larger one like so. Winnie Harlow set this style off with gold wire and styled baby hair.
Nelms garnished Monae's braids with white ropes to match her outfit. Also I know this is about her hair but those earrings, though!
Jordyn Woods shows that you don't have to choose between curls and braids, do both.
Alicia Keys, the baby hair queen, is wearing six simple goddess braids pulled into a low bun. All you need is some really good edge control or pomade to style your edges.
The art of the corset braid may look complicated, but you can do it. Just gather your supplies then watch this YouTube tutorial.
Kelly Rowland proves four angled goddess braids is all you need for a serious slay.
Braids that double as a headband and a crown equals red carpet-ready, as shown on Kiki Layne by Redway.
Maya Allen is the former Digital Beauty Editor at MarieClaire.com where she covered makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, you name it! She has a 15-step skincare routine, owns over 200 red lipsticks, and enjoys testing the latest and greatest in beauty. On most weekends, you can find her at her happy place, which is her makeup vanity. There, she’s usually blasting her speakers while singing along to lyrics at the top of her lungs, and making sure her highlighter is on point. Before joining MarieClaire.com, she held positions at Byrdie.com and Cosmopolitan.com.
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