Medium-length hair is defined a little differently based on who you ask. Some people say it’s when your hair reaches past your collarbone but falls just short of your armpit. Others define it in a more general sense, expanding the category to include anything between a shoulder-length cut and Rapunzel-length locks. Either way, if you have medium-length hair, it means it’s versatile. With a few tweaks, you can sport styles best suited for short or long hair. You have almost unlimited styling opportunities—and that’s especially true when it comes to braided hairstyles.
Forgive us if we’ve been a little over the top with proclaiming our love for braids recently. With music festival season just beginning and warmer days approaching, we’re falling back into the beachy summer spirit—the one where we wear braids in our hair almost every day. That’s why we’re back at it again, rounding up our favorite braided hairstyles for medium-length hair. Just be warned: These 16 celebs might inspire you to wear braids all day, every day—whether you’re attending brunch, work, or a red carpet movie premiere. It doesn’t matter; the sky’s the limit. Scroll on for serious braid inspo.
Reality TV alum and fashion star Olivia Palermo does medium-length braids by styling her hair into two low fishtails. We like how she keeps them textured and messy, which gives the look an effortless vibe. Try using Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray ($28) for a similarly undone finish.
Here, Jennifer Lawrence wears her medium-length hair in a side-braided low bun. It’s proof that braids are built for the red carpet just as much as they’re built for Sunday brunch. (It’s also proof that J.Law looks good with any hair color she chooses.)
We like the braids Yara Shahidi wore on the 2017 American Music Awards red carpet. The thin lateral braids that ran down either side of her head were paired with a single thick, ridged braid that ran from her forehead to her neck. It made for a unique and slightly unexpected result. (We never expect anything less from Shahidi, who has become a source of natural-hair inspiration as of late.)
If you’re worried about the schoolgirl-effect braids might have, look no further. Selena Gomez’s braided fauxhawk is unique, chic, and the glam-punk hairdo of your dreams.
Kate Hudson wore this stunningly simple braid to the Toronto Film Festival. We love how she paired her smooth plait with a black velvet bow. That, along with her pearls, makes this super chic, no? Sometimes, wrapping a ribbon around your hair instead of an elastic is all it takes to elevate a style.
Chrissy Teigen’s Dutch side braid starts at the top of her forehead and swoops back almost like a crown. It’s a simple enough style to replicate ourselves while also being convenient for keeping hair off of the face and neck during hot summer days.
Margot Robbie’s traditional side braid was updated by a simple detail—that is, swooping the top part of her hair back to the crown of her head before braiding down. To us, it’s extremely reminiscent of Frozen‘s Queen Elsa, and we’re not mad at all.
Rita Ora knows embellishments take braids one step further. We love the tiny pearl pins that are placed throughout the plait. (Try using pearl-topped bobby pins to get a similar result, like AEO Pearl Pin Set, $5).
Elizabeth Olsen’s side braid is all about volume. Start by parting your hair deep on one side, before loosely plaiting your hair and securing it with an elastic. Don’t forget to add a little volumizing mousse along the way. We like Bumble and Bumble Full Form Volume Mousse ($30).
We clearly can’t get enough of red carpet braided updos. Here, Emily Blunt’s mahogany hair has been plaited into an elegant crown braid that’s pinned down and wrapped around the back of her head. We like how it looks soft and tousled, not stiff in the slightest.
Zoë Kravitz usually keeps her hair long, waist-length in some cases, but we think these platinum micro braids would look great on a medium hair length). Bonus points if you pair them with her double-edged cat eyeliner.
Lucy Liu’s braid wraps around her head and changes from Dutch to fishtail. It’s perfect for people who love braids and have trouble making decisions. (It’s us. We’re “people”.)
For those of us who are short on time (or, let’s be honest, motivation), Kate Bosworth’s simple braided topknot is a good option. Sweep all the hair back before securing it into a bun at the crown of the head. Then, wrap a single braided piece around the base of the bun.
Emma Stone’s swept-back side braid attracted all of our attention when she arrived at the Met Gala red carpet. Volume is key with this one, so use a thickening product before styling. Teasing the hair at the crown of the head will also help achieve that sky-high volume.
Oliva Munn’s tight Dutch pigtails are straight and to the point. We like how she paired the fierce hairstyle with soft and slightly smoky makeup. Swipe a few drops of Sachajuan Shine Serum ($33) through your hair to replicate her high-shine strands.
This one’s for anyone who prefers subtle, elegant braids. Jessica Alba sports two French braids on either side of her head, though they’re half-disguised by the swoop of hair leading back into her braided bun. It’s a must for medium-length hair.