Male braids are a hairstyle a lot of men don't even consider, but they can be a stylish look. They're most popular with African-American men, but anyone can sport them--and make them look good. If you can grow your hair to chin or shoulder-length, you can probably get a decent set of braids from it. The longer, the better, though, because the braids will lie flatter near your head if the hair is longer.
Types of Braids
If you don't think too deeply into it, "braids" just sounds simple. No need for explanation, right? Well, there are actually quite a few types of braids for males to sport. Here are two of the most popular:
- Micro Braids: So small and delicate, they're sometimes called "invisible braids." They're usually used in conjunction with corn rows and found at the back of the head.
- Corn rows: These usually go hand in hand with the micro braids. Corn rows go in the front and micro braids go in the back. These are the styles that can be woven into straight, curvy, or geometric styles. Even though they take 5-7 hours to finish, rest assured that you'll get some serious wear out of them. Sometimes they'll last up to a month with proper care. That's simple, too. Just keep them moisturized and cover them at night with a scarf.
Tips for Growing Out Your Hair
To have braids, you obviously need longer hair than the "traditional" male hair cuts, but it may be awkward to grow your hair out from a shorter cut to a length that will work with braids.
Styles for In-Between
Women have been fighting with those annoying "in-between" stages for years after a bad haircut, a short hair cut, and even an affair with bangs. On your way to braids, you may experience the urge to chop, chop, chop and be done with it, welcoming your short 'do back to your head. If you really like the idea of braids, though, stick it out.
Keep in mind, shaggy on males can be sexy. If you can keep the sides a little shorter than the back for a while, you'll have a very nice in-between cut. You may even want to keep them shorter after you have long enough hair for braids. Until then, play up the texture of your hair. Use products, especially hair gel. Don't be afraid of it.
Here are a few in-between cuts you could consider:
- Long, shaggy with bangs
- Curly or wavy hair can pull it off, too, but it may be a bit unruly for a while without the help of good products.
- Tousled look-it almost looks like it has no distinct style, but it does, and it's hot. The highlights add to it. If you're feeling brave, consider getting a few of your own. They'll look good interwoven in the braids, too.
Also check out our pictures of men's hair styles for more inspiration.
If your hair won't grow long on its own, there are some things you can take to promote its growth. Since you're looking at male braids, you probably won't use the tried and true method for women-prenatal vitamins. There are other things out there that men can use, though, like MSM, fish oil supplements, a good multi-vitamin, and biotin. You may have to experiment a bit to find your magical concoction, but they all aid in hair health and growth. Generally, if you're healthy, your hair will be, too, and before you know it, your hair will be long enough for braids.
Once It Grows, Products to Use
When your hair finally grows out to the necessary length for braids, you need to know how to take care of them, right? One product to try is Soft Hair Daily Moisturizer for Locs and Braids for Men. It uses tea tree oil to keep your scalp in its best condition thanks to the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. On top of all that, it keeps your braids looking good by adding shine, conditioning not just the top layer but all the way down.
The Where and How
JustBraids.com, located in Hampton, VA, specializes in professional braiding for their locals and offers how-to videos so you can learn to do it yourself. Choose from Twist/Locs, Corn Rows, Micro Braiding, Box Braids, and more. In addition to that, they offer products for itchy scalp and conditioning. Shea butter is good for conditioning the skin and the hair. If your scalp itches, as it very well might after having your hair tugged and braided, try one of the scalp cooling products.
If you happen to be in Hollywood, CA, hop over to Vine Street and let the masters at Shatari Braid & Weave Salon create a braid pattern everyone will envy.
Braids by Sabrina is a shop located in Los Angeles that also does braids for men.
Braids, Inc. Natural Hair Salon for Men and Women has an extensive list of braiding types they can do for you. They're located in Silver Spring, MD.
Male Braids: A Biblical Debate?
An interesting tidbit about male braids: some may argue that the Bible says you shouldn't wear them! So where did that idea come from? The braids themselves aren't the offensive part. The long hair required to have them is. According to NeverThirsty.org and Ezekiel 44:20, men and women shouldn't look like each other. That's to say that men shouldn't have longer hair than women because it may blur the line between the appearances of the two genders.
The Downfall to Braids
If you're young and not trying to set foot into the corporate world or anything like it right now, it's your time to grow your hair long and have it braided. Male braids-and even long hair on men-may be prohibited in quite a few work environments. You'll have to ask the manager or check the handbook to be sure what your place of work's policy is. Also bear in mind that many private schools and colleges may have limits on hair length for young men.
More and more athletes are sporting braids, and that means more and more regular Joes are looking to braids as a statement of style. Due to increasing popularity of braids in the media and sports, have employers lightened up when it comes to woven hair in regular jobs? Not really.
If you're still at the stage where you can do anything to your hair-like dye it blue-with no consequences, by all means, live it up! Dye it blue or green and get braids if you want. Hair is to be experimented with and now's your chance. Even if you're not willing to be as wild, male braids can be a unique look and still be fashionable for all ages.